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The Most Frightening Plumbing Emergencies People Face

Plumbing emergencies are scary at any time, but the spooky season can make even the most common plumbing issues feel extra scary. In many cases, simple maintenance and awareness can help homeowners prevent these issues and avoid extensive repair costs. Read on to learn more about the most horrifying plumbing disasters to haunt homeowners and tips for how to handle them.

What Causes a Pipe To Burst?

As temperatures start to drop, the risk of a frozen or burst pipe is on the rise. However, a number of factors can cause leaky pipes, including rust, physical damage, or improper installation. 

The first sign of a burst pipe is a sharp decrease in water pressure in the faucets and showers. A drop in pressure can also contribute to clogged sinks and toilets. If homeowners are still getting a trickle of water from a faucet, there’s a good chance the pipe has a leak, but if no water comes out, the pipe has probably burst. However, even small leaks can cause major structural damage if left untreated; the affected area will need to be drained and dried out properly before it destroys the flooring, drywall, and personal belongings. 

Why Is the Toilet or Sink Overflowing?

A backed-up toilet can have a few main causes. While a clogged drain is the most common, it’s not always the culprit; a blocked vent pipe or an improperly adjusted float could also be to blame. If a blocked or clogged toilet can’t be treated with a standard plunger, it may be time to call in an emergency plumber. Never use a home snaking chemical such as Drain-O in the toilet, as they are not designed for this type of plumbing system and can quickly create new problems. 

Say the toilet is flowing from the tank instead of the bowl. In this case, the filler float is likely too high, but it can be adjusted via a mechanism inside the tank. If toilet overflow is a regular problem, it’s likely caused by a blocked vent pipe preventing air from flowing properly in the system. The good news is that an experienced plumber can remedy this recurring nightmare. 

On the other hand, an overflowing sink is almost always a sign of a blockage somewhere in the plumbing system. Water can’t flow through the pipes as it should, so it’s coming back up through the drain from the bathtub, washing machine, or even the toilet. Try noting which water fixture has been running most recently before the water backs up, and it may be possible to narrow down the culprit. Once isolated, try to clear the blockage by plunging the toilet or sink. If that doesn’t work, a plumber can provide a more specific diagnosis. 

Preventing Sump Pump Failure

Any type of leak is a scary situation, whether it’s from a burst pipe or a backed-up toilet or drain, but a sump pump failure may be the scariest plumbing disaster of all. If the sump pump fails, a home could quickly become flooded in the event of a severe storm, leading to foundation damage or even mold growth - a scary situation indeed. 

Sump pumps are designed to last only about ten years, so it’s critical to keep maintained and functioning smoothly. If it is nearing the decade mark, it may be time to replace. A qualified plumber can help explain all options and ensure it’s installed properly. 

About Polestar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning

Polestar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning are Merriam and Kansas City’s premier emergency plumbing service, providing a fast response, customer education, and award-winning workmanship. They offer customers the peace of mind of a monthly maintenance plan so customers can rest assured that their plumbing, heating, and air conditioning services are always functioning their best.