Plumbing is something you take for granted until your toilet gets clogged in the middle of a party. It seems so easy to just place a bucket beneath a leaking spot, or wrap fabric and rubber hose around a tap to stop it dripping. If you’re more adventurous, you might even raid the hardware store and watch a YouTube tutorial to fix your plumbing mess.
While there are certainly things you can repair on your own, plumbing is a professional skill that requires extensive training, so sometimes, it’s better to make that call. After all, you could wind up doing more damage in your attempts to repair a leak or blockage. DIY plumbing can end up costing far more than making that call to your local piping expert.
Of course plumbing emergencies aren’t your standard broken sink. They are life-or-death plumbing scenarios. Most plumbers have ‘office hours’, but if you have a true plumbing emergency, they are available 24/7 including weekends and holidays. Let’s look at a few situations where your licensed plumber knows best.
If the average person is told to choose between fire and water, they’d choose water. After all, a fire can destroy your home in minutes and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Water puts out fire, so it must be a good thing, right? Besides, apart from drowning, water doesn’t seem particularly malignant. Despite its docile appearance, water damage can cost millions.
In a home, just a few inches of floodwater could fry your electronics, destroying them completely and potentially causing … fire. Waterborne pests and diseases are virulent and can develop in as little as an hour, so floods are terrible for your health. The water itself can damage everything from important documents to computer files and furniture.
If the cause of the flood is not detected, water can continue to seep in unnoticed. Plus, even after the leak is plugged, the accumulated water will get into carpets, floorboards, ceilings, curtains, and soft furnishings. It’s hard to dry them completely so you might get mould and infections. Floods should be resolved immediately to avoid all this drama.
Backed up sewer
Everyone knows blocked toilets are a problem, but sometimes the damage goes deeper. Instead of your toilet refusing to flush, you may notice a strange smell in your bathroom, and sewer water might flow back into your toilet bowl. You might notice the murky liquid rising up your sinks and plugs as well. Sometimes it bubbles out of the base of your s-curves.
The blockage could be internal – inside your own pipes – or it may originate from a point outside your home. You have no way to explore this on your own, so it’s best to call a plumber, and fast. Blocked sewers could be caused by any number of things. It might be a fatberg, a tree stump that got lodged in the city drain, or a damaged sump pump.
In many areas, the public sewer system is maintained by the municipal council, but it could take a while to summon them, especially in the middle of the night. Call in your local plumber to diagnose the problem, and they can liaise with the government utility service if they need to. Better yet, call a plumber that is partnered with the local sewerage council.
Bursting pipes and cracked drains
On their own, these may not seem like serious problems. Cracks in the drain can affect the filtration mesh, which means bigger bits of debris could get lodged inside the pipe. Since this will happen beyond your line of sight, you wouldn’t know until water refuses to go down the drain, or worse, it starts flowing back up again.
Similarly, a burst pipe can lead to flooding. Depending on the position of the damage, you may be unable to spot, bind, or repair it. If the two issues combine, the dirty water stuck in the drain could build up pressure leading to a pipe explosion, and now your home will be full of dirty water. The burst pipe can also cause cuts and bruises, which could get infected.
You could always start by attacking the clogs with a drain snake or plunger, but if that doesn’t work, call your plumber. It may be small and harmless, in which case it’s better to fix it before it gets worse. But if it turns out to be a significant problem, you’ll be glad you did.