An efficient plumbing system is essential in today’s world. Your pipes and drains handle large amounts of water that come into and out of a building. At some point, a plumbing emergency is bound to happen. Here are a few tips on what to do in case you encounter a plumbing emergency.
Shut Off the Water and Clear the Pipes
Plumbing emergencies come from leaks or clogs. If you have a plumbing emergency, the best thing to do is to shut off the water. You can prevent further damage to your home until you can get the issue fixed.
Typically, one issue that can develop with your plumbing can come from high-pressure water that affects the pipes. Tucson Water, a department of the City of Tucson, sets the pressure between 45 and 60 PSI (pound per square inch). At above the 60 PSI limit, your pipes will strain under high pressure and may eventually develop leaks.
Since high water pressure can come from the municipal line, it is also possible that your expansion tank or water heater will suffer from the ill effects. In addition, as the temperature of the water in your water heater tank rises, it can cause the pressure to rise as well. When the pressure is over the limit, your appliance is likely to fail to cause damage to your home.
Another manifestation of water problems is banging sounds coming from the pipes. Plumbers refer to the phenomenon as a water hammer. The high pressure momentarily halts the movement of water through the piping.
You may also notice some faucets leaking when a nearby fixture is in use. Therefore, you should pay attention to leaking from appliances like a dishwasher, washing machine, or water heater. If you notice leaking from these appliances, turn off the water immediately and seek professional assistance.
Don’t Overlook Dripping Faucets and Plumbing Leaks
As part of your plumbing approach, you should be aware that gaskets and water fixtures will wear out. When these parts get worn, they can leak out considerable amounts of water unless you address the issue promptly.
A spike in utility bills is one possible sign that you have developed a plumbing issue. According to statistics, a faucet dripping water at a rate of one second per drop can waste up to 3,000 gallons per year. That is enough water to fill up approximately 100 bathtubs.
When you notice that your Tucson home has sprung a water leak, turn off the water and let the water drain out of the pipes. This will help prevent the water from flooding your home.
If leakages or burst pipes have already flooded your property, clear the water as soon as possible. Excess water on the floor, wall, or cabinets can cause extensive damage to your home.
Dealing With Frozen Pipes
Even though the winters in Tucson are usually mild, you can still encounter burst pipes due to freezing. Below freezing temperatures will cause water to expand, weakening your plumbing.
Several factors may cause your pipes to freeze. If the pipes are in walls, crawlspaces, and the attic, they are more susceptible to bursting. By acting quickly, you can prevent costly damage to your plumbing and home.
The first step is to shut off the main water valve. Then, turn the furnace temperature up a few degrees. This will allow warm air to circulate and thaw the frozen water inside the pipes.
You may also want to disconnect hoses and fixtures on the exterior of your home. The pipes are more prone to freezing temperatures outdoors. If there is visible damage to the pipes, wait for service from a certified plumber.
Assess Your Electrical Appliances and Address Scalding Risks
You should check your electrical appliances connected to water for any leaks. For example, your water heater could have a leak. Check the drain pan to see if you have any standing water inside it. If you see water, it is a clear indication you have a leak.
The pipes going into the tank from the top are also susceptible to high pressure. Leakages from the bottom of the appliance represent a drain valve or the heater tank that has cracks. Regardless of the source of the problem, you should shut off the electrical supply from the breaker switch. Consider calling Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing for professional plumbing assistance in Tucson.
Signs of a faulty water heater may include:
- Creaking or rumbling noises
- Insufficient water heater temperatures
- Cracks or leaks on the heater’s tank
- Discolored water
If you notice the water from your hot water appliance is hotter than usual, you should turn it off to avoid burns. The Department of Energy recommends your water heater’s temperature be set to 120 degrees instead of the standard 140 degrees.
You can set the water heater temperature higher than 120 degrees, but the lower thermostat setting will suffice without the risk of scalding.
Avoid Using Chemical Cleaners to Remove Clogs
A clog is a common plumbing occurrence you are likely to encounter. Fortunately, you can eliminate most blockages by using a plumbing auger or a plunger. Toilet clogs should go away with a few dips of the plunger.
However, the clog may prove to be too stubborn for those plumbing tools. Many homeowners may have the temptation to use chemical drain cleaners or bleach to unclog their drains. However, using drain cleaners can prove to be risky to your pipes and the health of your family.
Chemical cleaners can clear soft blockages such as those consisting of hair and grease. But you should be aware that the compound in the cleaner can react with the metal or plastic piping. It may also not be ideal for dealing with tree roots and other stubborn clogs. The chemicals will only weaken your pipes, leaving them vulnerable to corrosion and leakages.
Furthermore, chemical cleaners can irritate the eyes, nose, and respiratory system. If you choose to use a chemical solution, you should protect your skin and use it according to the instructions on the container. However, the best approach is to call a certified plumber when you have stubborn blockages.
Preventing Plumbing Problems in the Future
You can take simple, practical steps to prevent plumbing issues in the future. You can start by paying attention to what you let go down the kitchen or toilet drain. Grease and hair can accumulate and cause persistent clogs over time.
You can prevent clogs through periodic cleaning during annual maintenance. Hydro-jetting is one of the most effective ways to remove debris without risking chemical damage to your pipes. The process can remove even the toughest of blockages, such as those from tree roots.
We also recommend fixing recurring plumbing problems as soon as possible. Plumbers can help you locate the source of the leaks or clogs. Certified professionals have the training to diagnose and fix your plumbing issues effectively.
Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is a premier plumbing company in Tucson. Our plumbing staff has the requisite training to handle plumbing tasks of various scopes and sizes. Our team employs cutting-edge tools such as video pipe inspections and hydro-jetting to guarantee quality service. We provide heating and cooling service, including installation, repairs, and maintenance. Call our friendly help desk for more information about how we can help you.