Did you know that molds need only between 24 and 48 hours to produce spores and germinate? So long as there’s oxygen, organic matter to feed on, and water, they can spread like wildfire.
Although mold is everywhere, and we get exposed to it every single day, some people can’t tolerate it. In fact, one in 10 Americans is allergic to mold spores.
And you know what? Leaks in your home’s plumbing system may be feeding all those microorganisms.
This doesn’t mean you have to wait for molds to cover your home before you find yourself saying, “I need a plumber now!” There are many signs that can warn you of an impending plumbing disaster. Disasters like busted pipes and water backups that can result in mold development.
Ready to learn when to call a plumber to avert these expensive, even dangerous situations? Then be sure to keep reading to know which situations warrant the services of a pro!
A Huge and Sudden, Yet Unexplainable Spike in Your Water Bills
From 2010 to 2017, the price of water in the U.S. has climbed a whopping 54%. That’s a huge increase, with the largest being in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Back in 2017, the monthly water bill in the city averaged $154.
Now, this doesn’t mean that a sudden, massive spike in your water bill is already normal. Especially if there wasn’t any big change to your home, such as a renovation or visiting guests.
What’s more likely is that you have a leaking water line that you haven’t discovered yet. In any case, a higher-than-normal water bill is often the first sign you have plumbing problems. If you don’t see any of the signs listed here, then it’s best you hire a plumber right away.
The leaking pipe may be underground, inside the wall, or in an area you can’t access. The longer you delay hiring local plumbers, the worse the leak can get. This can even lead to indoor water damage, which is far more expensive than the cost of hiring a plumber.
Up to 200 gallons — that’s how much water a continuously-running toilet can waste in just one day. Within a year, that equates to about 73,000 gallons of water that went to complete waste.
For comparison, an average-sized swimming pool can hold about 18,000 to 20,000 gallons of water.
That means that all the water a single leaking toilet can waste in a year could fill three to four swimming pools!
As such, it’s vital you get that leak addressed ASAP. Although some leaky toilet issues have DIY fixes, they often involve replacing parts. These include the toilet bank ball, flush handle, tank stopper, flapper, or flapper seal.
Found yourself saying “You lost me at toilet tank ball”? In this case, your best bet is to contact a professional plumber for the job. This way, you don’t have to waste more water while studying toilet bowl parts.
Toilet Takes Forever to Flush (Again)
Another sure sign you need a plumber is if your toilet hasn’t been flushing properly for quite some time now. It takes a long time to flush, or worse, doesn’t even get rid of what it’s supposed to. This also goes true for toilets that have had this problem several times already.
One possible reason is a clogged plumbing vent, which reduces the velocity of the flush. This decreased velocity can then lead to larger “loads” not flushing away completely.
Another potential culprit is a blockage in the toilet trap. You know that S-shaped pipe behind the toilet bowl? That’s the trap, and it’s the part that separates the toilet from the drain line.
If a “non-flushable” item gets trapped in the trap, it won’t only cause the toilet to flush slowly. It can also result in the water backing up and out of the bowl. Aside from being disgusting, that water is also full of dangerous microorganisms.
Before that happens, pick up the phone and call your local plumber.
Pro Tip: Pro Tip: Stop flushing items, even those labeled “flushable”! These include flushable wet wipes and makeup removers.
While many of these products do break down into tiny particles, it doesn’t happen right away. That’s because they’re quite sturdier than regular tissue paper when submerged in water. As such, they can still combine with other wastes before they completely disintegrate.
If they do, then they’ll turn into one big clog that can get stuck in your plumbing pipes. The more debris that gets mixed in (like hair, tissue paper, and soap bits), the bigger the clog.
That’s why the Royal Society of Chemistry recommends not flushing “flushable” items.
Sinks Take Forever to Drain
Does water take a long time to disappear from your kitchen or bathroom sinks? Or worse, does the water remain stagnant in them, not disappearing at all?
If so, then that means you have clogged drain pipes. Food debris and solidified oil are common causes of clogged kitchen sink drains. In bathroom sinks, the most common culprits are hair and small chunks of soap.
Either way, if any of your sinks take a long time to drain, take that as a sign to call a plumber.
Gurgling or Bubbling Sound When Water Drains from Sinks
Weird, even foul smells usually accompany these odd sounds. They’re often a precursor to a sink that will take forever to drain. In this case, there’s only a partial blockage in the pipes.
That sound comes from the water trying to get past the clog. As the water tries to flow past the blockage, it forces air through the drain trap.
Whereas unpleasant odors may come from decaying organic matter, like food debris. These bad smells may arise from still wastewater sitting trapped in the drain line. Both are symptoms of a clog, so it’s best you get on the phone with a plumber ASAP.
A Leak in the Hot Water Tank
On average, tankless water heaters can last for up to two decades or more. Whereas storage water heaters have an average lifespan of between 10 and 15 years.
If your water heater tank is reaching the end of its service life, then its leaks likely have to do with its age. However, these leaks can also be due to loose drain valves or excessive pressure. Ill-maintained tanks can also develop leaks due to premature corrosion.
If you notice moisture or puddles of water under the tank, a leak (or several of them) is a possibility. If it’s only a loose valve, you can fix that by tightening the valve. If you can’t find the source of the leak though, call a plumber ASAP.
A leak in a water tank will only worsen over time. It may only be releasing a few drops of water now, but give it enough time, and that could turn into a flood.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure can take the form of a weak faucet supply or inadequate shower spray strength. A bathtub that takes a long time to fill also signals low water pressure. A washing machine that takes forever to complete a cycle may also signal low water pressure.
In some cases, this can happen if the main shutoff valve was accidentally closed. As such, the first thing you should do is to check these valves and ensure they’re completely open.
If they are but you still have low pressure, that can be a sign of a bigger issue, such as a faulty pressure regulator. Mineral deposits can also cause clogging in the water supply line.
In these cases, a professional plumber is your best choice.
No Hot Water Throughout the House
If there’s only one faucet or shower that doesn’t produce hot water, the problem may lie in that fixture. If you’re not getting hot water in all parts of your home, that may signal a faulty water heater system.
The most common reason for this is a failed heating element inside the heater. Replacement for this part is almost always the solution. Luckily, it’s a pretty simple and quick job that your local plumber can do in no time at all.
A malfunctioning thermostat may also be the reason for your lack of hot water. Again, this usually calls for a replacement.
Busted Pipes or Water Backs Up from Sinks, Toilets, or Drains
Call a plumber right away if you have a busted pipe. The same goes true if water starts backing up and overflowing out of a sink or toilet.
These are issues that need emergency plumbing repairs. Otherwise, the water will keep getting deeper. This can then lead to massive water damage.
Note that water damage from faulty plumbing is very real and very expensive. In fact, in 2017, one in every five homeowners’ insurance claims was for water damage and freezing. What’s more, these damages caused losses averaging $10,234!
Pick Up the Phone as Soon as You Utter the Words “I Need a Plumber Now”
There you have it, all the signs pointing out the need for a professional plumber. As soon as you notice them, ring up your local plumber and tell them “I need a plumber now!” Especially if you have an emergency situation, such as a busted pipe or a water backup.
The closer the plumber is to your home, the sooner the pro can get to your house. This can then minimize potential damages. Also, the sooner you get those leaks fixed, the sooner you can see your water bill go back to normal.
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