Plumbing is an essential part of our lives, but many of us take this necessity for granted at times. Homeowners in San Antonio, TX, and just about everywhere across the country, tend to overlook plumbing until something goes wrong. Plumbers offer emergency services for problems that just can’t wait until business hours. Of course, it’s better to avoid plumbing emergencies with regular maintenance, but it’s not possible to predict every possible scenario. Almost all homes are vulnerable to plumbing emergencies, even with regular care and attention to pipes and fixtures.
Early detection is the key to minimizing damage and disruption when a plumbing emergency occurs. Every homeowner should keep the contact information for an emergency plumber in easy-to-access places. It’s a good idea to save such information in cell phones too. Learn to recognize the signs of common plumbing emergencies to increase your household’s chances of containing plumbing problems quickly.
Dripping faucets are a very common household problem, but this seemingly minor problem can cause more problems than may be immediately obvious. Water dripping in small amounts continuously adds up fast. This leads to higher water bills and a lot of wasted water. The constant dripping can also keep the area damp and give mold and bacteria a comfortable environment for growth. Perhaps the most important consideration is that a dripping faucet means something isn’t working correctly. The issue could be minor, such as a problem with the faucet itself, but it could also be a larger issue. Get dripping faucets fixed as soon as possible to avoid calling an emergency plumber for a bigger problem later.
Rusty pipes aren’t uncommon, especially in older homes that still have their original plumbing. Over time, small bits of rust break away from the inner walls of corroding pipes. These tiny particles can give your tap water a reddish tinge and leave clothes looking dull and discolored. You may even notice a metallic taste. Call a plumber at the first sign of rusty pipes. Corroded pipes develop weak spots that are very vulnerable to damage from tree roots, gravel in the ground, and any force created by rain or shifting soil. A severely corroded pipe may just dissolve away if it’s left that way for a long time. You may need a plumber if weakened sections of rusty pipes collapse completely.
What Defines an Emergency?
It’s not always easy to decide whether an emergency plumber is needed, especially when a problem is first noticed. Many people also dislike making a big deal out of things. A desire to avoid a ‘hassle’ can lead to much more extensive disruptions of our daily routines in the future. Some problems simply can’t wait for business hours. Review some common issues that many households deal with to help you decide when to call a plumber.
Slow or Clogged Drains
Drain backups in bathtubs, showers, sinks, and toilets are fairly common issues. They’re also one of the easiest plumbing problems to detect early. However, the problem may go beyond one clogged drain. Sewer lines are large pipes that run underground. They carry wastewater away from the home to a public sewer system or septic tank. A clear sewer pipe is essential for a clean and sanitary living environment with clean water on demand. A clogged or broken sewer pipe is a significant problem that may need to be addressed immediately by an emergency plumber.
If just one plumbing fixture is clogged, the problem may be a localized clog. All the fixtures in one room, such as the kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom, may indicate a clog in drain pipes connected to those fixtures. If every drain in the house is slow or clogged, the problem is probably occurring inside the large drain pipes that remove wastewater from the entire home. Problems that affect multiple fixtures, especially an entire home, are more likely to require an emergency plumber.
There’s a natural tendency to assume everything is fine if plunging or other interventions seem to clear the drains. Most of us don’t immediately think of emergency plumbers when the toilet clogs. However, it’s very unlikely that plunging and other common household interventions can dislodge a clog located deep within the home’s plumbing. It’s possible that the issue isn’t a clog at all. A drain pipe serving multiple fixtures may have a leak or crack that lets dirt and tree roots enter the pipe. Using fixtures normally without fixing the problem can cause overflows in certain plumbing fixtures, such as the toilet or sinks.
It’s even worse if multiple drains overflow at the same time. Call a plumber immediately if you find yourself dealing with this situation. It doesn’t take long for large amounts of water to flood rooms with overflowing fixtures. Wastewater backups can even spread bacteria onto every surface the water touches. There’s a natural tendency to assume everything is fine if plunging or other interventions seem to clear the drains. It’s very unlikely that plunging and other common household interventions can dislodge a clog located deep within the home’s plumbing. Chemical drain cleaners from a store shelf can’t tackle clogs deep within drainage pipes, and frequent use of such chemicals is very hard on pipes. Backups and overflows after using a drain cleaner can also lead to harsh chemicals coming back out of the pipe and contaminating your San Antonio, TX home.
