Life sometimes throws homeowners “curveballs” in the form of plumbing emergencies. Often these can happen at the worst time, like during a party or holiday gathering.
While there are Dallas plumbers that specialize in 24/7 service, this after-hours availability comes at a price. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that they can avoid hiring an “emergency plumber” altogether with a little know-how about their home’s plumbing.
When is it a Plumbing Emergency?
The following scenarios could all be considered plumbing emergencies, yet there are often ways for homeowners to act quickly and protect their house from damage by containing the issue until a plumber can come out during normal business hours. For the majority of these situations, the immediate call of an emergency plumber may not be necessary.
Most houses have two kinds of water lines: incoming, which deliver clean water wherever it’s needed, and outgoing, which carry dirty water to the sewer system. When a sewer line is clogged or blocked, it can’t drain, and this creates a stoppage. If you keep putting water down the drain, it will either back up at that fixture or at another fixture that shares the same drain line under the house.
Mitigation: If your fixture is backing up, don’t continue to use it! Shut off the water to that fixture. Check out this article and this YouTube video with more information about your shut off valves. If the main sewer pipe to the home is clogged, then anything used inside the house will cause the water to back up. If you know where your main sewer line cleanout is outside the home, you can open the cap and the backed up water will come out there instead of inside the house. These tips may keep you going until a plumber can come out during normal business hours.
No Water Flow
If a single sink or faucet in your home is out of commission, the situation is annoying. If none of the sinks or faucets in your home are working and you’re not sure why, then it can be a serious problem.
Mitigation: Often, a lack of water pressure to the whole home is caused by a failed/clogged water filter/softener system or a bad Pressure Reducing Valve. Many times, the outdoor faucets are connected to the main water line before it basses through either of these. So go check all of your outdoor hose faucets. If one of them produces water, this can get you by until a plumber can come out. By filling a bucket up with water and dumping it into the toilet bowl, you can manually flush the toilets in your home too.
Burst Pipe Water Leak
Pipe breaks are most commonly caused by trapped water freezing and then expanding inside of a pipe during the winter months. However, it can also happen year-round as a result of natural decay or physical damage (e.g., being struck by a nail), etc… If one of the incoming water supply pipes is compromised in this way, it can leak catastrophically and cause significant water damage.
Mitigation: If the water is shut off to the home, the urgency of this problem drops dramatically. If you have a good shut off valve for the whole home, you can shut that off as soon as possible to stop water damage. If you do not have a reliable or accessible whole-home shut off valve, you can also shut the water off at the water meter following these instructions. If all else fails, you can call the city utilities emergency line or the fire department. They have the ability to come out and shut the water off to the entire property until a plumber can be contacted for a proper repair.
Gas Leaks And Smells
Plumbers in Texas are licensed and trained to repair and fix gas leaks for homeowners. If you have evidence of an sudden and significant gas leak, your first action isn’t to call an emergency plumber. Instead, leave the home immediately, call 911, then call your gas utility provider when outside to shut off the natural gas supply. After this step, you can schedule an appointment for a gas leak inspection and repair with a plumber.
Mitigation: Once the gas company comes out, they will confirm whether you have a gas leak or not and whether it is on their piping or on your home’s piping. If there is an actual gas leak, they will shut the gas off to the home until it has been fixed by a licensed plumber and inspected by a city inspector.
Why Hiring an Emergency Plumber is a Mistake
Plumbing companies in North Dallas that handle 24/7 emergency calls often aren’t sending a master plumber out onto the job. The most recent hire with the least amount of experience is often who gets stuck with the midnight shift. If you are considering calling a plumber at 2 am, think about who will respond.
Moreover, Legacy Plumbing has been hired many times to fix past repairs of other plumbers. Few people can perform their best work at 3 am, mistakes are more likely to happen by hiring an emergency plumber.
If you think you will be able to pay a standard rate for emergency plumbing repairs, think again! Most plumbing companies charge extra on top of hourly rates. You may be surprised at the final bill.
Emergency plumbers are often incentivized on one outcome, eliminating your plumbing emergency as soon as possible. Getting to the cause of the problem is often out of scope. A bandaid plumbing repair is often what you pay for by hiring an emergency plumber.
Most homeowners would benefit from a comprehensive inspection of the problem to avoid emergency leaks and problems in the future.
A professional plumber can help you find a permanent solution to a plumbing emergency, instead of simply offering a temporary fix.
Just because your wife or husband is bugging you about that leaky faucet doesn’t make it an emergency. Check the list above, but understand that most plumbing emergencies can be solved by shutting off the water. Once that is accomplished, a plumber can be hired to more reasonably respond first thing in the morning vs at midnight.
DIY a Home’s Plumbing Emergency
One of the best ways to hit the breaks on a plumbing disaster is by cutting the water supply at the source. Locate your shut-off valve and make sure that it can be easily and safely accessed in a pinch. Shut-off valves are usually located near your home’s water meter, but we created an entire guide on how and where to locate. Check this area periodically to ensure easy access and make sure there is nothing in the way that would make reaching the valve difficult when you’re in a hurry. Older homes may need a shut off valve replaced
If your shower’s hot water knob is stuck on, toilet is running or kitchen sink is spraying; it’s fastest to go straight to the source. Freestanding fixtures usually have valves located towards their base that are quick and easy to locate. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all the other cut-off valves located throughout your home. In the instance that a shut-off valve is buried within your home’s walls, you’ll need to use the main shut-off valve. Once you have located all the extra valves, make sure they are loose enough to open by hand. Since these valves aren’t used often, you may need to loosen the valve with a wrench. Apply a spray lubricant on sticking or hard-to-open valves to ensure that they can be closed with ease in an emergency situation.
Clogged toilets are a common occurrence that sends water rising to your toilet bowl’s rim. Waiting for an emergency plumber will take too long anyway.
Hold the panic and act quickly to stop rising water and prevent a messy overflow situation. Following previous instructions, you will have already located and made accessible both your toilet’s shut-off valve as well as the main water line valve. You’ll need to think fast and attempt to shut off the toilet’s valve immediately. If the toilet’s cut-off valve is inaccessible or you are unable to close it, open the tank and lift the float ball. This should cut the water flow to the bowl. Send someone to cut your main shut-off valve, stopping water flow to the bowl. Once the water is off, you can check the toilet tank to ensure the rubber flapper is not propped open. If it is, return it to the closed position.
LEGACY Plumbing TO THE RESCUE
At Legacy Plumbing, we pride ourselves on providing fast, convenient assistance for clients in Frisco to McKinney. So much so that, in many cases, we offer same (business) day services during emergencies in our service area. Give us a call early in the morning, and we’ll dispatch one of our technicians ASAP—often as early as that afternoon. And any service calls received outside of our normal hours of operation will be returned first-thing the next business day.
The next time you find yourself in hot water (or with no hot water at all!), give Legacy Plumbing a call at (972) 801-9798! We offer reliable, quality plumbing services throughout the North Dallas and Denton areas!