4 Tricks to Avoid Holiday Plumbing Emergencies

4 Tricks to Avoid Holiday Plumbing Emergencies

The last thing you want this season is a surprising plumbing issue, especially during a holiday party. ‘Tis the season for joy – as well as stress. When something goes wrong around the house during the holidays, it can really stretch us thin. Follow these 4 easy tricks to avoid holiday plumbing emergencies:

Be nice to your kitchen sink

The kitchen sink is where most clogs happen in the home. Don’t treat your disposal to just anything! Even though it may seem tough, garbage disposals can become clogged from large chunks of food, hard items, or tons of waste added at once. Throw away bones, seeds, and pits, and slowly scrape softer, smaller, acceptable food items into the garbage disposal a little bit at a time. And never pour grease into the sink! Lard from the grease will stick to pipes, hardening and narrowing them. Be sure to take care of your kitchen sink to help prevent plumbing problems from occurring.

Prepare your bathroom for guests 

Additional houseguests can strain your house’s plumbing in a lot of ways. An Increase in food waste and bathroom usage from guests that are unfamiliar with the system can add an unexpected plumbing disaster on your plate. Make sure to keep a wastebasket in the bathroom to prevent unwanted items from being flushed. Clogs may be inevitable, so keep a plunger nearby to tackle them when they happen. Notify guests of any low-flow toilets or special fixtures in the bathrooms – a quick note about something quirky in your bathroom can save you a huge headache!

Be careful what you put in the toilet

“Flushable” wipes and other products may be sold to us as safe to use in the bathrooms, however, they could lead to plumbing problems down the line. Not all wipes break down in the water, and many hygiene products can cause clogs and problems for residents and municipalities. Better to be safe than sorry and avoid flushing any of these sorts of products at all. You may also want to avoid drop-in toilet bowl cleaners; corrosive chemicals can leach into the water and damage the pipes. These products may provide some convenience, but they can damage home plumbing, which requires the help of a plumber to fix.

Protect your pipes 

Outside pipes may need winterizing to protect them from freezing nights, and indoor pipes should be insulated unless they are in temperature-controlled rooms. Insulating pipes with foam insulation, or even towels or blankets can help prevent freeze damage. Sealing gaps in rooms can help temperature control the area and keep pipes at a steady temperature. Keeping a drip of water running through your pipes can help keep water flowing through the pipes and prevent freezing.

Protecting and caring for your pipes will help prevent major plumbing problems during the holidays, and year-round.

How Can Plumbing Issues Cause Problems with My Foundation

Slab leaks and plumbing issues that affect your foundation are never ideal. These leaks can cause major damage to your home, floors, and furniture, and drastically increase your water bill on top of it! Leaks can lead to mold and mildew, which can cause health problems for those living in the house, not to mention the headache of trying to manage it all! Identifying the problem and contacting our experts as quickly as possible will help prevent long-term damage and give you peace of mind. Learning about leak detection and how plumbing issues can cause foundation problems will help you know what to look for and prevent costly damages.

  • Most plumbing pipes in your home are embedded in your foundation. Your foundation is often a large concrete slab that acts as an intermediary between the ground and your home. Plumbing and sewage systems are often installed first, then the foundation is poured around these systems.
  • The majority of slab leaks occur in older homes where the pipes have aged and corroded, resulting in small leaks that create big problems. Older home foundations can also shift and settle due to weather. Shrinking or swelling soil around the foundation can cause pipes to bend or break.
  • Check out our “Silent Signs Your Home May Have Plumbing Issues” advice. You may be able to identify plumbing issues that involve slab leaks. Be on the lookout for: bad odors from the floors and walls, spiking water utility bills, low water pressure, puddles on the floor, hard to find sources of dripping or flowing water, abnormal floor coloring and temperature, and mold or cracks around your foundation.

If you notice these signs, contact us for a professional evaluation and the best course of action for your plumbing repairs.

Silent Signs Your Home May Have Plumbing Issues

Silent Signs Your Home May Have Plumbing Issues

A drippy faucet or running toilet can be a big indicator that you may have some plumbing issues. But what about the silent signs that aren’t so easily noticed? If overlooked, you could end up with a much bigger problem on your hands. Check out a few of these telling signs that may indicate a need for plumbing repairs:

  • Spiking water bills – If you haven’t drastically changed your usage but see an increase on your monthly bill, that can be a sign that something is wrong. The most common source of water bill spikes is a running toilet.
  • A green patch in the yard – Water leaking into the lawn supplies extra moisture to the grass, producing a particularly lush patch. If pipes are worn out or damaged from invasive tree roots, they may need to be trenched for repair.
  • Discolored pipes – Any type of discoloration, especially around a pipe union, can signify that both moisture and leaks are present. A slow leak can turn into a big mess if not fixed in time!
  • Changes in water clarity – Water from your faucets should be crystal clear! If you’re seeing cloudy water coming out, that can indicate there’s air in the pipes. Additionally, yellow or brown water could mean rusty pipes, and green discoloration can indicate corrosion in copper pipes.
  • Sewer odor smell may indicate a drain trap or vent has a problem and sewer gas is entering your house. Sewer odor smell in your house means a trap has dried out or a vent has cracked. It is best to check for additional leaks during repairs. 
  • Weak water flow and/or slow drains – low pressure or slow drains in one area may be a minor issue in that particular spot, but weak water pressure or slow drains throughout the whole house may indicate a more serious issue that requires our expert plumbers to investigate and repair.
  • No water in winter – frozen pipes can result in low to no water pressure. You’ll want to be sure to insulate and prepare pipes for freezing temperatures to avoid having them bust. Try to maximize heat around areas with plumbing appliances. Make sure ventilated areas are well insulated, keep doors and vents closed, help circulate warm air with fans and space heaters, and keep the heat on in your house during winter. If you are winterizing outdoor pipes, and turning the water main off, then turn on faucets to let them fully drain and release pressure in the pipes.  
  • Visible water damage to your home – Look for bubbles, peeling, or browning on your walls and ceilings. Excessive moisture or roof leaks can cause costly damages. Be sure to act on any physical changes to your house early on.

We recommend staying educated and vigilant. Know what to look for BEFORE the problem becomes serious. Our expert plumbers can assess your situation, and provide guidance and quality repair. 

Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners
929 East 41st St Austin, TX 78751
Phone: (512) 936-5200

Robert Maner RMP-41287