When Is The Right Time To Call Your Local Plumber
Plumbing tends to be one of those things you don’t think about until it’s too late. Average homeowners know their way around a plunger and a bottle of drain cleaner, but that’s typically the extent of most people’s plumbing know-how.
That’s why it’s vital to know the warning signs of a clogged pipe or drain before it backs up or bursts—and to know when to pack it in and call a pro. If you don’t, you could cost yourself thousands of dollars in repairs—and have a mountain of a mess on your hands. Read on for some telltale signals that you should put your plumber on speed dial.
Gurgling from Your Plumbing
Hearing gurgling when you use the toilet or run the laundry or dishwasher may be your first sign of a clogged or compromised drain. If your toilet is gurgling when it’s not being used, your system is trying to find air and you’re likely in for a backup. If you hear the noise when you’re running the washing machine or dishwasher, or when taking a shower, immediately turn off the water so the system doesn’t back up into the house.
Hearing Water in Your Pipes
If you hear water running through your pipes when nobody is using water, you might have a leak.
Check for telltale wet or brown spots on your ceilings, walls, or floors. If the wet spot is warm, it’s likely the leak is in your hot water line. This can be vastly helpful info to relay to your plumber (it can cut down the expense or time he spends isolating the source of your drip).
If you’re hearing water running in your toilet, your repair is likely as simple as replacing a worn or damaged flapper—and this happens to be an easy DIY job. But if you’re hearing hissing noises, your internal tank components are likely worn, and a total replacement might be your most cost-effective option.
Low Water Pressure
Sometimes, the lessening of water pressure from the faucet in your kitchen or bathroom sink is simply a case of gunk buildup in the faucet’s aerator. In these cases, the problem can be remedied by simply screwing off the aerator, cleaning off the gunky residue, and screwing it back onto the faucet. But if that doesn’t restore your pressure to normal, things could be more serious—like a fractured pipe, an eroded waterline, or a water leak in the system. Don’t try to fix these compacted issues yourself.
Slow Draining Plumbing
If you notice your kitchen and bathroom sinks are taking a bit longer than usual to drain, it’s probably best to call in a pro to find the source of the clog. Similarly, if your tub, sink, or toilet won’t drain after you attempt to use over-the-counter drain products or plungers, call a plumber, pronto. Trying too hard to release the clog can lead to more pipe damage.
If your pipes are frozen in the dead of winter, you need to call in a plumber immediately. Telltale signs include your water no longer running, odd clanking noises when you turn on the tap, smells of sewage emanating from the faucet, or visible frost or moisture on exposed pipes.
Don’t try to thaw the pipes yourself—this can lead to cracks or, even worse, a full burst. To prevent frozen pipes, let your faucets drip cold water (especially overnight) when outdoor temps dip below freezing, and leave sink cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate.
A Sulfur or Sewage Odor
If you’re suddenly hit with the smell of rotten eggs, you might have a broken vent or sewer pipe under your house. Left unchecked, broken vents or pipes can cause environmental issues and wreak havoc with your foundation.
In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to call a plumber any time you detect an odd smell.
If you smell gas at any time—when you are in a room, when you run the dryer, when you’re in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner, or even if you’re outside—don’t ignore it. The scent that is added to natural gas is to alert you that there is a gas leak somewhere. This time skip the call to a plumber and instead immediately call your utility company. Open your windows, and do not use any appliances, as even turning on lights can cause a spark that can ignite a natural gas explosion.