Common Plumbing Emergencies: Troubleshooting

Written by chrish
17
Aug

Having a plumbing emergency is possibly one of the worst nightmares of any homeowner. Ranging from a minor clog to a total meltdown caused by a pipe bursting in the middle of the night, it is never a pleasant experience. Sometimes the stress and the bill for repair works can rise to unbelievably high levels, though very often they can both be minimized by proper actions on behalf of the homeowner.

To begin with, it is always advisable to be familiar with common safety tips. Next, most works would require you to shut off the water before performing any DIY magic and Locate the shut-off valve, either the main one which should be right next to the water meter outside the house, or the one closest to the unit you wish to repair. That is the first step in effective damage control, now let’s have a look at the most common problems and ways to troubleshoot them.

Clogged or blocked traps and sinks

4569115693_9f4ec72070_zFirst of all, you need to have a bowl ready to collect any excess water still in the system. Once you remove any part of the water-supply or sewage system some water is bound to use gravity to escape and you will use the bowl to catch it, say Sydney-based specialists for blocked drains. Depending on the type of problem, you might rely on your fingers (protected by gloves, because you’ve read the safety tips), an old toothbrush, a piece of string, or a drain auger (a.k.a. “a snake”) to remove debris. If you had to dismantle any part of the system, make sure you give them a good clean before reinstalling them. Cold water is usually good enough for this. While the trap is disassembled, consider replacing old washers, since it will prevent possible leaks in the near future.

Toilets

A plunger can do the trick in case of some minor problem, while a snake will probably prove to be sufficient for some more serious issues. Just pull a section of the snake out of the drum, fasten the nut and start rotating the drum. The snake is supposed to loosen the clog and dislodge it. Naturally, in case of some severe clog, you need to bring in a professional with a more sophisticated auger.

Pipes

8408677430_a17b5762d4_zSometimes we notice a problem near a fixture, while the pipes are actually the root of the problem. While there is not so much you can do in case your pipe bursts, there is something you may do in case it leaks. If a pipe leaks at a joint, try tightening the joint. On the other hand, if is the pipe that is leaking, you may need to replace a section of it. For most people this is where the job becomes too difficult and they need to call an expert. Still, if you have some piece of heavy rubber or a rubber pad, you may use it to patch the hole by fastening the rubber using plates or clamps. That should be enough to prevent further damage before a plumber arrives to solve the problem.

Being prepared helps

Emergencies usually appear unexpectedly, which is why you need to be prepared, both in terms of understanding how the whole plumbing system works and in terms of having the right equipment. In most cases the problem is best left to professionals, most of whom are ready 24/7 to provide assistance. Have a number available and don’t leave it till you’re up to your neck in water or sewage to look for a reliable plumber. Don’t panic, shut off the water, identify the problem, see if there is anything you can do to fix, alleviate or simply prevent the problem from aggravating. Call an expert and remember: these things happen.