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For residents, plumbing problems are like fleas on a dog. They can’t be avoided. Even if you just moved into a new home plumbing problems can happen. A proactive approach to heading off potential plumbing accidents is to one, maintain your appliances in working order, and two, use leak detectors at each water location around your home. Puzzling to homeowners is the appearance of a leak they didn’t realise was in progress, and now fears of water damage to their residence are top-of-mind.

Professional plumbers have dealt with many a homeowner on the verge of emotional collapse due to a water leak threatening the integrity of their infrastructure. Asked for their advice about how to deal with the issues surrounding water leaks, and other plumbing problems, plumbing specialists have passed along their tips for how to handle several common plumbing scenarios.

The first rule is to call a plumber when you can see the plumbing problem is beyond your skills to handle.

Pipes or Valves Generating Leaks 

If you discover a leak occurring in either your kitchen or bathroom, let a professional handle it because they have the know-how to get to the source of the leak more quickly, and it is safe to say where potential water damage is threatening the appearance or integrity of your home, then time is true of the essence. Even the most evident plumbing problems like a gushing pipe joint that seems within your ability to fix may turn out to be more problematic than at first glance. Use your best judgement in these circumstances.

Steps to Take:

  • Shut off the water supply of the leaky pipe.

  • When you can’t determine where the leak is coming from, contact a plumber immediately.

  • If you can locate the source of the leak, such as a broken seal or pipe, it’s probably an easy fix, a matter of getting a replacement. If possible, take the damaged item down to your local hardware store, pronto, to get a new one.

  • If one of your appliances is the source of the leak, you have two options to exercise: get hold of the appliance supplier for a replacement part or call a local appliance repair specialist.

B-r-r-r My Pipes are Freezing!

Below-freezing temperatures make homeowners nervous because all they can think about is the likelihood their pipes will burst.

  • To head off a prohibitively expensive catastrophe adjust all the home’s faucets to a dribble or droplet.

  • Wrap your pipes, particularly outdoor faucets, with water-proof insulation.

  • Cover faucets protruding from the outside wall of the home with a device named a bell cover.

  • Call upon the folks at your local hardware store or the helpful guys at the large retail home improvement centres to find out what types of insulation you’ll need.

  • All exposed outdoor pipes require provisional water-proof insulation coverings.

  • If you are caught off-guard by pipes that have frozen, go into action immediately. Shut off the water supply and heat up the pipes. You can use a variety of devices laying about your home to do the job. Think a heating pad, heat lamp or hairdryer, any device emitting heat and portable.

  • To minimise the possibility of frozen-over pipes inside your home, let doors between unheated and heated rooms remain ajar.

Plumbing Problems with Clogged Sink and Toilet Drains

For an obstructed sink or toilet, the low-tech method of using a plunger is often effective. Alternatively, you can also use a chemical drain cleaner. If you’ve no luck with either one of these methods, put in a call to a plumber.

  • The plunger method is quick, and if you don’t get quick results, investigate further, by looking into the tank to see if all the parts are working properly. Usually, it’s just a matter of re-positioning the float ball. Sometimes the rubber suction part is not engaging correctly. A little fiddling with it can remedy the problem. It does not take a lot of know-how, just an observant eye as to how the parts should be interfacing.

  • Use a precautionary measure to keep sink drains from clotting with gunk by pouring extremely hot water down the drain. Doing this on a regular basis will nip the problem in the bud.

  • The method of using the plunger is to pump it forcefully up to 20 times. To help keep the seal tight, apply petroleum jelly around the perimeter of the plunger bottom. Repeat plunging if necessary to remove the obstruction.

  • To avoid water seepage of other outlets tie them with rags.

  • If you use a chemical cleaner, read the instructions carefully and abide by them 100%.

Water Heater Maintenance

  • Your water heater needs maintenance on a yearly basis. It’s as simple as emptying your water tank into a bucket until the water runs clear.

  • Check your gas water heater if you own one to see if the flame is blue. If it is orange contact your gas company, or you can call a plumber.

  • Learn how to light the pilot light. You’ll see the simple instructions on the tank.

A plumber can be your best friend in an emergency, and when it comes to ferreting out plumbing problems that could potentially harm your home’s appearance or underlying infrastructure. If you do your homework and ask the right questions, you’ll end up with a competent professional to rescue you from the worst plumbing problems that can happen when your plumbing malfunctions.