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When to Call an Emergency Plumber

Are you wondering if you need a plumber right away or if the problem can wait a little while longer? This is a common question for homeowners to have. After all, what if something seems like a minor issue, but it turns into a real mess that’s twice as expensive to fix? Not to worry—these are some times when you can be sure it’s critical to call a plumbing expert without delay.

A Burst Pipe

If a pipe has burst in your home, stop reading and contact an emergency plumber immediately. Depending on the situation, it doesn’t take very long for gallons and gallons of water to flood your home. Water can cause damage to furniture, flooring, cabinets, and even your home’s insulation and wood framing. If you know how to shut the water off, do that first. Otherwise, give us a call at Palo Alto Plumbing, and move your valuables and electronics to a safe area.

Sewage Backup

It goes without saying that sewage is a health hazard. If you have a backup, talk to an emergency plumber right away. A backup in the sewer line can be caused by things like invasive tree roots, a break in the pipe, or some kind of blockage. A sewage backup is inconvenient but it can also be dangerous. Raw sewage emits fumes and can spread pathogens.

Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet can also be an emergency. If you can’t easily resolve  the issue on your own, talk to a plumber as soon as possible. The water is contaminated with bacteria, making it a health risk. If you aren’t sure of the underlying reason for the problem, a plumbing expert can help you sort it out.

You’re Without Water

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If you suddenly find yourself without running water, this is cause for concern. It impacts your ability to cook, clean, or even use the bathroom. These days, most of us don’t rely on the tap for drinking water, but a lack of running water is still an emergency plumbing problem. Talk to an expert about resolving the issue.

Flood Risks

A variety of plumbing problems can pose a flood risk. Call a professional right away to prevent the need for costly repair work to your home. Water damage can also lead to other issues. For example, mold growth. This can become a real issue in and of itself because mold can be a major health hazard. A burst pipe or a failed sump pump can lead to flooding, as well as a water valve that fails to shut off.

Clogged Drains

Only a plumber will be able to tell you if there’s a hidden reason for your clogged drain. If a drain keeps getting clogged, you likely have a bigger problem on your hands than you realize. This is especially true if there’s something stopping up more than one drain in your home. Don’t risk rising water. Give a pro a call to make sure you don’t have a sewer problem.

Water Heater Failure

Another common plumbing emergency is when your water heater gives up the ghost. Discolored water is one clue, but the most obvious sign your water heater has failed is a freezing cold shower in the morning. Another thing you might notice is that your water has taken on a strange smell. Be sure to call a local plumbing service to take a look at your water heater. You don’t want to put this off because a faulty water heater can actually have hidden leaks. The last thing you want to do is spend hours mopping up all the water from its tank.

Leaky Faucets

You might not think about it, but old hardware can cause leaks too. Even if that isn’t the case, a dripping sink, shower, or toilet can really add to your monthly water bill costs, especially in the long run. Standing water is also an unpleasant mess to clean up. It often smells bad and can cause both mold and rust. Additionally, pests are drawn to water too.

DIY Plumbing Mishaps

DIY plumbing can also lead to some costly mistakes. Some of them require emergency plumbing services. Here’s a list of the most common DIY plumbing mishaps…

Forgetting to Turn Off the Water

One of the most common mistakes we see when it comes to home plumbing projects is that people often forget to turn off the water before they start taking things apart. Forgetting to turn off the water will most likely lead to water spraying from the loosened connection. What’s worse is that  you probably won’t be able to stop the flooding by putting things back together until you turn the water off at the source. If you don’t know how to shut the water off, it’s hard to think clearly when you’re in a panic and water is pouring into your home.

Too Much Drain Cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners can actually do more harm than good, especially if you use them on a regular basis to deal with clogged drains. For one thing, they’re hard on your pipes. Their toxic fumes can also be a hazard to your health.

Incorrect Toilet Placement

An incorrect toilet placement is another issue we regularly see. While this might seem like a simple project you can handle on your own, it still requires specialized knowledge. Often, the new toilet doesn’t quite fit right, or the replacement bowl is the wrong shape. This can come down to incorrect measurements. For example, older homes have a different standard than more modern designs, so this is something to be aware of.

Talk to an Emergency Plumber

Here at Palo Alto Plumbing, our licensed plumbers can solve anything from a drippy faucet to a cracked sewer pipe. Our detail-oriented and knowledgeable plumbers can ensure your household’s health and safety by providing quality services. Contact us at 650-405-1460 or fill out a contact form on our website to chat with one of our representatives about all of your plumbing needs!

