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The Ultimate Guide on When to Call a Plumber

The Ultimate Guide on When to Call a Plumber


You’re ankle-deep in water, holding a bucket and looking for your pipe wrench. This isn’t the time to start Googling “emergency plumbing services” while crossing your fingers that a viable lead comes up. Rather, you need a team of plumbing professionals you can trust and keep on speed dial, ready to respond at any time of day or night 24/7. That’s where we come in. From clogged toilets to burst pipes, we’ve seen it all and we’re here to help. Today, we’re sharing a few of the most common plumbing issues we deal with, and how to know when it’s time to pick up the phone and give us a call. Put down that plunger, step away from the pipe cutters, and read on.

1. Clogged Toilet

From children’s toys to wet wipes, there are many foreign objects that can make their way into your toilet bowl. When they’re inadvertently flushed, a major problem can ensue. While many people opt to DIY this issue themselves, it’s always best to call your plumber, and here’s why: It doesn’t take much for a small toilet clog to snowball into a major water overflow. 

While some tiny clogs can dislodge with a household plunger, always avoid the urge to use a drain snake or chemical mixture without prior experience. Doing so could cause more harm to your toilet, and could even make the clog worse. Another reason to pick up the phone? While it might look like a harmless issue, a toilet clog often signals a greater issue: a problem with your sewer line. A professional plumber can take a closer look at the problem and recommend a way forward. Read More…

2. Clogged Sinks

Similar to your toilet, your sink line can also become clogged over time. Usually, this is attributed to built-up food waste. In the bathroom, sinks can become clogged with hair, soap, cosmetics, and even small toiletry objects. 

Again, you can find drain snakes and caustic chemicals at the hardware store designed to help homeowners keep their drain pipes clean. However, it’s best to bring in an expert if yours is backed up. Such tools could eat away at your pipes and cause damage that’s even costlier and more time-consuming to correct. If this is the first time you’ve noticed that your sink water is slow to drain, you can try a plunger on your sink to see if it helps. On the other hand, if you’ve been dealing with the issue for a while, it’s time to get a professional opinion. Read More…

3. Broken Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals can be a great convenience. They can also break down and cause great damage.

There are myriad issues that you could experience with yours, including:

  • Inoperability
  • Water leaks
  • Slow draining
  • Unpleasant smells
  • Clogs and jams

Any of these can make your kitchen one of the most unappealing rooms in your home. Remember: Garbage disposals can be extremely dangerous to work on unless you’re trained to do so. From electric shock to lacerations, the risks are real. That’s why it’s best to let your plumber take a look and perform any necessary repairs. Read More…

4. Laundry Room Plumbing Repairs

Your laundry room is one of the hardest working rooms in your house. In addition to your washer and dryer, you might also have a sink in yours. While you might not give much thought to the plumbing required to keep this space operational, it’s one of the most common sites of leaks and clogs. Washing machine hoses can wear down over time, leading to damaging leaks and cracks. In addition, there could also be issues with your supply lines, metal washers, or drain filters. A plumber can inspect your laundry room to determine the culprit of any leaks or other concerns. 

5. Bathroom and Kitchen Faucets

You want access to hot or cold water as soon as you need it. You also want it to come out at an appropriate speed, not at a trickle. Yet, you might notice that the faucets in your bathroom or kitchen aren’t working like they used to. Their flow is slowed, they’re making an odd noise, or there’s water gathering around their base.

If you experience any of these issues, go ahead and call your plumber. There could be a greater issue at play than you’re noticing and left untreated, it could exacerbate into a costly, time-consuming mess. Even if you’re the resident handyman, it’s unwise to grab your toolset and start tightening washers and taking the faucet apart. Your plumber can take care of the issue for you, and often for much less time and money than you’d spend tackling it yourself.

6. Clogged Drains

There are drains all around your house, from your shower to your kitchen sink. Are you noticing that water has started to gather at your drain opening, rather than sinking down as it should? If you’re sloshing around every time you take a shower, it’s time to call us for drain cleaning services. While the issue could be an easy fix (e.g. hair, oil and grease), it could also signal a more complicated problem.

Standard drain cleaning procedures won’t help if there’s a serious issue with your sewer line. If most of the drains in your home are slow to empty, this could be what’s really going on. We’ll be able to expertly diagnose the issue and let you know how to fix it, no matter the scale or extent of the damage.

7. Burst Pipes

This is the standard comic book interpretation of a plumbing emergency! We’ve all seen cartoons of a desperate homeowner crouched beneath a sink, attempting to tighten pipes, while water is shooting out from every direction. If there’s a significant increase in your water pressure, it can cause your pipes to burst. Often, this occurs when your pipes freeze in the wintertime. As the water left within them expands, it pushes against the pipes until they simply can’t take it anymore. 

