It is possible to fix many common plumbing issues on your own. For example, if the water pressure is low, you can clean the showerhead yourself. Or check the water meter. Or you could tighten up the trap under your kitchen or bathroom sink or even replace it.
But what about more significant problems, like a leaky pipe? Especially those that you can’t tell are there or don’t realise how big they are. How do you know when you should call in a plumber for help rather than deal on your own? For example, in the case of a leaky tap, it could be a loose nut or a leaky pipe somewhere inside the wall. How do you tackle the real problem or try to fix a side effect? And most of all, how are you sure that you’re not accidentally causing further damage?
You have a rapid water line leak:
Honestly, this is the most obvious one: a waterline bursts and floods your whole house. And this includes similar incidents on a smaller scale, i.e. a pipe burst or leaks. While a burst pipe isn’t all that common, this does happen, especially in areas the plumbing is old.
If such an incident does occur, swift action is required. You can’t just rely on a plumber to get there and magic all the problems away. You’ll need to find an intermediary water supply cut-off valve near the leak and turn it off as soon as possible.
If you’re lucky, you can find a knife or knob style valve that you can turn and stop the water from running, avoiding any further damage of any sort. If you cannot find an intermediary valve, get to the house’s primary water shut-off valve and turn it off.
There’s no water in the house:
If there’s a problem with the water flow inside the house, it will probably be limited to a bathroom, sink, shower, or something. It’s doubtful that water will stop throughout the house, and if you think something like so has occurred, make sure to check all the taps or showers in the house to do so.
You should also make sure to check both warm or cold-water outlets produce no water. Sometimes, due to a broken water heater, the warm water outlet will get blocked, but the cold one will still be operable.
If water is indeed not coming out anywhere in the house, then you have a severe problem on your hands. It could mean that a street-side water meter to your home has burst, or has been severed, or there is a leak around the water metre in your house, cutting off the supply. It does not mean that having water cut off from a tap or showerhead is no issue; you should still call in a plumber to look into it.
You have a rapid drainage line leak:
If a kitchen or bathroom sink trap gets clogged up, you can quickly fix it. But if a drain gets clogged up, as it’s behind a wall, and there’s no easy direct way to it, you’ll have to call in a professional to deal with it. A leaky drainage line could damage the drywall, paint, subfloor, floor covering, or even the house’s foundations if the water reaches it and pools there for too long. Not to mention the possibility of moss and fungus and the pests attracted to it.
You have a sewer line leak or a gaseous odour:
The sewer line is the only line that takes out the waste from your house, and without it, the home cannot function.
So, it is necessary to look out for signs of a damaged sewer line. It usually manifests itself in slowly collecting pools of murky smelly water in the yard, which mix with and make the soil mushy. It also results in backed-up drains, sinks, and toilets inside the house.
If you notice any of these indicators, then call a plumber to head over, and trace where the damage is.
Your water heater has a natural gas leak:
Natural gas is a fiery substance that can be highly dangerous. But we humans tend to live nearby it. If you smell natural gas in the house, the reason can be a turn on stove or oven; if neither is the culprit, sniff around and even check the gas meter. If the smell is coming from the area around the water heater, then you have your culprit. Fixing a leaking water heater is no mean feat, and calling in a plumber is vital.
Do not even attempt to fix the problem on your own. You could call the gas company, but there’s not much they can do to fix a water heater. You better call a plumber and get the thing fixed immediately.