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Who Should Handle Plumbing Maintenance?
There are many reasons you might want to hire a plumber rather than try to fix a plumbing issue yourself. You might have a big job or even minor repairs that you can't fix using your time and resources. Maybe you don't know how plumbing works, and it doesn't seem very easy to understand.
Maybe the "how-to" videos on YouTube are not enough to teach you everything you need to know. If you're considering tackling your plumbing project, here are a few things to consider before you start.
When Should You Call A Plumber Instead Of DIY?
You have no water at all
Nothing can turn a good morning into a lousy day easier than waking up and realising that you have no water at all. Before jumping to conclusions, you need to first consult your neighbours to ascertain if it's something occasional or not.
If it's in the local news, they'll usually provide an estimate of the time needed to fix it and keep you informed. If you are the only one in the neighbourhood without water, there could be severe issues with your plumbing. There could be a myriad of reasons that water isn't flowing through.
One of the pipes may have burst or frozen, it could be a backup issue, or it could be a blockage that is so large and dangerous that it cannot be snaked anymore. If you don't see any water from any part of the home, it's most likely an issue in the main line, the infamous pipe only a plumber can fix.
You have no hot water
While it's normal to have occasional hot water, the absence of hot water within your home could signify serious plumbing issues. If not fixed, the lack of it can cause enormous inconveniences. You will need to call an emergency plumber to repair your water heater.
Your local plumber will help you identify the problem, which can either be a significant or a minor one that is simple to repair. For instance, if your pilot's light flickers every day, there could be an issue with the drip. Also, lack of water can result from a defective element that only a licensed plumber can repair.
There are times when hot water might not last as long if the tank isn't large enough. A licensed plumber can help determine the tank size you'll need and how to install it after you've chosen. They will also guide you through checking the breaker and other little issues that may cause worry. A skilled plumber can identify the root of large temperatures that fluctuate.
If something isn't functioning correctly and temperatures fluctuate dramatically, you could end up seriously burned after adjusting the shower, which changes from cold to scorching hot. If you're afraid of risks associated with hot water repairs, consult a qualified inspector to inspect your igniters, fuse thermostats, heating element pipes, and more.
An odd smell in the house
If you've noticed an unusual smell but aren't able to identify the cause, it could be an appropriate time to seek assistance. The smell you perceive could be a sewage-like smell. It could be a likely sign that the sewer line or drainpipe has ruptured or blocked; although it's not visible, you can smell it.
Also, damage to your home from severe storms or heavy rains can result in backups in your sewage systems and pumps. The clogs in your pipe or toilet could be too far away or more powerful than an ordinary plunger can handle, and the backup may have been allowed to grow.
Does the smell seem slightly unsettling and not like the sewer odour? This could mean gas. Gas leaks can be hazardous as they can cause health hazards. If you detect that the smell could be coming from your gas lines, do not wait. Get an expert to repair the line before it gets worse because it's not something you'd want to handle on your own.
You can quickly walk through your home to determine if the problem is inside your house, the drain near your yard, or other locations on your property. Knowing this can aid a plumber in narrowing their focus and then begin to treat your home right away.
A pipe has burst
There are several reasons why plumbing pipes will burst. It can be due to external pressure, clogs that increase the water pressure, or a mistake when installing the pipes.
There are several ways to know if a pipe has burst. For instance, an increase in your water bill can indicate that some pipes are ruptured. Also, changes in pressure or a rotten egg smell from your pipes suggest that your pipes have burst.
If you suspect the pipe may have ruptured, turn off the water supply and increase the heat to stop anything from getting more serious. Once you know where the pipes have burst, you should call an experienced plumber for pipe repairs.
Pipes that burst are not uncommon, but they're not something that you're likely to handle on your own properly. Contrary to common clogs, it requires a lot of expertise to fix the issue safely.
You've been flushing things you shouldn't
Perhaps you've noticed some problems regarding your plumbing and have realised you've been flushing things you shouldn't. For instance, kitty litter, wet wipes, and tampons can be harmful when flushed down the toilet. Tampons create clogs in your drain pipes.
When non-flushable tampons reach the septic tank, they'll fill up faster as they don't break down. Children playing around the toilet can also flush toys and stones. Cat litter dumped in the toilet and other stuff will get stuck on the walls of the drain pipes and cause a blocked drain.
