Having clean, flowing water at our disposal is something most of us take for granted. Unfortunately, plumbing crises can strike at any time, and they’re often unwelcome surprises.

While some plumbing issues may require immediate attention, others can wait. This week’s Keepe maintenance tip explains how to identify which problems are truly emergencies and save yourself additional call out fees.

Burst Pipes

A burst pipe can be an Emergency Plumbing in Seattle WA situation. It can cause flooding and water damage to your home or building. It can also ruin your possessions. Many things can cause pipes to burst. They include:

It’s best to prevent a pipe from bursting in the first place. Preventative maintenance and regular inspections can catch problems before they get out of hand.

If you do discover a pipe has burst, the first thing to do is shut off your water. You can usually find the shut-off valve at your house’s water meter or where the main line enters your home. You should also turn off electricity to the area. This is important as standing water can carry electrical hazards.

For a temporary fix, you can wrap the damaged pipe with electrical or duct tape. This will keep the water from leaking and should give you enough time to call an emergency plumber. For a permanent solution, you will need to replace the burst pipe.

Frozen Pipes

Pipes exposed to cold temperatures like outdoor hose bibs, water supply lines in unheated areas such as attics or garages, and pipes that run against exterior walls can freeze when the temperature drops. A frozen pipe that ruptures can cause costly water damage to your home or business.

It’s a myth that leaving a faucet on at a trickle helps prevent freezing, because pipes can still freeze even when the water is flowing. The most effective prevention method is to insulate any exposed pipes and use caulking to seal leaks around water supply pipes and other areas where cold air could enter your home.

If you discover a frozen pipe, shut off your home’s main water valve and call a plumber immediately. You can also try thawing the pipe yourself by applying heat with a hair dryer, heating pad or space heater. Never use a blowtorch or other device with an open flame to thaw pipes; this is a fire hazard.

Sewer Backups

Sewer backups are not just disgusting; they’re also a health hazard and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Luckily, they’re fairly easy to prevent. Homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of their sewer lateral, which runs from the city sanitary sewer line to the house. If this line becomes clogged or breaks due to tree roots, shifting soil, or normal material deterioration, sewage will back up into the home.

Some homeowners don’t even know they have a problem until it’s too late, such as when they go on vacation and return to find their basement full of sewage. The best way to avoid this is to have your drains regularly cleaned. A plumber can scope and clean out your drains to remove any obstructions that may be causing a backup. They can also install a backwater valve to prevent sewage from coming back into your home in the event of severe flooding. In addition, many homeowners can get insurance coverage for sewage backups at a relatively low cost.

Water Leaks

Water is one of the most vital things to our everyday lives. We use it for showers, cooking, washing clothes, and more. But, sometimes plumbing issues arise that need to be fixed right away. This is why it’s important to have a plumber in your contacts list.

Sometimes a pipe might burst or start to leak, which is an Emergency Plumbing in Seattle WA situation. These situations can cause flooding in your house, and also lead to mold problems. But, if you know where your home’s water shut-off valve is located, you can cut off the water supply before it gets too bad.

You can also help reduce damage by using towels and mops to absorb excess water, placing buckets beneath leaks, and noting the location of the issue so that the plumbers can find it quickly. Keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be better prepared for when a plumbing problem occurs!