Sometimes it may seem easier to try and fix something on your own, but most of the time it is best to leave it to the pros, especially when it comes to plumbing problems.
There are two types of people in this world — those who have their plumbers’ numbers saved in their phones and those who don’t. For those who don’t, knowing when to call a plumber and WHO to call may mean the difference between making a plumbing situation worse and getting it taken care of correctly, and in a timely manner. Here are a few of the most common plumbing situations you may run into.
Say you’re the type of person who enjoys doing projects around the house. That small bathroom needs a new coat of paint, right? Well, the room is too small for your step ladder, so you stand on the toilet seat to cut-in the wall paint at the ceiling. Just one foot on the old wall-hung sink will allow you to reach the last section to complete the job, when BOOM — the sink hits the floor, and the water is spraying toward the ceiling! That would be a prime time to know how to turn the water off at the shut-off valve.
Most houses have a main cut-off valve for the water supply located inside the house. And each fixture — such as the sink, toilet and ice maker — usually has one located on the water line at the fixture. There is also a shut-off on your outside water meter, which is the property of the water company and usually requires a special wrench to operate. Wherever you decide to cut it off, the quicker you can stop the water from flowing, the less likely major damage will occur.
Hair, grease and tree roots are the most common causes of slow drains or clogs. You might add to those to the list things that should never have been flushed in the first place.
If you can see hair in the tub or shower drain cover or screen, you can likely pull it out yourself with your fingers or a pair of needle-nose pliers. If not, remove the stoppers from the slow drains, and hair will usually come out with them.
When it comes to a clogged toilet, use the plunger — the plumber’s friend — or an auger. Running hot water down a kitchen sink drain will usually melt grease, as well, as long as it hasn’t been building up for too long. If everything is at a standstill, though, or sewer water is backing up into the tub, tree roots could have found their way into your main sewer line. In that case, there should be a clean-out cap located outside your house that provides access to the sewer line.
The removal of tree roots from a sewer line is one of those jobs best left to the professionals. Not only do they have hi-tech equipment that can look inside your sewer line and find the problem, but they also have root cutters and backhoes to quickly expose buried lines. And, if roots have found their way in, a section of pipe usually needs to be replaced so the entrance route has been repaired. That’s not something that you want to mess with yourself.
Sudden Pressure and Temperature Drops
If your house suddenly experiences a drop in water pressure, your first task should be to call the water company. If they come out and determine that it is only your house, that could indicate that you have a leak somewhere.
Unfortunately, if you have a leak, it could be anywhere between your water meter and the inside of your house. A leak inside a wall or ceiling can cause enormous damage. But a leak in the yard? That may not be as bad. Your best bet? Go ahead and call the plumber, to be on the safe side.
If you have a loss of hot water, your water heater is likely the problem. This could be just a defective part, or the whole unit might need to be replaced. Water heaters can be electric or gas, so safety is a concern, as well as requiring a permit. Yep, you guessed it. Time for a plumber.
Not too excited about wading through whether or not your plumbing issue is one for a plumber to handle? Leave it to your home warranty experts. With an American Home Shield® Home Warranty, your covered plumbing woes can often be remedied with a simple phone call. Be Sure With the Shield.®