In addition, pipes can also burst because of decay, or when oversized clogs develop that obstruct and back up the water flow. As you’d expect, burst pipes can lead to expensive, extensive structural damage. Your plumber can help you perform the necessary steps to minimize your risk of experiencing this disaster.

8. Drywall Patching Post Repair

Sometimes, a plumber will need to cut into your drywall to get to the root of a plumbing problem. This is another reason why it’s smart to avoid a ton of DIY work! Unless you know exactly what to do, you could create a gaping hole that’s both unsightly and unnecessary.

At United Air Plumbing we have a full time drywall repair professional on staff. When the repair is complete and you’re ready to reclaim your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, you can’t exactly leave a torn-out spot where the work happened. You’ll need to patch it up and repaint it to match the rest of your interior. 

9. Supply Piping Leaks

There are a few different kinds of leaks that can happen in your home’s drain piping or water supply. These can range from pinhole leaks to giant gushers. While the leak itself can cause damage, it becomes even worse when you can’t find its source.

While you might think of a leak as a giant rush of water, it’s often more on the subtle side. These hidden leaks can be the most troublesome, as they can flow for months undetected, leading to rot and mold, among other issues. Detecting the issue as soon as possible to ensure a timely and effective repair. Ultimately, you never know where or when a leak can occur, so it pays to know a reputable plumber near you! 

10. Sump Pumps

It’s a common homeowner issue that everyone dreads and no one wants to deal with: water in the basement. One of the most common instances where you’ll need your sump pump working correctly is during heavy storms. During storms when your power is most likely to be affected, your sump pump will also go out unless it has an independent power supply. Interestingly enough back up power supplies for sump pumps are optional! The reality is that even if you waterproof yours, a compromised sump pump could render your efforts fruitless. Thankfully, our team of plumbers is well-versed on the many issues that could occur, including:

  • Too-small pumps 
  • Overworked pumps (including faulty float switches)
  • Clogged intakes
  • Frozen or clogged discharge line

Once we find the root of the problem, we’ll help you remediate it and mitigate any water damage.

11. Pressure Reducing Valves

A pressure reducing valve (PRV) or water pressure regulator works as its name implies. It helps to reduce the pressure of water coming to your home from the main water line.  As the flow of municipal water that comes to your house is usually fast and uneven, this valve is essential in helping you enjoy comfortable and consistent water pressure at all times. That’s why it’s such a pain when yours fails or begins to show signs of age and wear. 

In addition to harming your appliances and causing lower-level flooding, a faulty PRV can lead to screeching noises or banging sounds in your plumbing system. It can also drive your water bill way up! As such, it’s important to take care of this problem immediately. Our team can repair or replace your valve as needed.

12. Water Treatment Systems

Do you have a water treatment system installed in your house? The most common types include:

  • Filtration systems
  • Water softeners
  • Distillation systems
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Ultra-violet Sterilization

While beneficial, these systems are not foolproof. Our team can help you install, troubleshoot and upkeep your system to keep your household water as safe and clean as possible. Sticking to a regular preventative maintenance schedule can help keep your water free of excess minerals and other contaminants. It also helps you avoid those middle-of-the-night calls for emergency plumbing services!

13. Water Heaters

If you experience any hot water problems, you know that a quick fix is necessary!

While an electrician can help address issues related to your circuit breaker, fuse box or system wiring, there are myriad concerns that only a licensed plumber should address. These include:

  • Whistling noises coming from your water heater
  • No hot water
  • Rust-colored hot water
  • Low hot water pressure
  • Leaks around your water heater

An emergency plumber can help determine what’s causing these problems and take steps to reverse them. From piping and heating elements to gas lines and anode rods, our team is trained in it all.

14. Outside Water Supply Piping and Drain Lines

When you think of plumbing, you might only consider the interior of your home. However, many plumbing repairs take place on its exterior. The water that the rest of your home enjoys originates in your outdoor water main. There are many different kinds of main lines and drain lines that run from your house all the way to the meter. If there’s an issue with any of them, you could experience a range of plumbing issues once you’re indoors. 

While you might notice a strange noise coming from these pipes, it can be difficult to pinpoint where the problem originates. A plumber can turn off the water valve on your meter, and then get to work draining the existing water in your pipes. Then, they can listen outside using special tools to see if water is still running in your outdoor pipes. This can help them narrow down where the leak is coming from.

Then, they can dig into the ground and remove the damaged pipe portions, replacing them with new ones. This is a more effective and safe way than digging around aimlessly in your yard on your own!

Emergency Plumbing Services You Can Trust

Don’t wait until you’re out of hot water or standing in a flooded room to find the best local plumber near you. With locations in Maryland, Virginia and Florida, we’re proud to offer emergency plumbing services to some of the finest communities along the East Coast. Our technicians are also experts in heating, air conditioning, geothermal technology, and more. Contact us to learn more about our team and keep our number close by!