Common Causes for a Home Water Leak

Water leaks – the bane of any homeowners existence. It’s not only irritating – the drip drip sound is enough to drive anyone crazy – it’s also wasteful. A leaking faucet can waste gallons of water per day. In fact, a water leak that presents as a leaking faucet can waste up to 350 gallons of water per year. No matter where you live, this is bad news. You might feel the impulse to ignore a water leak. After all, a tiny leak is easy to ignore. However, water leaks do not go away on their own. If left unchecked, they can lead to further damage. There are many types of leaks and some are hard to identify. Read on to learn more about leaks and their causes.

Supply Line Leaks

Supply line leaks are not the same as faucet leaks. In the case of a supply line leak, the actual water supply line that supplies water to your home is compromised. The supply pipe is usually outside of the house, often buried underground. The supply line is connected to the water meter. If you notice that there is water in the water meter, this could be a sign that you have a supply line leak. Another sign of a supply line leak is if there’s water in the ground above where the line is buried. In this case, the leak is likely severe. If you have a supply line leak, do not attempt to fix this yourself. Call in a professional.

If your water pressure is too high, this can put wear and tear on your pipes. Wear and tear can lead to leaks in the supply line, which can get worse if left neglected. A professional can identify the location of the leak and reinforce the area that’s weak. They can also strengthen or replace other areas of pipe that look like they are close to leaking in order to prevent supply line leaks in the future.

Toilet Leaks

Toilet leaks are some of the most common kinds of leaks in the home. They are also among the hardest to identify because they are generally silent. They don’t create the noise that leaks from a faucet can create. Because the leak is going directly into another body of water, these leaks can be hard to see and hear. The best way to identify a leak in your toilet is to listen for a sound coming from the valve in the toilet. If the valve makes a sound while the toilet is not being used, this is an indication of a possible leak.

One way to discern whether there’s a leak in your toilet is to deposit dye tabs into the water in the tank. If the colored water begins to show up in the bowl of the toilet within 15 minutes or so, you likely have a leak on your hands. A professional is the best person to fix this problem. They will be able to replace or adjust valves and lines in your toilet so that the leak ceases to be an issue. Loose or worn out parts of the toilet’s plumbing system are usually to blame for the leak. If valves are diminished or damaged, they are likely the cause of the leak in your system. While this is a repair that is easy for a professional plumber to make, it’s not something that you should try at home. If you do, you may find that you do more damage than good. And you may need to pay for more costly repairs in the long run.

Clogged Drains

A clogged drain does not just present a problem on the outside. It presents a problem on the inside, as well. A clogged drain in the sink makes it difficult for water to flow through the pipes. This can lead to internal blockages that put stress on your plumbing system, eventually leading to breaks or cracks in the pipes if left unchecked. If you notice that water is draining more slowly than usual, have your plumber check for clogged pipes. Doing this can help prevent or identify leaks in the plumbing system.

Loose Joints

If the joints that connect your piping are weak or loose, they can cause a water leak to occur in your home. When you have your pipes inspected, make sure that your plumber looks to see if the joints are in good condition. If they aren’t, they may need to be replaced or repaired. One indication of possible weak joints is a banging noise when water is in use. If you are accustomed to hearing this noise, it might be time for an inspection.

Rust

If your pipes are made of metal, they should be checked periodically for rust or corrosion. Over time, metal can be worn down and can develop areas of weakness or breakage. If pipes are rusted, there is an increased risk of a water leak.

Temperature

As with all things, pipes are affected by extreme temperatures. If temperature fluctuates wildly from hot to cold, this can cause undue wear and tear on your plumbing. This can lead to a water leak. Keep this in mind if you are experiencing severe weather conditions. It might be a good idea to have your plumbing inspected after a particularly extreme spell of weather just to make sure that everything is in good working order.

Damage

The damage that can be caused by a water leak goes far beyond inconvenience. Mold growth, structural damage, and electrical danger are all potential results of a water leak that goes unchecked. It’s important to know about the causes of leaks in order to prevent them.

Contact Us

If you notice or suspect a water leak, contact us. At Palo Alto Plumbing, we have the knowledge and expertise to do the job right the first time – every time. Contact us today by calling 650-374-0868. We look forward to hearing from you.

Methods to Detect Water Leaks

 

 

 

It’s important to take immediate action if you notice water leaks in your home. Aside from reducing your water bill expenses, this will also prevent further damage to your plumbing system. But the thing is, it can be tricky to detect water leaks. Not all homes have the same plumbing systems, either. So, if you’re just as confused about plumbing as most homeowners, here are some signs of water leaks and how to detect them on your own.

