In the Beginning…
Recently we had some plumbing issues at the house that needed fixing in a hurry, and I wanted to write a little on the experience and what we learned. These types of things can start bad and stay that way easily, but ours got better by virtue of how we approached it, and the contractor we called.
The problem at my house started out as a bad smell in our basement. While not the most uncommon of situations, we keep our basement and living space as clean and organized as possible, partially for this reason. When problems crop up, they are more easily seen and dealt with because we catch them early.
As I went hunting around the basement for any sign of a problem, I came across a small but growing pool of water in a corner around my water heater. The water had soaked into some other things we had stored in the basement, and these things were starting to decompose and smell bad.
The first and more pressing issue was the leak- what to do?
Leaks and clogged drains are some of the most common residential plumbing issues. However, when thinking back on my experience, this could have been prevented and minimized early on if I had been more aware of what to look for. I knew I needed help, and so I called an emergency plumber in DC to get their advice and service, based on some great reviews some friends gave me. The technician who came to my house reported that the number one reason for defective pipes and more stubborn obstructions in drains is plumbing negligence. Of course you don’t want to hear that as a homeowner, but the truth hurts sometimes.
These were some of the steps taken by my plumber while they were fixing my problem, and I wanted to detail them here to be of help to my readers:
Identifying the Problem
Once at your residence or business, the plumber does a quick inspection of what is going on and gives a run-down of what they think has gone wrong. After diagnosing the issue they will likely ask you to stop using all household plumbing fixtures, and potentially ask you to shut off the water, to keep any more water from going down drains. They mentioned I should avoid using the washing machine, dishwasher, and toilets for the day until the problem was fixed.
Plan of Action
Next up is the best plan of action for you, whether a repair or replacement of the offending appliance or fixture. Not all problems require a replacement. This is important because it can be quite a waste of time and money, as replacing an entire fixture is obviously much more costly and inefficient than simply fixing the broken parts. At this point, he or she will chart a course of action, and how much the possible solutions will cost.
After that they can even assist you in planning a long term solution so that the same problem doesn’t happen again. After all, the last thing you need on top of your plumbing emergency is a hassle getting it fixed!
In my case, I had a slow leak that had been going on for some time. The leak had dripped slowly out and built up a growing pool of water around the base of my hot water heater. This was difficult to see (I don’t really check in this area very often) and had started to damage some things I had stored around it. Eventually I smelled the problem and called a professional! It was a slow leak, so I did not notice any change in my hot water heater temperature, or have other tell-tale signs that there was a problem, besides the odor. The plumber that came to my house knew what to look for, and proceeded to fix the pipe that had broken. He did not know how it had broken, but a pipe obviously needed fixing so it was replaced. All the work happened within a day.
I recommend checking out the Emergency DC Plumber Twitter page for more information- it is a good one-stop resource to point you in the right direction. My advice would be to make periodic checks of your plumbing fixtures so problems can be caught early!