5 Common Residential Plumbing and Heating Emergencies

5 Common Residential Plumbing and Heating Emergencies

Plumbing and heating emergencies happen unexpectedly, and they can cause significant property damage in residential homes. When emergencies happen, it’s best to stay calm and contact a professional. Let’s explore the top 5 most common plumbing and heating emergencies in Vancouver, and how to prevent them. 

Burst Water Pipes

Causes

Burst water pipes are often the result of freezing temperatures. If the pipes are not insulated correctly, water in the pipes can freeze and expand. The pressure can lead to cracks in the pipes or completely ruptured pipes. 

Another common cause of burst residential pipes is corrosion. Over time, mineral deposits can collect. If you do not have your pipes inspected, this could go unnoticed. Eventually, the pipes can become corroded, causing holes where water can escape. 

What to Do While you Wait 

Burst water pipes are one of the most common and most urgent plumbing emergencies. Call your plumber immediately if you see water collecting or spilling from your pipes. Burst pipes can lead to permanent water damage if they are left unnoticed. While you are waiting for your plumber to arrive, try to turn off the water supply in your home. Remain calm and find towels to help soak up the water if it is clean. 

Future Prevention 

Sometimes burst pipes can not be avoided, however, proper plumbing and pipe maintenance checks are an excellent way to discover problems early. If your plumber notices signs of poorly insulated pipes or corroded pipes, they can help to fix the problem, before it becomes a plumbing emergency. Learn more about how to prevent plumbing and pipe leaks in our recent blog article and watch for these signs to detect leaks early

Leaking Boiler 

Your boiler keeps your home warm and ensures you always have hot water. When a boiler shows signs of leaking, however, it can be more harmful than helpful. Not only is boiler water scalding hot, but it also has the potential to flood your home. 

Causes

If the boiler is new and was installed recently, improper installation could be the reason. There could also be a problem internally, often worn out seals can give in overtime, causing leaks. Corrosion can also affect boilers. Minerals in the water supply can wear away at the boiler from the inside. And they are also susceptible to rust, which leads to holes and leaks. 

What to Do While you Wait 

While you wait for a plumbing professional, place a bucket or towels under the leak to help minimize water damage. If possible, shut off the boilers water supply and move any objects out of the way. Your plumber will determine what happened and may recommend you replace parts, or simply replace the boiler. 

Future Prevention

Proper boiler maintenance checks are essential to help prevent boiler leaks in the future. If your boiler is older and you have experienced leaks in the past, it may be best to replace the appliance. The average boiler lasts for around 10 years if it is well maintained. 

Flooded Basement

Causes

A flooded basement can have many different causes. It could be the result of a burst pipe, a poor drainage system, sewage backup, structural flaws in your home or a leaking appliance, such as a boiler. 

What to Do While you Wait 

Turn off the water supply if you can see the cause of the leak. Do not stand in the basement or touch the water. If you can not identify the source of the flood it’s possible the water is unclean. It may be a good idea to photograph the flooded areas and any signs of water damage for insurance purposes. Wait for your plumber to arrive. 

Future Prevention

Be sure your home is properly insured. Floods can be the result of a plumbing emergency, but they can also be caused by natural disasters and poor home construction. It’s a good idea to get home insurance that will cover some of the damage that floods can cause. 

Clogged Drains

Causes

The drains in your home can become clogged over time. Hair is the most common culprit of clogged drains, but food waste and even mineral build-up could be to blame. Outside, mud and soil can clog drains around your home, which leads to backflow and waste. A clogged drain is a serious problem because it can lead to flooding. 

What to Do While you Wait 

If the sink or toilet pipes are clogged, turn off the water supply and wait for your plumber. You can also try to fix the clog yourself if it is minor. We have created a helpful post called “How to Use a Drain Snake“ to help assist with this process. 

Future Prevention

If the clog was the result of hair and debris blocking the pipes, you can purchase a hair filter for your sink or shower. This will keep hair from getting into the drain and can be purchased at your local hardware store. We also have a helpful post that illustrates how to identify and clean mineral deposits from your sink and shower. As well as a fast method to unclog your shower in seconds

If the clog was a result of excess food or debris in the kitchen sink, try to use a green bin to compost excess food scraps, rather than trying to garburate them. Also, be sure you never pour any of these items down the sink. However, the best way to prevent clogged drains is with a drain inspection. 

The Furnace Stops Working 

Causes

Age is the most common reason for a furnace to stop working. It’s also possible that you have blown a fuse, a clogged air filter or you have a crack in the heat exchange. On average, a furnace can last for up to 15-20 years with proper maintenance but if your furnace is older, it’s best to start thinking about your replacement options. 

Often furnace problems go unnoticed. Signs of a failing furnace include lack of heat in the home, odd sounds from the furnace, or you see the gas bill going up. 

What to Do While you Wait 

Often, furnace maintenance problems and emergencies happen in the winter months, when the furnace is being used heavily. Chances are, if your furnace has failed, your home will feel much colder so it’s best to bundle up and stay warm. You can also check your furnace room for the emergency on and off switch. This is often red in colour and will power down the furnace in an emergency situation if it is not running properly. 

Future Prevention

Watch for the signs that your furnace is failing, and contact your HV/AC specialist before the problem worsens. It may feel as though your furnace is no longer heating properly or as effectively as it could. Furnaces should have annual scheduled maintenance checks. If you have an older furnace or you have experienced several problems with your furnace in the past, it may be time to think about furnace replacement options.  

24/7 Emergency Plumbing & Heating Services in Vancouver

At Hillcrest Plumbing and Heating we are proud to offer 24/7 emergency repair services in Vancouver, and the Lower Mainland. Whether your boiler is leaking, the drains are clogged or the furnace has stopped working, our team members are always available to help. 

Contact Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating Today 

Call Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating for 24/7 plumbing and heating services. Members of our dedicated team will immediately be sent to your site. Our highly trained professionals service all of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, they are on-call 24/7, our response team is quick and experienced, ready to help when you need it most. Call 604-449-9913 or visit us today.

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A Notice to Our Customers – COVID-19 Update

As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating remains committed to serving the communities of the Lower Mainland. Based on recommendations from provincial and federal health authorities, we have made some changes to the way we provide service during onsite calls and at our retail store to ensure the health of our customers, technicians, and the communities they live in.

Updates to our business hours and level of service will continue to be provided through our website and social media accounts, and our 24-hour emergency hotline can be called for urgent plumbing and heating repairs at (604) 879-1415.

For more information, please click the button below to visit our dedicated COVID-19 update page.