Your stomach drops as soon as you hear it. It's not loud and it's not consistent, but that pitter-patter coming from the kitchen faucet at midnight can only mean one thing: You've got a leak.
On rare occasion, resolving a plumbing issue requires nothing more than a five-minute tune-up. In most cases, however, you'll need to call in a plumber.
Why? Trying to fix the problem yourself might only exacerbate it further. What starts out as a tiny trickle of water underneath your bathroom sink could quickly escalate to a Niagara Falls-level catastrophe if you don't know what you're doing.
Thankfully, there are experts who do. Today, we're delving into 10 telltale signs that it's time to put the wrench back in your tool belt, pick up the phone and call in a professional.
Ready to learn more? Let's get started.
Why a DIY Fix Isn't Feasible
There are some things in life we can guess our way through, but plumbing isn't one of them. Unless you're trained in the most recent coding standards and have years of hands-on experience, you'll likely be guessing at the diagnosis and solution at best.
Not only could this make matters more difficult for you down the road, it could also present a safety risk. From heights to hand tools, there are myriad safety concerns to keep in mind when you're in the middle of a plumbing job. The middle of the night isn't the ideal time to be fumbling around in the dark for your flashlight and screwdriver.
To this end, it's wisest to call your local plumber right away. By going this route, you can rest assured that a solution is on its way.
Signs You Need to Call a Plumber Now
When homeowners are in the middle of a plumbing emergency, it can be difficult to think clearly. There's water everywhere and it shows no sign of slowing down. That's why it can be helpful to keep this list handy, so you always know the top 10 warning signs that signal it's time to make that phone call.
Here are 10 signs you need the help of your local plumbing experts.
1. Your Sink is Slow to Drain
When you're taking a shower, does it feel like you're wading in a kiddie pool? Does the water in your kitchen sink fill up to your elbows while you're washing dishes? If so, you may have a drainage issue.
While there can be many culprits, the crux of the matter is that something is clogging up your plumbing. From children's toys to food waste and even small rodents, anything could be stuck in your pipes and you won't know just by looking down your dark drain.
A plumber, on the other hand, can use a special tool called an auger to dislodge any troublesome clogs. This is a long and flexible instrument, also called a drain snake, that's 10 times more effective than that old wire coat hanger you've been trying. Rather than spend time trying to chip away at it and potentially wreck the inside of your pipes in the process, go ahead and make the call.
2. Your Water Pressure is Non-Existent
Do you have to spend 20 minutes in the shower just to wash the shampoo out of your hair? Poor water pressure is often to blame.
If you feel as though you stand there for ages and still never really get clean, you're not only wasting valuable time but you could see a hike in your water bill, as well.
When this is the case, there is most likely a small clog in the faucet's aerator. This is preventing water from fully flowing out of it, even when you turn the handle to full capacity. Simple enough, right? Just use something small and sharp to poke through the aerator's many tiny holes. Eventually, the blockage will come loose and all will be resolved!
Stop right there. If you try that, you could wind up causing even more damage to the inside of the faucet and even spring a leak if you go poking around. Instead, call your plumber, who can fix the problem quickly and efficiently.
3. You've Got a Serious Back-flow Issue
Chances are, you spent at least a little bit of money on your floor furnishings. Whether you have carpets, rugs, expensive hardwoods or all three, you've put time and investment into keeping the underfoot area of your home clean and functional.
That's why, when you see disgusting back-flow water springing from your sink and onto the bathroom tile, your heart sinks a little. The truth is, once water enters your sink and goes down the drain, it enters into a plumbing system that definitely doesn't smell like a rose garden.
So, you don't want any of that liquid coming back up the drain and catching you off guard, especially when it's sewer water we're talking about.
Though it's icky to deal with, back-flow has a relatively simple root cause. When the water pressure in your home drops for any reason, it can trigger the water to reverse its natural downward flow. Your plumber can close your main water valve down and tackle the problem head-on.
4. Water is Gurgling Up
If your toilet starts gurgling as soon as you start to take a shower, you know instantly that something is wrong, but you may not be able to pinpoint exactly what it is. When your drain is clogged and water gets trapped in the faucet, you'll need the help of a professional, stat.
