Neighborhood Plumbing

How to Prevent Plumbing Emergencies in Your Home

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No one expects to come home one day to a flooded bathroom or a broken toilet, but it happens. Emergencies are a part of life, and home emergencies can happen when you’re a homeowner. But there are ways to minimize, if not prevent these emergencies, and we can go through the most popular and easiest options to do so. 

Sometimes planning for emergencies feels like you’re jinxing it, or like a waste of money and time, but I can promise you that is not the case. It’s always worth it to prepare for an emergency and take those few extra preventative measures to make sure you never have to deal with a plumbing emergency. 

What is a Plumbing Emergency?

First, let’s define what it is. A plumbing emergency is an issue with your plumbing system that requires immediate attention and can often be expensive. It can consist of anything from a clogged sink to an overflowing toilet, to a leaky faucet or a bursting pipe. It’s generally a maintenance issue, and there are steps every homeowner can take to avoid it from happening. 

Emergency Checklist

Say the emergency has already happened, and you’re standing at your sink panicking. Take a deep breath and call for help from professionals. Here’s what to do in the meantime.

Turn off the water. Learn where the water supply is and shut it off at the source. Stopping the flow of water can’t change what’s already happened, but it can stop further damage from occurring. Turn off all your faucets to divert all the water from the leak. 

Move all your electronics and valuables to a high surface and away from the water to protect them. Attend to your water heater at once. When a plumbing emergency happens, temperatures may be going haywire. Turn off and unplug all appliances to avoid damage. 

Use rags, buckets, mops, etc. to stop the leak and soak up the water from causing further damage to drywall and the flooring, to prevent mold. Remove as much water as you can. If you aren’t sure how to fix the plumbing issue itself, don’t try your hand and potentially make it worse. Wait for the professionals to come and repair the issue with the right tools and knowledge.

Don’t Clog Your Drains

Making sure to keep your drains clean of food, hair, or other debris can go a long way. Know how much your pipes can handle and don’t overestimate them. Garbage can get easily trapped in your pipes and clog your sink, making it harder for water to pass through and damaging your pipes. Don’t pour hot oils, fats, or grease down the drain, as they can get stickier as they go down the pipes and eventually become solid, blocking the water flow. 

Get drain screens to prevent bigger things from falling down the sink and blocking the water flow so that you don’t have to keep calling professionals.

Keep in mind that garbage disposals cannot handle all types of food and that small things like hair and crumbs can build up over time. You can even regularly clean your drain by pouring boiling water down the sink to keep it clean. 

Maintain Your Pipes Seasonally

What your pipes need in terms of maintenance changes seasonally, especially if you live in a place where the temperature change is more extreme. Different types of weather present different challenges. Your pipes might need more attention in the winter specifically, to ensure that they don’t burst. In colder temperatures, water in the pipes can often freeze, causing the pipes to expand and crack, and could lead to flooding in the home. 

If you are cleaning your drains due to a block, remind yourself not to use harsh chemicals that can eat away at the surface of your pipes after repeated use. Pipes that are left unattended can get rusty and weak, which often leads to flooding.

Do Regular Check-Ups

Having a plumber do a check-up every once in a while helps you keep your plumbing clean and safe and reduces your risk of plumbing emergencies. If something is wrong, they’ll catch it immediately. Having a professional come around and check for leaks, unusual water pressure, corrosion, and your valves means that you’ll be in lesser danger of having accidents happening. And although you could keep an eye out yourself for signs like gurgling drains, banging pipes, a whistling shower head, and knocking or popping in your water heater, a professional will be much more familiar with the signs to look out for and can warn you about an issue before it becomes a problem. 

Plumbing emergencies are serious issues, but there are tips and tricks you can use to maintain the plumbing system in your home and ultimately prevent these emergencies from happening. It might take some effort, and maintenance can cost you a pretty penny, but it is far more expensive to deal with the aftermath of a plumbing issue. Being proactive can often go a long way. Take these preventative measures, and reduce your stress.

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