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Not all plumbing issues at home necessarily turn into domestic plumbing emergencies but there are the odd ones that do. Just like in any emergency situation – timely and adequate reaction is absolutely crucial in order to contain water damage caused to your property.

Making a list of all the possible plumbing problems and potential emergencies would be impractical as there are just too many to list. However, there are a number of more common plumbing issues that people will have to deal with sooner or later. Again, the quicker you come up with a solution the better, sometimes shutting off the water supply is all it takes to spare your property from extensive water damage.


Pipe leaks can happen at any time, sometimes a pipe breaks or a joint loosens unexpectedly. Water using appliances can also leak at their inlets. Here is what you need to do in this case:

– Pinpoint the leak if possible, determine if it’s an appliance leak or a pipe leak;

– Locate the main water supply valve of the property and shut off water immediately;

– If unable to locate the main valve, try searching for local valves that shut off water to the particular floor or part of the house – the moment you find it shut it off;

– Remember to switch off your water heaters either electric or gas when you shut off water supply to the property – this is vital!

– In case of a pipe or joint leak determine if you can dismantle and repair the section of plumbing yourself, this is not always as easy as it appears so use a step by step approach;

– In case an appliance is leaking, check if the drain trap is free of any clogs, usually even a partially blocked trap will cause overflow and leaks;

Frozen Pipes

Freezing pipework is not uncommon in areas of colder climate. If your plumbing freezes every winter, perhaps you should consider replacement of plumbing elements and features with freeze-resistant versions, especially exterior ones.

– Try and pinpoint where the frozen section of plumbing or pipe is as best you can;

– Thaw the frozen section gently using a blow dryer, a heat gun will also do the trick though be careful not to melt pipe’s exterior.

– Don’t use a blow torch or any other naked flame equipment for melting the pipe as there is serious risk of causing fire.

– Prevent future pipe freezes by installing exterior pipe insulations, frost resistant exterior faucets,  or drain plumbing during winter and shut off water supply to unused sections, if there are such;

Clogged Drains

A blocked drain is another common plumbing issue that can lead to an emergency so the sooner you have it under control the better.

– Shut off water coming into the clogged drain i.e. shut off the appliance or faucet that flows into the blocked drain immediately;

– Use a drain plunger to try and remove the clog mechanically, work the plunger between ten and twenty times rhythmically in order to build up pressure inside the pipe;

– Don’t use a snake or other heavy duty unclogging tools as this might cause extensive damage, also don’t use chemical cleaners on totally blocked drains as this will result in aggressive, toxic substances that shouldn’t be touched or breathed in.

Clogged Toilets

Toilets have their traps built in, which makes them a tat harder to unclog so equip yourself with some extra patience. Generally, a blocked toilet should be treated as a blocked drain.

– Shut off water supply to the particular toilet, section of the house or the entire property using the main or local shut off valves;

– Unclog manually using a plunger using sharp, rhythmical motions in order to build up pressure inside the pipework;

Broken Faucets

Faucets can display a number of common faults. Don’t bother trying to repair cartridge or other advanced faucets as that is too complex for DIY enthusiasts.

– If a faucet won’t turn off, locate and cut off water at the main or local supply valves, best to seek qualified assistance from there on;

– If the faucet is spewing out boiling hot water, don’t touch it at all, but switch off power supply to your water heater, leave the faucet running until the water gets cold then shut it off and call in a professional plumber as there is most likely an issue with your water heater thermostat or the faucet itself.

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Scott Fiori

Phone: 619-985-8204

Owner Operated Personal Service

Scott has been " San Diego Emergency Plumber " for over 20 years.

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