Our Guide to Handling the Most Common Household Plumbing Emergencies

It’s the perfect storm to ruin any great day. While brushing your teeth, your sink starts leaking, or when you’re doing the dishes, you hear a pipe burst. Plumbing issues are extremely common. Just think of how much water you use around the house every day. Between sinks, toilets, and the shower, there are so many issues that can arise around your home.

For serious issues, it is important to call a Master Plumber like RD Plumbing Solutions right away. However, smaller, more common problem can usually be fixed by any savvy homeowner with the right tools.

 

1. Overflowing Toilet

It’s embarrassing and probably happens more than we’d like to talk about. When you throw a bulky item down your toilet, it can quickly overflow. When not cleaned up quickly, a clogged toilet can cause unsanitary conditions and water damage to your home. Thankfully, it is usually an easy fit.

The first step to fixing a clogged toilet is identifying the source of the issue. Did you flush something large down the toilet either on purpose or accidentally? Everyday items like paper towels, tissues, wrappers, and baby wipes can cause a toilet to overflow. If you answered yes to that question, you can start tackling the issue head-on.

Typically, the only tool you will need is a plunger. Slowly place the plunger into the overflowing toilet bowl. Position the plunger right over the opening of the bowl. The edges of the plunger should be touching the bowl completely, to create a snug seal. Once the plunger is in place, firmly push it down multiple times. This action will force air into the pipes and should push the blockage out of the way.

Once you notice the water in the toilet falling, try to flush again. If you notice the blockage is still causing a problem, repeat the plunging action. If you try this method several times without a successful result, there could be a larger obstruction than anticipated. If that is the case, you should call RD Plumbing right away.

 

2. Clogged Shower Drain

We’ve probably all been there: enjoying a nice, hot shower when suddenly the water begins to rise. You feel the grimy water pool at your feet. After an overflowing toilet, clogged shower drains are one of the most common plumbing issues. Between long, loose hair and sticky soap scum, it is easy for a ball of gunk to get lodged in the shower drain. Luckily, shower drains are relatively easy to clean out, but it can be a gross process.

If you already have a plunger at home, you should try plunging your shower first. Just like with the toilet example, you will place the plunger over your shower drain. Give the plunger two to three firm pushes. If the water starts to go down, you likely pushed the hairball through the drain; however, if the water is still pooling, it is time to go fishing for grime.

If the plunging method didn’t work, you should try to snake the hairball out. If you don’t have a professional plumbing snake, a wire hanger is another DIY option. For this fix, you should remove the drain cover from your shower. Then, if you are using a coat hanger, straighten your wire coat hanger, but leave a hook at the end. You can then send either the plumbing snake or hanger (hook end first) down the drain until you feel the mass clogging the pipes. You can then pull the mass out of the drain. Warning: the mass of hair and gunk will likely be very gross.

After it is out, try running your shower again. If the water is still pooling, call us to help you find the mass, which may be further down than you can reach.

 

3. Leaking Pipes

If you notice your water bill has been trickling upwards, even though you haven’t been using more water, there is likely a leaky pipe in your house. This can be detrimental if unnoticed, because leaking pipes can cause water damage and encourage mould growth.

If you think you have a leaking pipe but aren’t sure where you should complete an inspection of your home. Look for wet walls, ceilings, or carpets. Check for pools of water underneath all your sinks and around your toilets. If you have ruled out inside your home, also check your hoses and sprinklers outdoors.

If the leak is coming from inside your home, you will likely be able to fix it with a little elbow grease and your favourite wrench. The first step is turning off the water in your home. If you go to fix a pipe while the water is on, you might end up receiving a surprise splash in the face. Once the water is off, determine if the leak is coming from a joint (where two pipes connect,) or if it is leaking from a hole in a pipe.

If the leak is coming from a joint, you should simply tighten the joint with a wrench. Be wary though, because tightening one joint might loosen another nearby. Once everything is tightened, turn your water back on. If the leak has stopped, you are good to go.

If the leak is coming from a hole in the pipe, you will need to patch it. You can find rubber patches at your local hardware store. If you cannot find a rubber patch, waterproof tape may be a viable solution as well.

If your pipes are still leaking after you tighten the joint or patch the hole, there is likely a bigger issue. In that case, you will want to call a professional, like RD Plumbing Solutions. Furthermore, if the leak is coming from under your house or outside, you will need to call a professional as well. These outdoor leaks are often very complicated because likely it requires your yard to be dug up.

 

4. Burst Pipes

The most common cause of a burst pipe is freezing – when temperatures get too low, water in your pipes can freeze, which will cause them to burst. Fortunately, in most parts of Australia, this isn’t a concern for homeowners. But that doesn’t mean that you are immune from this problem! Other potential causes of burst pipes include mineral buildup, old, rusted pipes, and improper installation.

Unfortunately, there is no DIY fix for burst pipes, but you can prevent this problem by performing regular maintenance and by entrusting plumbing projects to professionals with a good reputation.

If your pipes do burst, the first thing you should do is turn off your home’s main water supply. Then, run cold water in your tub until the existing supply of water runs out. Once your pipes are clear, you should call RD Plumbing Solutions right away. Our experienced technicians will diagnose the problem, and get your water running ice-free as soon as possible.

 

5. Water Heater Malfunctions

Let’s be frank, no one enjoys a cold shower. If you find your water isn’t getting warm, the water heater is the first place you should check. Your water heater is constantly working, providing warm water for your showers, sinks, and appliances, so issues are bound to arise. Some common problems include running out of hot water, water that is always cold, strange smelling or coloured water, and noises coming from the water heater.

If you are having hot water problems, there is likely a leak in your water heater. You can check for a leak by looking for pooled water in your heaters pan. If you notice a leak, you should replace your old tank right away. If you do not replace it, the leak will just continue to grow, leaving you with both cold water and significant water damage.

Just like a burst pipe, a water tank installation is not for the average DIYer. It is a long, complicated process with several parts, including a gas control valve, a drain valve, and a temperature and pressure relief valve.

If any of these parts are installed incorrectly, you can damage your new water tank, and cause even more water damage to your home. Instead, you should call a professional to help. They can remove the old tank and replace the new one for you. Since the professionals at RD Plumbing solutions understand water heaters so well, they can often complete the job within 3 hours, giving you your hot water back in no time.

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