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Test Your Knowledge of These Common Plumbing Emergencies

Plumbing emergencies are the last thing homeowners want to deal with - or even think about. After all, they can be a tremendously unpleasant and stressful experience. Taking preventative measures like routine drain cleaning, inspections, and general upkeep certainly helps prevent most issues and ease the mind, but it also pays to be prepared for anything. And the first step in being prepared is being informed. 

With that in mind, this article will outline the top three most common plumbing emergencies, the dangers they present, and how best to handle them.

Toilet Overflowtoilet

Few plumbing mishaps are as unpleasant as an overflowing toilet. Though it’s perhaps the least severe issue on this list, the water damage can be extensive - and it’s never good to have wastewater splashing around on the bathroom floor. 

Toilet overflows are most often caused by a clog in the curved portion of pipe just below or behind the toilet bowl (called a P-trap or S-trap), usually from too much toilet paper or unflushable items being flushed. But they can also be caused by a clog further down in the drain line or a blocked vent pipe (which helps regulate air pressure in the drainage system).

If a toilet is overflowing, homeowners should immediately turn off the supply valve, which is almost always located on the wall near the toilet. Then, if a plunger won’t resolve the issue, a professional plumber can unclog the drain using a special toilet auger (aka plumber’s snake) designed not to scratch the toilet’s visible porcelain.

Sewage System Backup 

Next up are sewage backups, in which raw sewage starts bubbling up through the home’s drains. These make toilet overflows look like a walk in the park. They are extremely unpleasant and very dangerous - sewage can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxic gases. Any exposure to sewage can potentially lead to infections or severe illness.

Sewage backups are often caused by a clog or rupture in the home’s main sewer line or septic line (grease, unflushable materials, and tree roots are common culprits). They can also be caused by a damaged city sewer main or an overflowing or water-logged septic system.

In the event of a sewage backup, homeowners should avoid the affected areas, making sure to leave windows open for ventilation, and call their trusted plumber. A pro can safely identify and fix the underlying cause, then clean and disinfect the affected areas.

Burst Water Pipepipe

A burst pipe may not always be as nasty and unsanitary as the first two emergencies, but it can still be hugely destructive and extremely dangerous. Any water leak in the house presents a risk of electric shock, but a burst pipe can also compromise the structural integrity of floors and walls. Even in the aftermath, the excess moisture can facilitate harmful mold growth.

Pipes can burst for several reasons. The most common of which are overly high water pressure, excessive vibration, corrosion, mineral scale buildup, shifting soil (in underground pipes), and freezing (not a common issue in Florida, fortunately).

If a pipe bursts, homeowners should immediately turn off the home’s main shutoff valve, usually located where the water main enters the house or in an underground service box in the front yard. Once the water is off, it’s time to let a pro repair the leak and determine the root cause to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

About Shamrock Plumbing & Drain Cleaning Inc

Shamrock Plumbing & Drain Cleaning Inc is an award-winning and highly-rated business dedicated to safety, honesty, and unbeatable customer service. They offer up-front, competitive pricing and free estimates on select services. Shamrock’s courteous, expert technicians are available 24/7, so call any time for emergency plumbing services in Orlando, FL!

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