In such cases, you should avoid flushing non-flushable items down your drain. Instead, throw them in the correct garbage disposal can. You can only flush human waste and tissue paper down the toilet. Standard DIY techniques will not help you unclog your drain pipe in severe blockages. You'll require a plumber to do the work.
The rate at which pipes freeze and hence burst increases in winter. Also, frozen pipes cause other residential plumbing issues.
If you reside in an icy area or are experiencing freezing temperatures, look for signs of a frozen pipe. They include:
- Frost can be seen on visible pipes such as those beneath the sink.
- It's cold enough out that the pipes may freeze.
- The water is flowing out in a tidal or less.
If a pipe freezes, it is likely to burst, which is why it should be dealt with promptly. A plumber's call can help stop further problems from occurring later on.
A plumber can use an electric heat gun to melt the ice and let the water flow back through the pipe. It's not easy to attempt on your own because you'd be unable to know what percentage of that pipe has been frozen.
Low water pressure or blocked drains
While slow and low-pressure drains may not be significant, you should be worried. If a drain, such as in a bathtub or kitchen sink, takes more time to drain, it could be a sign that it's blocked. Low pressure can be attributed to damaged or cracked pipes, either inside the walls or beneath the home's foundation.
The pipes will leak every time you use water inside your home, causing an ever-growing problem that could cause severe damage to your house. If you're experiencing low pressure, but it's not in a specific fixture, it's time to call a professional plumber near you.
Tree roots are growing through the pipe system
Trees planted near plumbing systems invariably lead to issues. If the pipes have not been replaced for a long time, tree roots could enter through the pipe system and cause clogging and water leaks.
It's not easy to notice where the problem starts from. However, leak detection can be done with an inspection camera. Next time you have clogged or broken pipes, look at your yard. How many trees are in your compound? Do you think the plumbing is outdated?
Tree roots that grow through a pipe system can lead to an expensive repair. The standard solutions to fix this are pipe replacement or pipe relining. When that's done, your leak and clog issues should be solved for good.
When you've tried DIY plumbing and had no luck
Sometimes you search online for a tutorial on how to do some tasks. For instance, you can find tutorials on how to unclog your toilet and then proceed to your nearest store and purchase a drain snake or try other methods to remove the blockage.
However, if the blockage is down the drain, all this may not solve the issue, and you'll need to contact a professional plumber. Do not pour harmful chemicals down the drain to eliminate obstructions since it could make any pipe damage more severe and force the blockage further down.
If you've tried all the simple methods but haven't had any luck, call an experienced plumber before you end up with more damage.
Your water heater is sweating
A "sweating" water heater indicates a slow but constant leak. First, you should check the pilot light and move around the water heater to ascertain if the ground is damp.
The small leaks caused by cracks in pipes or casings can lead to a significant problem and hence need to be addressed as soon as possible. Here's what to look for:
- Water heater corrosion.
- A large pool of water inside the pan.
You'll need plumbing emergency services if you detect any of these signs. The plumber will conduct a thorough inspection for gas leaks and electrical issues. You can safeguard your home at a reasonable price by fixing your hot water heater hence preventing new water heater installation.
The hot water heater repairs might need a new circuit breaker. Fixing your hot water leaks and problems will help you avoid new water heater installation.
Water is backing up in an unexpected region
Clogs are commonplace in plumbing systems, from tubs and toilets to faucets inside and out. Some clogs can be cleared by using a plunger and small amounts of muscle. If you cannot remove them with a bit of plunger or muscle work, or if you notice an obstruction always backing up, you need to contact an experienced plumber.
Plumbers may use equipment like cameras to examine pipes more deeply to find something that could be causing long-term problems. Hair, grease, roots that get into underground systems, and problems with your septic tank are just some issues that could be causing problems.
Whenever you have a drain issue, it's essential to call a plumber because it could be a severe issue. Even if it's a minor issue like a clogged tub drain, every time you bathe your dog, it only worsens the problem if it happens frequently. It's possible to fix the issue at home, but sometimes you're delaying the onset of a more significant issue or addressing a symptom and allowing an underlying problem to worsen.
A Plumber Saves The Day
Ultimately, if you can do an emergency plumbing repair or improvement yourself, you can save a lot of money. If you have the skill and knowledge to do the job, then great! But it's important to know whether or not your skills fall within the relevant plumbing category.
Otherwise, it might lead to unnecessary frustration in the long run. So, if you're faced with a serious plumbing issue, don't start wondering whether you can do it yourself. Chances are, you can't, and it would save you future plumber visits if you contact a plumber this time.