A plumbing emergency is a down to Earth version of Murphy's Law. If something could go wrong it will go wrong. And unfortunately for you and your furniture, it will probably happen at the most inopportune moment.
In fact in the US, 10% of households suffer some sort of plumbing leak, which wastes 90 gallons of water per day. This is hugely wasteful for both personal finances and the environment.
Once you are aware of the 5 most common causes of plumbing issues that occur, you can ensure that you minimize the risks to your home.
If you wish to learn a bit more about the issues and how they can be avoided, please continue reading.
1. Overflowing Toilet
At some point, everyone will have encountered this infamous plumbing emergency. You'll initially notice that something is wrong when you flush the toilet.
Rather than expelling the waste as normal, the water will rise above the regular water line, and then stay put. This can be caused by two different reasons.
Firstly, it could simply be that the toilet is blocked up by waste.
It is for this reason that you should have a plunger ready to use somewhere in your house. This will allow you to take matters into your own hands without needing to call out a plumber for a quick fix.
By applying a bit of pressure using the plunger, you can ofter unblock a toilet in a matter of minutes. Sometimes water will remain high, however, which suggests that there is a different problem in place.
This could be an issue with the float mechanism within the toilet itself. You can access the float mechanism by operating the water valve at the back of your toilet.
2. Clogged Sink
Anyone who has done the dishes will have been confronted by this problem in the past. If you have not been careful about what has been flowing down the sink, you can easily block it.
One major contributor to sink blockages which many people do not consider is fat. Because it is a liquid at higher temperatures (like when your food is being eaten) many people throw it down the drain.
However, when it reaches your sink, the fat solidifies, causing blockages.
The good news is that this is not necessarily a major emergency situation. Normally you can deal with a clogged sink yourself.
Firstly, see if you can use an implement to loosen any major objects from the very top of the sink. This may cure the blockage immediately.
If this doesn't have much of an effect, don't be dismayed. There are a number of fantastic products on the market which will literally dissolve all of the detritus that is clogging up your sink.
In fact, you could actually use vinegar to ease the blockage and get your sink working again.
3. Problems With the Pipes
During colder months, your pipes are at risk of freezing, which can cause a major plumbing emergency if they are not properly protected.
By its very nature, water expands and contracts at different temperatures. This puts a lot of pressure on your pipes during the winter.
The continuous expansion and contraction of the water within the pipes will eventually cause them to weaken and then burst completely.
This can lead to water damage around your property, as well as forcing you to move out of your home whilst the repairs are being made.
If you live in a colder area and are worried that your pipes are freezing up, you can use hot water bottles to thaw them out.
As long as you continue to use your central heating system during the winter, this may not even be necessary. The greatest risk is to homeowners who leave their properties unoccupied during the winter.
In this scenario, maybe just ask a neighbor or friend to check in and exercise the heating system occasionally.
If it is already too late and a pipe has burst in your home, here is a helpful guide to some of the quick fixes you can use to protect your home.
4. Where's My Hot Water?
There is nothing more infuriating than turning on the taps for a nice bath and realizing that the hot water is not working properly.
Although you wouldn't think of it as being plumbing related, it can be considered a plumbing emergency. This is because your hot water pumps are linked to all of the rest of the water systems in your property.
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot that you can do to cope with a broken hot water system. There are also many different ways that homes get their hot water, depending on the age and size of the property.
For these reasons, it's best to call in a plumber to help you fix any potential problems you have.
5. Washing Machines Problems
A high-quality washing machine will last for years. These are sturdy appliances which often operate without fault time and again.
There is one major weak link however which may lead to a plumbing emergency. This is the water pipe, which connects your house's water supply to the washing machine and allows it to operate.
This is one of the most frequent plumbing emergencies experienced, so don't panic if you spot any water.
These water pipes can often come loose. This can cause a water leak to take place underneath your washing machine. This isn't ideal for an electrical appliance, so should be dealt with as soon as possible.
If you spot water near or underneath your washing machine, pull the machine away from the wall and inspect the pipe.
Do you notice any bulges or cracks on the surface of the pipe? This is the cause of your problem. If there are any major cuts or cracks, don't use the machine again until the pipe can be replaced.
Avoid Having a Plumbing Emergency
The reality is that a plumbing emergency can take place at any time, without warning. What is important though, is that you remain calm, deal with the initial problem and then consult an expert.
As long as you quickly manage the problem, you should not suffer any major damage to your property.
Have you suffered any of the problems listed above? Comment below with your experience of plumbing emergencies that you have had to deal with.