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How to Prevent the Top 3 Most Common Plumbing Emergencies

Raising the Standard Podcast

Raising the Standard Episode 57

This week on Raising the Standard, BOSS owner Jeff Street wants to help homeowners prevent the most common plumbing emergencies. Jeff has rounded up some of the most common emergency calls BOSS Services receives throughout West Michigan to give you some simple tips to make sure they don’t happen in your home. Listen to our podcast below or read more to discover how you can avoid these home emergencies! 

Raising the Standard Podcast: Episode 57

Tip #1: How to Avoid a Mess from a Backed Up Sewer Line

The typical home has a couple of sewer lines. When one of them backs up, or perhaps your main sewer line backs up, it can stop up your entire home. The easiest way to keep everything from backing up and overflowing into your tubs and toilets is to identify if your home has an outside sewer line cleanout and to know where that is located. This is an access to your main sewer line that is outside of your house. So if your main line backs up with everything flowing into your home, you can go outside and unscrew the cap off the cleanout. Then it will overflow into the yard, which still is not ideal, but it’s better than everything overflowing into your home. As a result, this potential emergency situation merely turns into an inconvenience and decreases the amount of damage and overall clean-up.

Unfortunately, a lot of older homes have an inside cleanout, which means it is probably located in the low point of all of your drains. So when you open that up and clear a drain, you’ll have all the water that is backed up coming out of it inside of your home. So if you do have an inside cleanout, it’s better to move it outside before you have an issue to reduce the mess if the line is backed up.

If you’re not sure how to find your sewer cleanout, this article is a fantastic read: https://www.thespruce.com/sewer-clean-out-where-to-find-it-3973572

What to Do if Your Sewer Line is Backed Up

If you are having a backed up sewer issue, and you have already taken the cap off the cleanout to help, you still will need to call a plumber to identify what exactly is going on in your home to cause this issue. Also, if you have an outside cleanout, the big sewer rot machines are actually made for an outside cleanout to get in there and cut roots and CLO to clear clogs. So this is another reason why it’s important to make sure your cleanout is located outside your home instead of inside your home.

What are the Most Common Items that Cause Sewer Back-ups?

The most common thing lately that’s been clogging sewers for our clients are baby wipes and any type of flushable wipe. Just because they label the package with “flushable wipes” doesn’t mean you should be flushing them. They clump up easily and don’t disintegrate like toilet paper. Feminine hygiene products are probably the second most common item that clogs up toilets and sewer lines. If you have kids, make sure you talk to them and tell them paper towel and toys also should never be flushed down the toilet.

Tip #2: How to Stop a Water Leak

Water leaks are another common emergency call we receive from customers at 2am. Fortunately, often there is an easy way to minimize the problem, but unfortunately it can be inconvenient for homeowners. Depending on whether you have a water leak from a sink or toilet, the line should have a shut-off valve. If  it does not, you should have one put in the main water supply of your house and where you’ve discovered the leak. Once you’ve found the shut-off valve, turn off the water to your entire house. This is inconvenient, but it will also prevent a big mess. After doing this, you will still want to call a plumber to come out to your home to resolve the issue causing the leak. 

Tip #3: How to Resolve a Water Heater Leak

Depending on where your water heater is leaking from it could be a minor problem or a major issue. If your water heater is leaking from the pipes on top, then it could be a common pipe leak, and it’s probably not your water heater itself. However, if your water heater is leaking from the bottom, that means your tank has probably rusted through and there’s no way to repair that. This is a leak that always results in a water heater replacement. To sum it up, if your water heater is leaking, try to find where it’s leaking from to see if you can isolate the problem, but ultimately, you will have to shut the water off to your water heater to prevent 50 gallons of water from leaking out.

If your tank has a hole on the bottom, you may be able to let it out if it’s a crawl space, but if it’s in a finished basement or a mechanical room, you will have to build a towel damn around it to prevent it from damaging anything in the surrounding areas. You also can hook a garden hose up to the drain on the bottom of your water heater and run that hose outside or into a drain. This will drain most of it out.

Any Other Questions About Common Home Emergencies?

If you’re looking for more tips about common home issues, visit our blog section here: https://thebossservices.com/boss-safety-and-comfort/. We have dozens of articles about heating, cooling, plumbing, windows, bathroom upgrades, home safety, and more.  BOSS owners, Jeff and Jerry Street even wrote a book called “The BOSS Guide to Keeping Your Home Safe and Healthy,” which includes plenty of home DIY tips and what to do in emergency situations like we’ve discussed today. 

If you’ve performed these preventative measures and still have questions or need a technician to come out to your home, call 269-468-6682. We serve all of West Michigan from Niles and St. Joseph, Michigan to Grand Rapids and as far east as Kalamazoo. We are happy to help keep you comfortable in your home 24/7, no matter the emergency!

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