5 Common Plumbing Emergencies and One Wisconsin Plumber to Call
Plumbing Contractors >> Emergency Plumbing
24 Hour Emergency Plumbing Service from Southport Home Services
A plumbing emergency may not be as bad as having your roof blown off by a tornado, or having it destroyed by a fire, but it’s far more common than either and can cause serious damage to a home. In fact, 40% of all homeowners will have to deal with water damage at some point. The emergency plumbing contractors at Southport deal with common and uncommon plumbing emergencies.
- Burst Pipe
- Leaking Water Heaters
- Clogged/Overflowing Toilets
- Ruptured Washing Machine Hose
- Sump Pump Failure
In most cases, there’s little or no warning a plumbing emergency is about to strike. A pipe under your sink can freeze and burst, causing water to gush all over your kitchen floor. A water heater can rust from the inside and flood your basement. A tree root can break through a sewer line pipe and cause your toilet to back up all over the bathroom floor.
Whatever the plumbing emergency, it demands immediate attention.
When disaster strikes, count on Southport Home Services
There are hundreds of plumbers in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. What sets Southport Home Services apart from others is experienced, certified plumbers who respond quickly to emergency situations. Our plumbers are on call 24/7, every day of the year, and from our location in Caledonia we can get to most areas in the greater Milwaukee area within 30 minutes.
When you call Southport Home Services, our plumbers arrive with all the tools and spare parts needed to get any crisis under control. Below are the five most common plumbing emergencies homeowners are likely to face, and some tips on how to deal with them until a plumber arrives.
1. Burst water pipe emergencies
Every winter, we get hundreds of calls from hapless homeowners who have had a frozen water pipe burst. In the hierarchy of plumbing emergencies, a broken pipe spewing gallons of water surely ranks at the top — especially if you’re away from home when the pipe bursts and come home to several inches of water in your home.
If you’re home when the pipe bursts, you can shut off the main water valve. If you’re not home, every minute compounds the disaster. Even a small crack in a pipe can result in hundreds of gallons of water flooding your home. Besides the clean up cost and damaged property, there’s also the cost of the water. Yes, the city will bill you for those hundreds upon hundreds of gallons.
What to do if you have a burst water pipe:
- Shut off the water valve immediately! If you don’t know where the shut off valve for your water supply is, this would be a good time to locate it.
- Call a plumber. Replacing a burst pipe is rarely a DIY job, especially if the burst pipe is in a wall or another hard-to-reach area.
2. Leaking water heater emergencies
In an emergency, call the water heater repair experts at Southport Home Services. We’ll remove the water, diagnose the source of the problem, make repairs if possible and, if not, replace your water heater with a new one. Word of advice: most water heaters have a service life of 10 years, so if yours is older, it’s a good idea to look into having it replaced.
The typical water heater holds 40 or more gallons of hot water. Even a small amount of water from a slow leak can damage floors, sub-floors and even walls. Often, water heaters are tucked away in utility closets, in a corner of the basement, and even in an attic, so a slow leak goes unnoticed until there’s significant damage. Worse yet, a slow leak is usually a preface to something much worse — as in the case of the inner tank corroding to the point of catastrophic failure.
What to do if your water heater fails:
- Shut off the water valve.
- Shut off power or gas to the water heater.
- Try to divert the water to a drain or soak up as much as you can to minimize water damage.
- Call a plumber.
The 40-plus gallons in your water heater spilling all over your floor is bad enough, but since the water heater is connected to your water supply there will be a constant flow of water until the water line is shut off.
3. Overflowing toilet emergencies
An overflowing toilet is enough to ruin anyone’s day. It’s not exactly pure mountain stream water that comes gurgling up all over the floor, which makes these emergencies all the more awful. The culprit can range from Junior flushing a toy to see what will happen to a tree root that has slowly infiltrated a water pipe.
In many cases, toilets give warning signs of trouble. A gurgling sound from the toilet, for instance, can indicate an obstruction in the line. If that sounds familiar, have a plumbing contractor from Southport come take a look.
What to do in an overflowing toilet emergency:
- Shut off the water supply valve. It’s almost always located under the tank at the back of the toilet. If the shut off valve is stuck and you can’t turn it, take the cover off the top of the toilet’s water tank and push the rubber flapper down. If it won’t stay down, lift the ball-shaped float and use a ruler to hold it in place.
- Try plunging the toilet.
- Try using a plumbing snake if you have one available.
- Squirt some dish soap into a gallon bucket of hot water and pour it into the toilet bowl. This can sometimes break up the clog.
- Call a plumber.
4. Washing machine hose rupture emergencies
Look behind your washer and you’ll see two hoses running from the washer to two faucet-like fixtures coming out of the wall - these connect the water supply. Most washing machines are installed using rubber water lines. Trouble is, these rubber hoses have a service life of about 5 years. Over time, the constant pressure of water causes these hoses to fail. The first sign of them failing is usually a noticeable bulge. If yours are older than 5 years or show any bulging, they need to be replaced ASAP.
Having seen hundreds of emergencies caused by ruptured washing machine hoses, many plumbers recommend shutting off the water supply to the washing machine anytime you’re not using it. We can install a master shut-off lever for the hot and cold water supply to your washing machine to make this easier. Instead of twisting two knobs on and off, you just pull one lever.
What to do if the water supply line to your washing machine ruptures:
- Shut off the water supply valves behind your washing machine. This should be easy, but in a worst case scenario they may be so rusty you can’t turn them. If that’s the case, get a crescent wrench or pliers and try shutting them off.
- If that doesn't work, shut off the main water supply to your house.
- Call a plumber - preferably one that works at Southport. We’ll vacuum out any water in your laundry area and replace the damaged water supply hoses.
- Replace the damaged water supply hoses. We recommend and use braided stainless steel hoses, which are significantly stronger than the standard issue rubber hoses most washing machines ship with.
Replacing the washing machine hoses is a relatively simple job, but if you’re not comfortable with it or don’t have the time or inclination, give the plumbers at Southport a call.
5. Sump pump failure emergencies
Southport Home Services is on-call 24/7 and can get to most areas in greater Milwaukee within 30 minutes. We’ll get the water pumped out of your basement, and either get your sump pump working again or, if necessary, install a new sump pump.
A sump pump failure of any kind can be disastrous — particularly if you have a finished basement. A power outage during a heavy rainstorm, for instance, can result in several inches of water flooding your basement. If it happens when you’re away on vacation, you could come home to a swimming pool in your basement.
What to do in a sump pump failure emergency:
- Time is of the essence! Contact the sump pump repair experts at Southport ASAP.
Since the most common cause of sump pump failure is a power outage, the best way to ensure your sump pump will keep working is either with a generator or a backup battery. Of these two options, the backup battery is by far the more affordable solution. Costs for installing a backup battery range from $275 to $500, plus labor.
In addition to installing backup batteries, Southport offers routine maintenance service on sump pumps to ensure they’re working properly. If you’ve recently moved into a home and aren’t sure about the sump pump’s reliability, we highly recommend scheduling an appointment to have it inspected and tested.