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10 Most Common Residential Plumbing Emergencies & Solutions

Plumbing issues come automatically with owning a home. They come in different forms such as minor issues like a blocked sink, or a major issue like pipe leaks.

It is beneficial to have a brief idea about the different types of residential plumbing emergencies. This will be able to assist you in case an issue arises. Plumbers may be necessary if the issue is an emergency or if it it complex.

10 Most Common Residential Plumbing Emergencies – Their Causes & Solutions


1. Slow Sink Drainage

Slow sink drainage is one of the most common residential plumbing issue that you might come across. It occurs from blockage that constricts the flow of water down the drain. You are likely to face this issue mostly in the kitchen but as well as the bathroom. Food scraps and solid fat blocks the sink drain or P-trap. In bathrooms, blockage may occur due to soap and hair.

How to fix slow sink drainage? You could use hot boiling water or use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to pour down the drain/sink. Use water to flush the solution and repeat the method if it does not unclog. Try to unclog the drain using a plunger or plumber’s snake if the clog persists.

Unclogging a Sink Drain With Chemicals:

  • Please follow the directions given on the package and be careful.
  • Use gloves and goggles.
  • Never mix chemicals together.
  • Carefully, pour the given chemicals through the drain.

Note: When used repeatedly, chemicals bring damage to the plumbing pipes, and they can be hazardous to your health. If not handled properly, it can bring further issues.

2. Dripping Faucets and Taps

One of the most common residential plumbing emergencies is a dripping faucet or tap. All households face this issue. Drop by drop, a large quantity of water gets wasted because of this problem. Not only does this cause dampness, but it also increases the water bill.

The faucets at your home must be dripping because of some issue inside the internal washer. The wearing off, stiffening, tear and dislodging is often the culprit here. While you can solve the fault in your taps with the right tools, it is advisable to call a plumber for a proper job.

3. Clogged Shower Drain

While kitchen sinks jam due to food scraps, hardened soap and hair block the bath drains. The mixture of baking soda and vinegar can help you deal with the clog. If not, you can use a plumber’s snake or a plunger to work on it.

When you do not take care of the clog quick, the situation gets worse and may require professional assistance. We recommend you to get a drain guard to get hold of soap and hair.

Using a Plunger to Unclog Bath Drain

  • Use petroleum jelly to seal the suction pad tightly.
  • Pour enough water to submerge the plunger’s end.
  • Plunge powerfully.

4. Low Water Pressure

Often in old homes, there may be low water pressure. You may notice that the water just oozes out from the tap instead of spurting. It is one of the most common residential plumbing emergencies.

The corrosion and wear & tear of leaky pipes are one of the causes of low water pressure. Sometimes, the deposit of sediment and minerals jams the aerators. What you can do is put the aerator in vinegar for cleansing.

If the issue lies in the shower, put the showerhead in baking soda and vinegar or buy a new showerhead.

Using Vinegar For Cleaning A Aerator/ Showerhead

  • Take apart the aerator and clean the dirt in it.
  • Soak a toothbrush in vinegar and scrub the sediments and minerals out.
  • To get the loose matter out, use a toothpick or pin
  • Let the parts soak in vinegar solution for dissolving the other pieces.

5. Constant Running Toilet

You will lose a lot of water with a running toilet. More than hundreds of gallon of water could be lost. The water bill may go up. Often, a faulty flapper valve makes the water drip since it controls the flow of water from the tank to the bowl. You can take this as a DIY project and use a toilet repair kit to fix it yourself.

Sometimes, sediments may affect the filling of water and flushing out. You should inspect for silent leakages if you find that your water bills are increasing. An easy way is to drop food colouring in the tank and observe if it gets to the bowl even when you do not flush.

Call a plumber if you do not find a way out.

6. Toilet Clog

Imagine what a nightmare it is to have your toilet clogged. It creates havoc at the house itself. A toilet clog is one of the most common residential plumbing emergencies across the world. When you flush toilet papers or foreign objects, such an issue may come up. Both human waste and paper can cause it.

This problem can be solved using a plunger or plumber’s snake. You can loosen up the constriction.

Always dispose of non-decomposable products in the dustbin to avoid a clog.

7. Water Heater Failure

You may not notice a water heater failure until you get in the shower and the water is cold. There are different reasons behind a faulty water heater. Perhaps, it is time to relight the pilot light, and that may do it. Or, a sediment build-up may be there in the tank, so you need to fix that. Another reason for such a failure could be a faulty thermostat.

While you can easily relight a pilot light to solve this problem, ask a plumber to fix the water heater if the problem persists.

8. Garbage Disposal Halt

Garbage disposal is an essential appliance. And, jammed disposal is among the most common residential plumbing emergencies. When you do not flush enough water and dispose of food residues like peels of fruits and vegetables, a garbage disposal can halt The jam causes clogging of your sink drain.

A quick and easy fix maybe resetting the machine. If that solution does not help, you must open and see the condition. Call a professional if the procedure appears difficult.

9. Sewer System Backup

Sewer System backups are both messy and cost inducing. This emergency is the most inconvenient of all. When your toilet drain stops working, and there are multiple drains, there is bad odour all around the house. Your life at home will get complicated.

The location of the obstruction shapes the approach to solving it. If the problem exists in your residential property, you are in charge of getting a plumber and fixing it. And, when the blockage happens on the road, call your water company.

If the problem is from the side of your water company, they will have to pay.

The common causes of this problem include dumping diapers, pads and toilet paper down the toilet. And, often people flush grease down their drain. Another reason is the tree roots compressing the pipes leading to a malfunction. Finally, when pipes get older, they may crack or collapse; especially those made from clay or iron.

Avoid putting diapers and pads in the toilet. And, never pour grease in the drain. Call an expert if you think there is piper breakage.

10. Pipe Leakage

The leakage in pipes is a common residential plumbing emergencies. The dampness from the leak may cause insects’ infestations and harm your furniture and other property.

Mostly, leaks occur in pipe joints. Compounds, fillers and tape are temporary remedies, but you will have to invest in a fitting or piece of pipe for a more durable solution.

During winter, water expands due to low temperature and pipes might burst.

Preventing Pipe Bursts During Winter

  • Put the thermostat to the equal temperature during day and night.
  • When the temperature goes lower, let cold water out from the faucets of exposed pipes. This method can help you prevent freezing.

When Do I Call A Professional Plumber?

Sometimes, you may do more harm than good by trying to fix the plumbing issue yourself. And, things may go wrong when you wait too long. DIY methods often work, but you need professional help for complicated situations.

The leakages may disturb your life and property. And, the health of your family could be at stake.

When the situation feels too confusing to handle, call a professional. We realise that the cost goes up when you get the plumber but look at the bright side; you will be free of the trouble once and for all. Also, the situation gets under control with proper inspection and plan implementation.

Remember us at iCare Plumbing, for a fix at affordable prices.

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