No matter how handy you are with home maintenance and improvement, you’re bound to need a plumber from time to time. While minor issues can often be handled on your own, there are a few sticky situations that are red flags. When these issues crop up, it’s time to throw in the towel and call the professionals. They will have the necessary experience and tools to fix the problem quickly and correctly.
Recurring Sewer Line Backup
If you find yourself constantly plunging the toilet, or if the water in your home is backing up into the sinks and bathtubs, you probably have a blockage in your sewer line. Minor blockages, the kind that occur when your toddler loads the toilet with paper and toothbrushes, will usually clear themselves within a short amount of time. A more persistent problem may be caused by tree limbs infiltrating the pipe, or other serious problems. Trying to clear these blockages on your own can damage the line and cost you more money in the end. A professional plumber will have the right tools to clear the blockage, and even replace the line, without causing additional damage.
Loss of Water Pressure
If you have low water pressure coming from only one sink or shower, the problem is probably localized, and you may know how to handle it yourself. When the water pressure throughout your whole house is low, that’s a different story. This type of problem can be caused by rust or debris build up in the lines that can be found anywhere from the meter, all the way to a faucet. Low water pressure can also be caused by a damaged supply line or problem with the city’s pressure. An experienced plumber will be needed to determine what the problem is and how to fix it.
When water freezes in a pipe, the ice expands and can damage the pipe. Thawing out a pipe can be tricky work, and is best left to a professional plumber. If you discover a frozen pipe, turn off the main water supply, and let a plumber do the rest. They may use a torch to heat the pipe, which is a fire hazard, especially in areas where the pipe is surrounded by old, dry wood. They may remove the frozen section of pipe altogether and replace it.
No Hot Water
If your hot water runs out and is not replenishing there’s a problem with the water heater, but it may be difficult to determine exactly what the problem is. The most obvious problem is a leak, which will leave a puddle of water around the water heater. Barring this telltale evidence, the problem could be caused by faulty wiring, a bad heating element, or a malfunctioning thermostat. Gas water heaters can have an ignition problem or a failing thermocouple burner. Call a plumber in to help you determine exactly where the trouble is. It would be a shame to replace a whole water heater over a tripped breaker.