In A Plumbing Emergency? Here’s What To Do.


Drain Clogs, Basement Floods and Leaky Sinks…Oh My!

Stressed out by a plumbing emergency that’s halted life as usual?

We’re here to tell you that inconvenient plumbing issues can be the best-case scenario…if you take the right steps to fix them quickly and safely.

Worst-case scenarios, on the other hand, occur when problems go unchecked, causing extensive damage to your home and belongings.

Professional residential repairs are the best way to ensure that you fix current issues and prevent future ones to keep your family and dwelling safe.

Whether it’s pipe or drain troubles, get a quick fix on the problem and help your emergency plumbers by taking the following steps:

Step One: Call an Emergency Plumber

  • As soon as a plumbing emergency is detected, take the proper steps in ensuring immediate safety by following the steps below while you dial a plumber.
  • In severe emergencies, a plumber can tell you exactly what to do and whether you and your family need to leave your home.
  • In lighter emergencies, it is still a good idea to get in touch with a professional and schedule an appointment as soon as possible while doing what you can on your end to prevent further damage.

Step Two: Turn Off Your Water

  • Small, isolated leaks: Turn off water at the source (valves behind toilets and under sinks)
  • Large leaks and flooding: Turn off main water valve to your home. You can tell the valve is off when it is perpendicular to the pipe.

Step Three: Check Your Water Heater

  • If you experience a major plumbing emergency, it can be a good idea to turn off your water heater to prevent overheating or any other damage that may occur.
  • For gas heaters, be sure to turn the gas off first.

Step Four: Tend to Small Leaks

  • Stop or decrease small leaks by applying plumbers tape to problem area.
  • Place bucket under leak to collect water or rags to soak up excess leakage.
  • Keep track of leaks so that you can relay this info to your plumber when he or she arrives.

Step Five: Open Spigots & Remove Clogs

  • There will still be resting water in your pipes even though you’ve turned off the main water valve.
  • Remove it by opening outdoor spigots and turning on your hose that water is moved away from the house.
  • When experiencing clogs, tackle drains with a plumber. Do not use chemical clog removers at all in this process.

Top Plumbing Emergencies in Michigan, What They Mean and What You Can do.

1. Frozen Pipes

Michigan winters are brutal on pipes. Though there’s nothing you can do about mother nature, there are proper steps you can take once her wrath has targeted your plumbing.

When dealing with frozen pipes, the first thing to do is to survey them, looking for damage such as cracks, breaks or splits. If you see any, call your emergency plumber immediately.

If there is no damage, try running a blow dryer on the low heat setting over the pipe evenly, without focusing on one specific area, to begin thawing. Do not use an open flame.

Protect pipes from cold-weather conditions by:

  • Disconnecting hoses and other attachments.
  • Insulating them.
  • Turning up the heat.
  • Opening cabinets or pipe enclosures to generate some warm air over them.
  • Turning off water in winter homes when you are not living there.

2. Leaky Faucets

We all know the rhythmic tick-tock of a leaky faucet well, though it’s not music to our ears.

If one of your faucets has a slow leak, there isn’t necessarily a reason to call a plumber immediately, but you should make a note of it just in case it is the start of a bigger issue.

To tackle a small drip, try tightening the direct water valve with your hands or a wrench. If you are not familiar with valve work, consider calling a plumber as too much force can cause breakage, which would lead to a much bigger problem than a simple faucet leak.

3. Running or Leaky Toilets

Always keep a plunger handy as toilet clogs are extremely common and plague all of us at some point or another. Luckily, most clogs can be handled with a few gentle pumps of a plunger.

If you try this method and it isn’t working, it’s time to call a plumber. Never pour chemical clog removers down your toilet as they can harm your pipes and you.

Running toilets are another common household issue. If you are experiencing that annoying, endless noise, shut off the water valve and remove the top of the tank from the back of the toilet to see if you can spot where the problem is.

Check all of the elements to see if fiddling with the flapper or seal will solve the issue. You could also make a quick trip to the hardware store as most carry repair kits that are brand specific.

If your toilet is leaking and water is puddling around the base, shut off the water valve and call a plumber.

4. Clogs

If you are experiencing slow, but complete drainage, try gentle plunging to resolve the issue. If this doesn’t dislodge the clog, you can use a chemical drain cleaner, depending on the area and severity.

Chemical cleaners are okay as a seldom-used solution on clogs in homes with newer pipes. If you choose to use a drain cleaner, make sure that it is one meant for the specific type of drain and clog. Avoid using them for toilet clogs.

If you are not sure about your setup or none of these DIY solutions work, it is time to give your plumber a call.

Slow draining water or stagnant water are signs of bad clogs in your pipes. If water is pumping back into your home from the drain, this can be a sign of sewage backup. In both scenarios, immediately call an emergency plumber, turn off water and cease use of the area.

5. Disposals

Disposals see a lot of action so they often act up. Most problems are minor and can be fixed in a few short steps.

If your disposal is whirring, but not running, it has likely shut off. Many models come with an automatic shut-off feature should a blockage occur. To fix this, find the reset button the base of your unit and push it until it pops out.

If you are familiar with the inner workings of your unit and the reset did not work, you can clear the clog yourself. (We don’t recommend this for everyone).

To tackle the clog, grab an Allen wrench that fits the button on your unit. Turning it left and right will move the disposal blades, causing any blockage to clear. You can then grab dislodged items with a pair of tongs. Run cold water through your unit, press the reset button mentioned above and try running the disposal again with the cold water on.

If none of this works, switch the Allen wrench for the phone and give your plumber a call.

6. Scalding Water

If you notice extremely hot water coming out of your sinks or shower, you probably have a water heater issue. Overheating can be dangerous for you and your family, especially when the water coming out of your faucets is hot enough to cause burns.

If you’re experiencing this, turn off your water heater and run the hot water faucets throughout your home (if you can safely touch them) so that all of the heat will drain out, leaving cold water. Immediately call a professional to come and inspect the issue.

7. Leaky Water Heaters

A leaky heater is not a good sign. If your drip pan is over-filling and you’re sure it’s your heater leaking and not a drainage issue, do the following:

  • Call a local plumber and schedule an appointment.
  • Shut off the water line that delivers water to your unit.The valve should be located on the side or top of your heater.
  • You may want to turn off the main water valve to the house, as well.
  • Shut off your heater at the circuit breaker for electric (then unplug it from the wall) or by turning off the gas line connection for gas heaters.
  • Sweep water away from your heater and attach a hose to the drainage valve at the bottom to drain it.

If you are unsure how to complete any of these steps, tell the plumber on the phone your exact issue and see if he or she can walk you through specific steps safely to prepare for his/her arrival.

8. Foul Waste Smells

If your water is smelling rotten, you may be facing a sewage leak. You need to immediately call a plumber as this is a sign that your septic tank, sump pump or drainage isn’t working properly.

Trying to handle this on your own can put you at risk of contamination from hazardous elements. It’s best to get a professional inspection as soon as possible.

In a Plumbing Emergency, WaterWork Should be Your First Call.

WaterWork’s professional emergency plumbers are ready to handle any issue you throw their way. Our team handles all of the common problems mentioned above plus many more residential and commercial plumbing issues.

We know that it’s critical to respond immediately to emergencies so we’re on call 24/7 to address repairs, as well as to handle speedy replacements and/or installations.

WaterWork Plumbing may be a small company, but we offer the same top-of-the-line service that the big guys do – without the big price. Our number one priority is ensuring that you are satisfied.

Stay on top of plumbing maintenance and care year-round with our free seasonal checklist.