Why? In essence, the gurgling is your draining system looking for air. The harder it has to work, the greater the likelihood of the water spilling out into your home. It's best to cut the water off and call in a plumber before the issue gets any worse.
5. There is No Water Available
There's arguably nothing more disheartening than going to turn on the faucet at your kitchen sink and being surprised to find nothing comes out. No, you probably didn't forget to pay your water bill. Rather, there is a more serious plumbing issue at bay.
There are various reasons why water isn't being delivered to your home. There could be an undiscovered blockage somewhere or even a leak. It would be simple enough to tell if all of your plumbing was exposed and you could pinpoint the issue that way.
However, most of your plumbing is concealed behind your walls or under your home. That said, you won't be able to tell where to look just by guessing. A plumber, however, can help find the source of the issue using diagnostic tools and work to quickly correct it.
6. Water Comes Out But Doesn't Get Hot
Longing for a hot shower, only to discover that a stone cold one is the only thing on the menu at your house? Temperatures are dipping outside and now is the season when warm water is most needed. From cooking and bathing to doing the laundry, it's a daily convenience and we only realize its importance when we don't have it.
Most of the time, a failed water heater is the cause when you've lost hot water. Your system may be totally shot or it might just require a little maintenance. Either way, it's best to bring in a plumber as well as an HVAC technician to diagnose the issue and inform you about your next steps.
These systems can have electrical and gas components that should be left to a professional to mitigate risk to your body and home.
7. Your Pipes Have Burst
Especially in winter months, pipes can burst when the water inside the line freezes. This can lead to significant water damage if not responded to immediately.
You may not be able to easily find which pipes are affected, but your local plumbers can. They'll be able to see if the pipe burst behind your wall, in your yard nearby or under your property's foundation. This expertise can jumpstart abatement and help save your home from costly and unsightly flooding. Your plumber can even stop a leak before it happens if he or she notices a bulging pipe that's under abnormal pressure.
Conversely, if you were to take the time to search for the leak yourself, the time wasted in the process could heighten the issue, even if the water is turned off at the main valve.
8. You're Installing New Appliances
Are you remodeling your kitchen or bathroom? What about building a new property?
In either case, if you intend to install major appliances, such as a refrigerator, washing machine, new sink or dishwasher into a space, it's unwise to go the DIY route. Though you might be trying to cut corners or save a little bit of money during this costly process, it's in your best interest to invest in professional plumbing services at this time.
Why? The installation process is more complicated and complex than you might think.
The various components are combined into your home's overall plumbing system, including drains and supply lines. To ensure they work effectively, the labor should be left in the hands of trained plumbers who can hook everything up seamlessly. This way, when it's time to use them, you'll be confident they're in top working order.
9. Your Toilet Won't Stop Running
You flushed the toilet hours ago. So, why is it still running? This is one of those issues that can creep up on you and even go unnoticed for a while, as it doesn't create a ton of noise.
Yet, a running toilet signals that something more serious is at play within your plumbing system. If water is constantly filling up in the tank, your water bill will also rise along with it.
There is a seal that connects your toilet tank to its bowl. When this seal is damaged in any way, water is allowed to leak in, which signals the tank to keep refilling over and over again. That accounts for the running noise you're hearing from down the hall. Your plumber can remediate this problem and give you the silence and peace of mind you need.
10. Your Basement is Soggy
Have you started to dread going downstairs every time a big rain comes through? If your basement stays damp, don't dismiss it and don't assume it's the weather. Though faulty insulation and weatherproofing could be at play, leaking pipes could also be a major cause.
Your plumber will be able to spot where the leak originates, which can help you eliminate rainwater or other concerns as a possible cause.
Keep mind that addressing this issue immediately is a top concern, as bacteria love to grow in a moist environment. That means the water at your feet isn't your only worry. Mold is as well and can cause a host of respiratory health issues for you and your family.
Find The Plumbing Solutions You Need Today
When you're in the thick of a plumbing emergency, there are a million things running through your mind. Trying to figure out who to call for help shouldn't be one of them.
That's where we come in. We offer a comprehensive list of plumbing services and our live customer representatives are available to help on a 24/7 basis.
Whether you have a current plumbing concern you want to chat about or just want to learn more about what we provide for the next time you need repair or maintenance work, get in touch today.