The Five Most Common Plumbing Emergencies And What To Do About Them


U.S. households use a lot of water–especially inside the home. In fact, indoor water use accounts for 70% or more of a total 300 gallons daily used by U.S. families. Those figures look even more remarkable when they do not account for plumbing emergencies. Every day, U.S. men and women encounter problems with plumbing that cannot wait. Here are just a few.

1. Burst Pipes

Frozen pipes, corrosion or decay, water pressure, or moving pipes can all lead to a critical leak or burst pipes. For example, water may freeze inside pipes during especially cold winter months. Unfortunately, ice has more volume than liquid water. When a lot of ice builds up inside pipes, it expands, creates an enormous amount of pressure, and causes pipes to crack, fissure, and burst open. Similarly, pipes that do not stay firmly in place are also at risk of a sudden burst. These unsecured pipes may jostle back and forth, producing loud noises and an effect called a water hammer. Over time, the friction from the moving pipes weakens plumbing, ultimately causing burst pipes and water damage.

Plumbers can determine the root cause of burst pipes and take measures to prevent this plumbing emergency from recurring in the future.

2. Gas Leaks

Gas leaks are not just a plumbing emergency. When carbon monoxide gets involved, they’re emergencies period. Know the signs of any potential gas leaks. If you regularly hear hissing pipes, smell sulfur, or you or your family members come down with severe headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, it may be time to call the plumber. If you suspect carbon monoxide, leave your home, bring your pets, and call the authorities. Other gas leaks can be extremely dangerous, too–especially with flammability and toxicity coming into play. If in doubt, it is best to leave your home with your family, and call a plumber straight away.

3. Clogged Toilets

While not deadly, it can be inconvenient and embarrassing to contend with a clogged toilet or toilets. Toilets that will not flush and keep coming back up again are a problem… to put it lightly. If you have a persistently clogged toilet, a plumber will likely snake your plumbing to remove the source of the blockage. In most cases, flush-able wipes (often not truly flush-able) and/or other trash or personal items flushed down the toilet explain this particular plumbing emergency.

4. A Broken Hot Water Heater

Tolerating cold showers is not easy. Plumbing services can help. The signs of a broken water heater are obvious–if your water is cold and stays that way–but the causes of a failed water heater are not. Water heaters can malfunction thanks to old age, rust, sediment buildup, or changes in water pressure. A plumber will be able to determine the reason your water heater is malfunctioning and help you fix it.

5. You Dropped Your Wedding Ring

While this particular emergency tends to come along with some embarrassment, that isn’t necessary. It happens more often than you would think! It is very common to call in emergency plumbers to retrieve to engagement rings, wedding rings, and other valuable jewelry, like family heirlooms. Here is what to expect, and there are a few things you can do to help make sure you get your treasured item back. First, if you haven’t flushed, do not flush. If you flushed the toilet once already, definitely do not flush it a second time. Best case scenario, plumbers will remove valuables using a snake. If a snake is not able to retrieve your ring, plumbers may use cameras to check the plumbing for any signs of your missing jewelry. From there, they may be able to take the toilet apart, check the toilet trap, and find your missing ring or trinket in there.

While what happens after you have your ring back is out of plumbers’ or professionals’ hands, it is highly recommended that you make sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize your ring before wearing it again.

A trusted plumber can help you with the five most common plumbing emergencies. Call at the first sign of trouble.