Broken or Cracked Pipes
It’s also possible that the issue isn’t a clog at all. A drain pipe serving multiple fixtures may have a leak or crack that lets dirt and tree roots enter the pipe. Using fixtures normally without fixing the problem can cause overflows in certain plumbing fixtures, such as the toilet or sinks. It’s even worse if multiple drains overflow at the same time. Call an emergency plumber immediately if you find yourself dealing with this situation. It doesn’t take long for large amounts of water to flood rooms with overflowing fixtures. Wastewater backups can even spread bacteria onto every surface the water touches. Damaged wastewater pipes and dirty water going where it isn’t supposed can also contaminate clean water, which makes a call to an emergency plumber a necessity all on its own. Not to mention that showering while standing in stagnant water is extremely unpleasant.
Damaged Sewer Lines
Sometimes damaged sewer lines don’t cause drain backups or overflows. This doesn’t mean the problem isn’t causing any damage at all. You may notice gurgling noises from toilets and drains because excess air is entering the pipe through the broken area. The escaping wastewater is going somewhere. If it isn’t being carried to its intended destination it’s probably flowing out into the yard. Watch out for foul odors with no obvious source. A leaking sewer line or septic tank can also create a nasty, swampy mess in the yard. The leaking sewage and wastewater may eventually make its way into the basement or house. You may need an emergency plumber to fix large leaks or broken sewer pipes that are releasing large amounts of water. Small leaks may be okay until business hours, but it may be a good idea to contact a plumber anyway. There’s no guarantee that small leaks will stay that way, and it’s very hard for homeowners to figure out exactly what’s happening to the pipe.
Toilet Tank Issues
Toilet overflows can also result from blockages in the toilet tank. Problems with internal or external plumbing vents can also contribute to overflow issues. Most homeowners in San Antonio, TX, don’t have the training to diagnose and fix such problems, and it’s easy to cause even more damage. An overflowing toilet may or may not require an emergency plumber. If the toilet is the only drain affected, the call can probably wait until business hours, especially if the home has a second toilet. The situation may be different if the problem occurs on a Friday and there’s only one toilet in the home. A call to an emergency plumber may be necessary because it’s not realistic to expect an entire household to go without a toilet for 2-3 days.
Water heaters tend to sit in basements, laundry rooms, garages, or utility rooms without drawing much attention. That situation changes quickly if hot water stops pouring out of showerheads and faucets. Most households use hot water frequently every day for daily tasks such as showers, washing dishes, washing clothes, and cooking. A lack of hot water is a problem, but hot water heaters can also cause flooding. Cracks or erosion of the water heater tank can release hot water that soaks the surrounding area. Call an emergency plumber if your hot water heater starts leaking or making strange noises.
Malfunctioning sump pumps may require an emergency plumber if a breakdown occurs when the pump is needed. A sump pump that stops working during a storm can’t remove water that may flood into basements or crawl spaces. It’s a good idea to schedule maintenance for sump pumps before the onset of severe weather in San Antonio, TX, but even that can’t guarantee that a problem won’t occur. Call an emergency plumber if your sump pump isn’t working right during a storm. It’s possible that plumbers may be busy or conditions may make a visit difficult, but there’s also a good chance that an emergency plumber can show up and address the issue promptly.
Although it may sound strange at first, most emergency plumbers also handle gas leaks. Gas leaks are a serious problem that should never be put off. Leaking gas is a fire hazard, and problems with natural gas-powered appliances or vents can lead to carbon monoxide buildup in the home. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, so homes should have several working detectors at all times. Make sure each bedroom has its own carbon monoxide detector and place one or two more devices around the home as well. Some models combine carbon monoxide and smoke detection. At least one device should be near the appliances to increase the probability of catching leaks early. If you suspect there’s a gas link in your home, get everyone out, open windows, and call an emergency plumber. Your plumber can also help you install and maintain gas appliances and check carbon monoxide alarms.
Flooding and Electronic Damage
Indoor flooding can cause water damage to floors, walls, ceilings, and furniture. Clean-up can be expensive, and you may need to replace various structures and materials as well. Lingering dampness is an invitation to mold, especially during hot summers in San Antonio, TX. There are more potential concerns than just water damage though. Flooding also forces contact between water and electronics in the home. Wires and other parts of the electrical system can be damaged by flooding.
Specific electronic items, such as computers, televisions, and personal devices, may be destroyed by water as well. There’s also a risk of electrocution. Call an emergency plumber if there’s any indication that plumbing problems could lead to flooding. Make sure everyone in the household knows where the main water shut-off valve is located as well. Some homes have individual shut-off valves for each fixture as well. Shutting off the water supply immediately can prevent flooding and make repairs and clean-up much easier.
bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio offers 24/7 emergency services for homes and businesses throughout San Antonio, TX. Don’t hesitate to call the emergency line for any plumbing problem, even if you’re not sure if you need an emergency plumber. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Prompt attention to problems may help you avoid a challenging cleanup or restoration project in the future.