What a Homeowner Needs to Know About Plumbing Emergencies in the Home
Plumbing problems in a home should never be ignored, as small leaks or clogs or even a slow running drain can signal much more serious plumbing problems behind the walls. These seemingly minor problems can also turn into major plumbing disasters if left unchecked. If your home has a sudden plumbing problem, note a few important considerations about such an issue so you know to handle it properly and are sure to call an emergency plumber when needed.
Slow running drains
Slow running drains may not seem like a plumbing emergency, but these usually signal a growing clog in the pipes, or a water leak. If there is a water leak, there isn't enough water pressure to move solid materials through the pipes, so they can cause a backup and the drains to empty slowly.
You might try getting a thick dish detergent and squirting it into the drain, and then running hot water over it, but if this doesn't get the water moving, call a plumber to have the drains cleaned more thoroughly. A plumber can also use equipment that finds water leaks behind the walls, and repair these before a clog stops up a drain completely.
If a pipe has burst, it's not good to try to replace it yourself, as a professional plumber can determine why the pipe burst. If the water pressure is too high when it's circulated through the water heater or if a clog caused a backup in another pipe, simply replacing the burst pipe can mean another broken pipe down the road. Even if the pipe has frozen and then burst, a plumber should still inspect the home's overall plumbing to note if the pipes should be insulated or if the home itself needs more insulation to help protect those pipes from future freezing.
If a drain or toilet is so clogged that it's actually backing up, you don't want to try to address this yourself, even with a plunger or plumbing snake. This often means that the plumbing emergency is outside the home; an outside pipe may have burst so that dirt and other sediment is falling into the pipe, washing back up the drain or toilet. Even if you were to be able to snake through this clog, it will usually just get worse over time, and cause even more severe damage to the home's plumbing, so call an emergency plumber to handle this problem instead of trying to address it yourself.