Most home owners have a plumbing emergency every now and again, despite doing everything they can to avoid them. Sometimes, it’s just the luck of the draw and despite all the preventative measures in the world, you still have to call the emergency plumber on a weekend or public holiday.

This doesn’t mean that you should ignore regular maintenance however, because at the very least you can minimise these problems, and at best, completely avoid them happening. So here are the top plumbing emergencies we see at Red Dog Plumbing, how to avoid them and how to fix them if they do occur.

1. Blocked Toilets

This is a home owner’s worst nightmare and doesn’t make for very happy families. A blocked and overflowing toilet is one of those problems that requires an expert plumber to fix, but there are plenty of ways to avoid this ever happening. First of all, make sure that your children know that it isn’t a good idea to drop toys, shoes, mobile phones and anything else into the toilet bowl. Next, make sure that no-one flushes personal hygiene products, disposable nappies or food down the toilet. If your toilet does become blocked however, you can try these tips, or contact a professional plumber to locate the blockage and repair the damage.

2. Leaky Tap

The best way to prevent a leaking tap is to buy quality tapware and to regularly replace the washers, even if they look intact. Replacing the washers annually will ensure that your taps are unlikely to leak, but if they do, you can call your trusty plumber or simply replace them yourself. Here is a handy guide on fixing a leaky tap but if it seems a bit overwhelming, give us a ring.

3. Cracked Pipes

In Melbourne, these are generally due to tree roots growing around the pipes or damage during construction. Preventative measures include locating all underground pipes prior to digging and removing any trees with roots that might grow around the pipes. Repairs usually require a plumber who has the right type of equipment to locate hidden water leaks, identify the cause and then fix the problem. Trying to do all of this yourself is often hard work and time consuming – so it’s best left to the experts. If you are in charge of a commercial property such as a restaurant, office building or apartment block, don’t feel it’s your direct responsibility to solve plumbing issues. You should hire commercial plumbers to take care of the problem.

4. Blocked Drains

Blocked drains can occur in the toilets, bath, showers and sinks and can be caused by water flow problems, incorrect pipe installations, heavy rain or storms, broken pipes, and debris or foreign objects entering the system. Apart from ensuring that toys, paint, food and other objects are not flushed down the drains, the only other preventative measure is to remove any trees that are known to entangle pipes and drains with their root systems. Otherwise, if you have a blocked drain, your best option is to call in your local plumber to fix the problem.

Similar to blocked drains are blocked gutters. This can be thanks to leaves or other items building up and blocking the water flow. One problem this can cause is roof leaks. Should this happen, hiring a roof plumber is highly recommended. They can identify the leak, assess the problem and look to repair it asap.

5. Gas Leaks

If you have gas bottles or piped gas to your home, you should always be aware of the smell of leaking gas (rotten eggs), so that you can evacuate the building and call your emergency plumber. This is not a DIY fix, because it’s a dangerous situation and must be left to the professionals.

Carbon monoxide is odourless, tasteless and colourless, so gas leaks of this kind can be lethal as there is no way for a normal person to detect them. This means you should be regularly getting a gas heater (or other appliances) serviced every year, at the very least every 2 years. And if you ever feel nauseous or dizzy when running a gas appliance, leave the room immediately, get some fresh air and contact your gas plumber.

For emergency plumbing, call Red Dog Plumbing on 0418 532 134 – 24 hours a day and 7 days a week – we are always on call!