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7 situations when only a professional plumber will do

03 February 2020
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There are simple plumbing jobs and there are those that are complex. There are also those jobs that sit somewhere in between the two. When your water pressure is low, you can clean the showerhead, check the water metre valve, or do several other easy repairs. When the trap under your kitchen sink leaks, you can tighten up the existing trap or purchase a new, inexpensive trap. 

But what happens when things aren’t such an easy fix? Here’s my take on seven situations in which you should call in a professional plumber and steer away from trying to fix it up yourself.

1. When water stops flowing

Water not flowing within your house can usually be pinpointed and localised to one area, such as a sink or shower. When it stops flowing to your entire house though, a bigger problem may be underlying. Here are some of the potential causes to look out for:

  • The buried water pipe leading from the streetside water meter to your house has burst or been severed, diverting water intended for your house

  • Your water meter might have a leak

  • Sediment buildup or corrosion may be restricting flow

  • Your pipes might be old or made out of outdated material

2. You have a rapid water supply line leak

If a water line bursts and is causing major flooding you need to act fast. Firstly, look for water supply cut off valves located near the leak. Failing that, locate your home’s main water shut-off valve and turn it off. Next, find a plumber that can come immediately. 

Rapid temperature changes (which we’re seeing a lot of lately) can force pipes to expand and contract. This expansion and contraction may crack the pipes. Alternatively the problem could be caused by simple fixes gone unnoticed. Some of these could include:

  • Broken seals

  • Clogged lines

  • Corrosion

  • Damaged pipe joints

  • Excess water pressure

  • Loose water connections

3. You have a sewer line leak

Tree root intrusion, cracks, channeling and misaligned connections can all cause damage to drainage lines. The aim is to not let your plumbing get to the point where it fails - a collapsed sanitary sewer line will cost a lot more than proactive maintenance and repair will. 

If you suspect you have a sewer line leak, avoid further damage by getting a sewer line inspection by a qualified plumber. The sewer line is the only line that carries all of your home’s wastewater from toilets, sinks, showers, tubs, dishwashers and washing machines. 

Your home cannot function without this line and all activities will be paralysed should your line collapse. Symptoms of a damaged sewer line include:

  • Sewage backups and blockages

  • Sewer gas odour

  • Mold problems

  • Slow drain

  • Extra green and lush patches in grass

  • Indentation in lawn or under pavers

  • Foundation cracks, settlement and sinkholes

  • Septic waste pooling in yard

  • Insect or rodent infestation

4. Your water heater has a natural gas leak

If you smell natural gas in your house you might automatically think it’s an issue with your stove or gas bottle. This could be the case, and if so, call your gas company immediately. 

Sometimes, however, the source of the gas leak could be your gas water heater. If you smell gas around the water heater area, this is not normal. The thermocouple may have malfunctioned or there may be leaks in the rigid or flexible pipes leading to the heater. These leaks may be in the couplings or the pipes themselves. 

In this situation you would need to get in touch with a qualified plumber and while you wait, move any items away from the area to help your plumber quickly assess the situation. 

5. No hot water

Unless your hot water tank is leaking it might be hard to determine the cause of no hot water.It can also be hard to know whether to call a plumber or an electrician.

Electric heater problems include:

  • Leaking relief valve

  • Circuit breakers or blown fuses

  • Faulty element or thermostat

  • Bad overload switches

  • Thermocouple burners and igniters

For hot water issues you’ve deemed most likely not electrical, contacting a plumber is a safe bet. 

6. When only the best will do

Regulation in the plumbing industry is important to preserving the integrity of projects and ensuring that any product used in a plumbing project is both safe and durable. This is why the Australian Government developed the WaterMark Certification Scheme. 

By investing in a reputable plumber you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they’ll be following the strict standards of the plumbing industry. Spending a bit more on hiring an experienced plumber can also help you avoid even more issues arising from poor quality work.

7. Frozen pipes

Icy pipes can eventually split and cause terrible leaks. Before they split, they experience reduced water pressure. During unseasonably cold times, check your sink, bathtub, toilet and dishwasher to see if you notice a lack of running water. If you do, call in the plumber to take a look. 

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