Do I Need an Emergency Plumber?

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Posted September 13, 2019

10% of households have plumbing leaks that waste 90 gallons of water per day. Leaky pipes are secretly costing you money because they often go undetected. It isn’t until those small drips become plumbing emergencies when most people jump into action and then need an emergency plumber.

Are you a fix-it person? Taking care of things at home, making some small repairs, and doing some DIY solo-projects is always encouraged. Fixing your own plumbing at home can also be manageable if you limit that to clogged drains, leaky faucets, or upgrading hardware.

There will be a time, though, that you can’t confidently decide whether it is worth diving into a repair alone. It may end up costing you money that you don’t have to correct a mistake that seemed tiny. Spending a little bit more to hire a plumber in Tennessee will take the responsibility and the stress of a screw-up off of your shoulders.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

If you do happen to stumble upon a plumbing problem in the future, know the basics. Please learn how to turn off your water. This goes for
every water valve in your home and the main water line.

You can probably call up a local plumber if researching online or asking relatives don’t help. They should be happy to help you locate and turn off your valves; that’s the most direct form of advertising a plumber could ask for.

There are plenty of things to keep a homeowner busy, from family to career, plumbing isn’t common knowledge. A licensed plumber will get the job done fast, so you can get back to your regularly scheduled program. Before you need to hire a plumber in the event of an emergency, try to figure out the problem.

Knowing the source of the problem will save you time and money, even if you have to call a plumber.

The Dreaded “Leak”

‘Drip drop’ is the sound of money down the drain. A leak is not only a nuisance and a waste of water, but it’s also a symptom. This symptom could indicate a bigger problem later if you don’t fix it.

If you’re not careful, the leak could lead to wood/cabinet damage. Leaks that continue to drip after turning the faucet off indicate worn fittings. A cheap fix may involve replacing the O-ring or washer.

These are fixes that are possible without calling a plumber, but you need to be careful. If you don’t know for certain that these parts are the cause of the leak, don’t do it.

Clogged Drains

The sink gets clogged fairly easily. Rinsing clumps of hair, toothpaste, or not realizing a cap fell inside are common culprits. Usually, these clogs are gradual build-ups and hard to detect.

When you reach the point where water fills up in the sink and takes a few seconds to drain, you’ve got a clog. The good thing with a clogged sink is that it’s not always an emergency. The drain will have a catch if the pipes aren’t three-decades or older.

If you do have an older drain, then you’re going to need a plumbing snake, a plunger, and some free time. You’ll need to use the snake to retrieve any solid pieces, such as toothpaste caps, and clumps of hair. Mixed in with these clumps, you’ll find some unsightly dirt and sediment.

Don’t immediately go for drain cleaners on clogs, they are very toxic and could damage your pipes. This is where having a professional plumber will come in handy. They have the best tools to free clogged pipes.

Clogged Toilets

This is a plumbing emergency that could result in a nasty and embarrassing situation. If the toilet becomes so clogged that you can no longer plunge your way out, you’re best calling a plumber. If flush results in water filled to the brim, don’t force it.

Plunging up human waste that could overflow onto your floors is a real health hazard. The bacteria and contaminants contained in toilet water persist, even when you only see clear water. If any of that water touches your bathroom’s surfaces, you’ll need to sanitize everything.

Preventing a clog is the best way to avoid this plumbing emergency. Don’t flush food, paper towels, or baby wipes down the toilet. These materials don’t break down fast enough to prevent a clog from happening.

You can find “flushable” wipes, but the verdict is that these are still bad for your pipes and the environment.

Frozen and Bursting Pipes

It’s the ultimate plumbing emergency in Tennessee. A pipe has burst due to old age or stress from a winter freeze. This will happen mostly to older homes with iron pipes, but it can happen anywhere.

You should know to care for your pipes during the winter to avoid premature cracks from forming. Water pressure levels also contribute to bursting pipes. New homeowners often overlook this detail. Check the tolerance levels of your pipes to avoid damage over time.

frozen spigot emergency

Emergency Repair Kit

Keep a few tools at your disposal in case there’s a plumbing emergency. You don’t want to get caught with your pants down a-la Tim “The Toolman” Taylor.

Plumber’s Toolbox

With the basics of plumbing under your belt, it’s a good idea to have a toolbox with wrenches and screwdrivers. An adjustable wrench will do the job with a decent set of slip joint pliers. A set of Allen keys will also come in handy for those who know how to use them.


Alongside your toolbox, you’ll need to have a good set of plungers. We recommend having a cup-style and a regular plunger at your disposal. Remember, when it comes to plunging, your technique makes all the difference.

The cup-style plunger is useful for forcing air into the pipe to create pressure and dislodging blocks. The regular plunger is good at creating suction to reverse whatever is jammed up there. For both types, use them in fast, abrupt motions to generate the most force.

