When You Can’t DIY: 5 Reasons to Call the Plumber Instead



There are times when even the most experienced do-it-yourselfer must throw in the towel and enlist the help of an expert. Rather than hang your head low because you couldn’t fix a problem on your own, relish in what you’ll learn while you observe the professional work in his or her element. Plumbing is one home system that is oftentimes best left to a tradesperson, especially if you’re facing any of these five problems. If you are, take the recommended steps to prevent further damage and then enlist help.


1. Broken Pipes


Ask any emergency plumbing service and they’ll tell you one of the most common reasons people call them in a panic is because they have a burst pipe. If this happens to you, first, shut off the water to your house at the main shutoff valve. Next, drain the standing water in your pipes by turning on your cold-water taps until they stop flowing. Finally, call for a plumber unless you can see which pipe burst and know how to repair it. Generally, however, the burst pipes are underground or in the wall.


2. Frozen Pipes


Frozen pipes cause the first problem, so it’s important to keep your house warm in the winter even if you are going to be out of town. As water freezes inside a pipe, it expands it, which is why the pipe will eventually burst. You can mitigate this problem some, but you must be careful, as a bursting pipe is dangerous. Don’t attempt to thaw the pipes with an open flame. Rather, slowly release the ice using hot water bottles, and avoid the issue altogether by insulating your pipes properly.


3. Plumbing Leaks


You have plumbing fixtures that are leaking, the good news you don’t have to cut the water to the entire house. Rather, close the water supply to the fixture at the base of it and then see if you can isolate why the fixture is leaking. Faucets leak when they need new washers, for example, and your toilet tank may be leaking due to rust or a faulty valve. If you can isolate the problem, head to the hardware store. If the leak is severe or you cannot determine the issue, call for an emergency plumber.


4. Blockages


Clogged drains and blocked toilets and water lines are oftentimes a professional problem. Many times, fixing the issue requires a camera to find the blockage and a plumber’s snake to unclog it. If you don’t know how to use a plumber’s snake properly, you can damage, even break, your pipes. In severe cases, the plumber may need to take the pipes apart to release the stoppage. Try plunging the clog first, and if that doesn’t work, call for expert help.


5. Water Heater


Finally, it doesn’t matter the style of water heater you have – tank or tankless – this is a complex piece of machinery that everyone in your family loves yet never thinks about; that is, until it fails. A cold shower and no hot water for your dishes and laundry is a true emergency, just ask your teenage daughter who needs to clean up before her date. Any number of issues could cause your water heater to fail, including the pilot light, gas or electric supply, or age.


This is definitely a “call for help” plumbing emergency. A professional technician will inspect your heater to isolate the problem, which may save you money in the end. The plumber may be able to replace a faulty part so you don’t have to replace the entire unit. If the unit is old, however, say in its teens, or if it’s leaking, plan to make an investment in a new one. The good news is the newer ones are energy efficient, so you’ll recoup your costs in lower utility bills.

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