Common Causes of Water Leaks

Water leaks sometimes occur due to a variety of reasons, which can include the following:

  • Pipes wear down over time
  • Overgrown tree roots can break underground water pipes
  • Animals burrowing or digging into pipes
  • Weather fluctuations
  • Malfunctioning of pipelines
  • Bursting of water pipes

Methods to Detect Water Leaks

Tracking Your Water Bills

It’s a good idea to pay attention to your monthly water bills. This is because unexpected changes can help you determine if your home might have a water leak. For instance, you might notice that your water bill has gone up, but there haven’t been any changes to how much water your household uses. In this case, it means that your home probably has hidden water leak issues.

With the multiple water pipes installed underneath your system, it becomes challenging to detect exactly where the leaks are. So, you should look for a professional plumber to inspect your pipes, and make the necessary repairs. It’s important to take care of these issues before the leak gets worse.

Checking the Water Meter

One of the simplest ways to detect water leaks in your home is by checking the water meter. In most cases, plumbers place water meters in different locations, like in the basement, under your kitchen sink, or in concrete boxes outdoors. After you locate your water meter, ensure you turn off the water in your entire home. This includes all of your appliances. Definitely don’t leave the washing machine or dishwasher running while you do this test. Once everything is turned off, look at the water meter to find out whether there’s any movement. If you notice some, then there’s probably a leak in one of your water pipes.

On the other hand, if you don’t notice any changes, it’s advisable to wait for at least one hour and check again. There could be a slow water leak in the pipes if you can spot some minimal movement. Knowing the actual location of the leak is tough, though. Odds are you won’t be able to find it on your own, so contact a plumber right away.

Stethoscope Test

One of the easiest ways to detect water leaks is through vibrations coming from running water. When performing the test, it’s advisable to ensure that all pipe fittings are tightly closed.

The next step is to get a metal screwdriver and place the tip on the pipe, with the other side next to your ear. You’ll feel some vibrations if any water is flowing through. This can indicate that there may be a water leak in your pipe. You should call a plumber immediately to examine the actual location of the leak, and make the necessary repair or replacement.

Check for Clues

If your home is slightly older, then the chances of having water leaks in the pipes are much higher. Start checking the condition of your bathroom. Make sure to monitor if there are leaky faucets, drains, or showerheads.

In the long run, watching out for these things can help you save money on expensive repairs or replacements. You can also use this method to check if your kitchen pipes are leaking. If you suspect that there are possible water leaks, don’t hesitate to contact a professional to inspect your water pipes, and fix the problem immediately.

Related Content: Plumbing Basics Every Homeowner Should Know

Examine Your Toilet

Since toilets use approximately a third of the water in most homes, it’s essential to examine if the water is running properly. A leaky toilet wastes a lot of water, leading to a costly water bill. To check for water leaks in your toilet, you need to add some food coloring droplets or dye tabs. Next, leave the toilet without flushing for a few minutes. If the color begins to slowly disappear, there’s probably a leak. In this case, you need professional help to stop this situation from getting worse.

Check Your Outdoor Water Systems

Walk around your home to see if your garden accessories are properly working. Take a closer look at the functionality of your taps, hoses, irrigation systems, and fountains. If you notice that your hoses have holes that allow water to leak into unwanted areas, ensure these holes are sealed properly. If you see any part of your outdoor that’s wet, take a step further to identify the cause, or call a professional to fix the problem.

Leak Detectors

Leak detectors can easily help in identifying water leaks in pipes and fixtures. These handy devices are installed to alert you of leaks. They send a message through their alarm system. In most cases, this helps detect water leaks early enough to prevent major water damage to your home.

Growth of Mold

The major cause of mold growth in homes is usually water damage. If you come across mold in your bathroom, kitchen, or basement, there’s a higher chance that there may be a water leak.

Wall Discoloration

You may also notice some abnormal stains on your walls, and even ceilings. The stains are mostly brown or yellow. This is a sign that your water pipes may have leaks that are soaking your walls or ceilings.

Key Takeaway

These are some of the most effective ways to detect water leaks in your home before calling a professional. But if you’ve confirmed that you have a leaky pipe concern, don’t hesitate to call Palo Alto Plumbing. Water damage is costly and can be tough to repair. Don’t risk it. Our skilled and reliable plumbers can fix your plumbing leaks in no time.