If you’re plunging in a rapid up-and-down motion, it’s unlikely that you’ll get any movement. Don’t forget that your plunger is useful beyond the toilet. Use it to unclog the sink, the shower drain, and bathtub drains.

Yes, it’s been in toilet water, but it is highly effective at unclogging any drain in the house. In fact, if you have a second plunger, you can unclog the kitchen sinks in no time. Use the second plunger to keep the second drain covered while you plunge with the other.

Handling Leaks

When it comes to leaks, the best you can do is protect your surroundings. Keep a decent 5-gallon bucket under the sink. You can also find leak-sealing waterproof tape to stop a leak temporarily.

Remember, the tape is only buying you time, you should fix the pipe asap. Once that tape wears off, the leak will probably worsen and you’ll have a bigger problem.

Shut It Down

Rule number one for any plumbing problem: shut off the main water valve. Learn how to turn off the water heater, too. Near every fixture, you’ll have individual shutoff valves, if the problem is isolated.

These valves can falter over time, so check them every couple of years. The same goes for your washing machine. The hoses and valves need routine maintenance, especially during the summer when usage is higher.

Your Plumbing Emergencies Checklist

These are prerequisites to hiring a quality plumber in Tennessee, for plumbing emergencies and maintenance:

1. Make Sure They are Licensed

It might not be worth the savings if you find a plumber that is going off of reputation alone. They need to have a Limited Licensed Plumbers license or CMC to do business in the state of Tennessee.

2. They Must Have Insurance

Insurance protects the plumber and your property in case there is a major accident or injury. You might as well hire a family member if you’re paying for a plumber that isn’t insured.

3. Are They Experienced?

Don’t hire a plumber that has only been in business for a year. It’s too hard to gauge their level of skill and chances are they won’t have a ton of ratings if they are listed online. The longer they have been in business, the higher the likelihood that your plumbing issue will be fixed fast and professionally.

4. Get Solid Estimates

If you call up a plumber in Tennessee and he comes down and gives
you some wishy-washy estimate, steer clear. If it’s filled with terms that you have no clue what they mean, then chances are good that whatever estimate he hands you will not hold up to the final bill.

This is common practice, unfortunately, in most mechanical and skilled labor
services. The best advice is to get multiple estimates before deciding on a plumber, then you can get a good idea of who could be yanking your chain.

5. Get a Warranty

Every plumber should be able to stand by their work and their parts that they use with a warranty. A one year warranty is industry standard, with optional upgrades.

6. Get Reviews and References

Experienced plumbers should be happy to tell you their references and, ideally, have a website where you can read customer reviews. Listen to these personal testimonials before you commit.

7. Emergency Numbers on Speed Dial

Once you have worked out who will provide your plumbing services, make it easy to call them. Put their number in your phone, write it on the fridge, tell your partner about them. Add the number to your water company, too, just in case the emergency goes beyond your property.

8. Label Shutoff Valves

If you’ve memorized where your main and individual shutoff valves are: congratulations. This is half the battle when it comes to plumbing emergencies. Make it easy for everyone else in your house by taking some colored take and wrapping it near these valves.

The faster you can get the water shut off, the less potential damaged caused in an emergency.

9. Keep a Clear Head

It’s easier said than done, but if the toilet is turned into a sewer volcano, you have to stay calm. Breathe through your mouth and out your nose. Don’t panic, it’s the worse you can during any major plumbing emergencies

People lose their tempers and cause more damage when they’re being reactive instead of proactive.

10. Open Windows and Protect Property

After shutting off all the valves, gather any items you can’t afford to get wet. Don’t do this while the situation is unfolding, take care of the leak first. The more frantic you are, the more likely you’ll forget something.

When you’re able to get ahead of a plumbing situation, start thinking about ventilation. Any sort of leak, toilet overflow, or clogged drain will need to air out. Open all the windows, turn on the A/C, ventilation fan, and any other fans you have.

Depending on how severe the water damage is, you may need to hire professionals to completely dry your walls/floors.

plumber fixing sink

Residential and Commercial Plumbing Repairs

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into preparing for plumbing emergencies. If you plan ahead and educate yourself on the basics, you’ll avoid costly damage. Of course, the unexpected does happen, especially older buildings and large commercial buildings.

At Hiller, we can handle any job, big or small, residential or business. Hiller Plumbing has been in business since 1990, serving Nashville, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Goodlettsville, Bowling Green, Knoxville, Cookeville, Memphis, Columbia, Dickson, Jackson, and Huntsville, and surrounding areas. Our expert team of emergency plumbers know how to handle any home or business emergency.

The first step to fixing a plumbing problem is preventing it from happening in the first place. Our comprehensive maintenance membership takes care of repairs, installations, and upgrades to your current plumbing.

Say goodbye to faulty and inadequate plumbing by contacting us today.

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