What causes plumbing emergencies? Here are three of the most common causes – and what to do when your family is faced with one.
Leaving the Water Running
When most people notice a leak in their pipes, their first instinct is usually to plug the leak itself. Even if your next move was going to be calling for professional help, you’ve made a misstep if you haven’t first cut off the water supply to the area that is leaking. You can block off an area of the home’s water supply, or simply cut the water off at the main located near your water meter. This will prevent any further damage from leaks and allow your plumber time to arrive and assess the situation for repairs.
Flushing Things that Shouldn’t Be Flushed
It’s an unfortunate fact that people tend to ignore the rules set forth by both their plumbers and their toilet manufacturers when it comes to what will and will not successfully flush. While there is anecdotal evidence of almost everything that can fit down a toilet being flushable, that doesn’t mean you should flush anything other than bodily waste and toilet tissue. Here are just a few things that people flush when they shouldn’t:
Wet wipes, baby wipes, or even “flushable” wipes, which are often not actually septic safe.
Menstrual and sanitary products Pads liners and tampons are not septic safe, used or not.
Diapers, condoms, and cotton swabs, balls, or pads. Just because bodily fluid or waste is on the product doesn’t mean it’s flushable.
Pet waste or cat litter. Toilets don’t provide enough water during flushing to properly move pet waste and litter along, so the dehydrated waste simply clogs up pipes.
Hair or dental floss. These form net-like structures that can lead to clogged pipes.
Cigarette butts. Adding cigarettes or other tobacco products to the septic system adds toxic chemicals to your water, which can taint water in the surrounding area, as well.
Medications of any kind. Water doesn’t properly break down all the material in medications, so these drugs and chemicals can linger in the local water supply.
Food or gum. Food products that have not been broken down by the body may not be broken down properly by the septic system, either.
Flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed is one of the most common reasons for calling an emergency plumber. To avoid septic situations, only flush what you’re supposed to and throw the rest in a waste basket near the toilet.
Going the DIY Route when You Don’t Know the Way
Like trying to navigate without a map or any familiarity with the area, trying to take care of your own plumbing emergencies can be difficult – or even disastrous. If you aren’t an experienced plumber yourself, you aren’t likely prepared to handle or capable of handling these kinds of situations. Whether it’s tools you don’t have on hand or knowledge you just don’t have at your disposal, some situations are just beyond your ability – and that’s okay!
When faced with a professional-level plumbing emergency, call a certified emergency plumber. Contacting a professional plumber will give you the results your family needs right away – and the peace of mind that the job is getting done right!
Related Read: When do I need to call an emergency plumber?