Preventing Plumbing Emergencies

Preventing Plumbing Emergencies

Sometimes plumbing emergencies just happen. They happen to the best of us. They even happen to people with plumbing expertise.  Yes, even plumbers have plumbing problems.  The good news is that there are little things that you can do to help prevent plumbing problems from turning into plumbing disasters.


Of all the different things in your home that use plumbing regularly, research shows that toilets are the most likely to have a plumbing emergency and cause some serious damage to your home. Here are some things that you can do to ensure that your toilet works properly and hopefully prevent any major malfunctions:

  • Make sure that when you flush the toilet. Flush it regularly and make sure that there isn’t anything out of the norm.
  • Be sure that if there is ever a plumbing emergency related to or caused by the toilet that you know where and how to shut off the valve.
  • Check the parts of your toilet that make it work properly on a regular basis.  When you remove the back of the toilet there are four parts, the fill valve, the flapper, the handle and the chain.  If you have never observed them before, remove the back of the toilet and flush it to see how they work.  Check them periodically to ensure that they are in proper working order.
  • Sometimes the toilet will run continuously.  It will sound as though it is constantly filling itself up.  This is usually because the flapper is in need of replacement.  When this happens, if it is not a repair you’re comfortable doing on your own, make sure you get our guys at Hillcrest Plumbing to fix it right away.



Another source of expensive plumbing repairs can be the water supply connections to a sink.  There are a few things to look for to ensure that your sink’s connections are in proper working order.

  • Look for leaks!  Check under the sink at the connectors and look for signs of leaks periodically.  You might notice things like a slow drip or even just corrosion on the pipes that might have been caused by water.
  • Check the lines to ensure that there aren’t any kinks in them if the lines are copper or plastic.
  • Locate and check the functionality of your shut off valve.  It is important to know where the shut off valve is located and also to test it periodically to ensure that it moves freely and is easily operated in the event of a plumbing mishap.

Water Heaters

Did you know that most water heaters will burst or leak before the expected life of the product has expired?  With these containers holding often forty-sixty gallons of water, they can certainly to a lot of damage.  The following are some preventative measures that will help prolong the life of your water heater and prevent major damage from being caused by a leak or burst.

  • Sediment will start to build up in the tank of your water heater, especially if you live in an area where the mineral content is especially high.  The best way to ensure that these things don’t become a problem is to drain the sediment at least twice per year to keep the build up at minimal levels.
  • Also it is a good idea to have the water heater professionally inspected regularly at least once every two to three years.
  • Your water heater has a pressure release valve that should be activated twice a year as well to ensure that should the need for it arise, that it is in proper working condition.


Washing Machines

Water connects from the source to your washing machine through the use of flexible water hoses that are often the source of leaks when it comes to washing machines.  This is one thing that insurance companies are particularly aware of and, as such, they provide a list of guidelines and recommendations as to how these hoses can be properly wrapped so as to prevent significant damage that can be caused by these things leaking.

  • Turning off the water supply valve when the washing machine is not in use is a great way to prevent large leaks, especially when you’re going to be away from the home for extended periods of time.  There is a lever type of valve that can be installed to allow for easier operation turning it on and off.
  • Another way to prevent plumbing emergencies is to make sure that the machine is only on when you’re home.  That way if something were to malfunction, there is someone there to find it and shut the water off.
  • Ensure that there is enough space between the wall and the machine to make sure that there aren’t kinks in any of the hoses.
  • Periodically examine behind the washing machine for leaking water on the floor.
  • Examine the hoses periodically and check for leaks or cracks in the hoses.
  • Make sure that the connectors to the hoses and the faucet are tight, but not too tight.
  • Hoses should be replaced every six months to ensure that they are not being affected by wear and tear of age that could potentially lead to a larger problem.

Sump Pumps

Basements, being the lowest point in the home, are the most susceptible to the damage that can be caused by a flood.  Sump pumps serve as the best defense against the damage that can be caused by flooding.  These easy steps can help to keep your sump pump in excellent operating condition.

  • Regularly remove the lid to the sump pump and check for debris and things that could cause clogging in your system.
  • Periodically inspect the discharge pipe to ensure that it is clear from debris and things that can cause clogging.
  • Test the sump pump regularly by pouring a significant amount of water into it and making sure that it is functioning properly.