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Is a clogged drain an emergency?

kitchen sink with a clogged drain

Identifying Plumbing Emergencies

Today, we take indoor plumbing in our homes for granted, but even by 1940, only half of the homes had indoor plumbing. By today’s expectations and standards, we must wonder what and when homeowners determined they had a need for emergency plumbing repair. The plumbing emergency examples of today are probably different than they were in 1940.

Plumbing emergency examples of today would be any of the following: 

  • A flooding risk because of a busted pipe, failed sump pump, a backed-up sewer line, or a broken shut-off valve can all create an emergency plumbing repair need. Flood damage can leave a home at a safety risk and structural damage risk if left unattended. 
  • A sewer backup can create a health hazard for incoming water even though the sewer line is for outgoing. When the sewer line is backed up, it can crossover to the incoming and contaminate the water source making it an emergency plumbing repair job needed. 
  • Not having any running water can be a safety issue because you cannot bathe, cook, clean, or use the facilities without running water, making it feasible for emergency plumbing repairs. 
  • Busted water pipe risk facilitates emergency plumbing repair for frozen pipes, faucets, and/or spigots. These frozen components can burst when the frozen water expands, and the pipes crack. Then as the water thaws, the water will flow from the cracks, putting your home at flood risk inside and outside. 

Is a small leak an emergency?

No, but it shouldn’t be forgotten or ignored either. Over time, a small leak can cause a lot of structural damage in addition to increasing the water bill. If you’re unable to do your own repair, wait for a business day during normal business hours to call a plumber if none of the above descriptions fit the situation. Save your money for emergency plumbing repair phone calls for an actual emergency.

Do plumbers come at night?

Yes, there are plumbers that offer 24/7 service calls, including in the middle of the night, on a holiday, or on a weekend. They will assess the issue and problem you’re having and either provide a permanent fix or temporary fix if they need additional parts not available at that time. An experienced plumber will offer advice and suggestions on how to avoid the issue or problem again along with advice hot to clean up any water in the aftermath of the emergency plumbing repair. 

How long does it take for an emergency plumber to come out?

It can vary based on where you live, the surrounding area, and how many other emergency plumbing repair service calls they have ahead of yours. Most emergency plumbers arrive within 30 minutes, but it can take up to 2 hours. 

Should I call a plumber for a running toilet?

Well, that depends on how handy you are with basic tools and the understanding of the tank’s internal parts. There are many different moving parts inside the tank and several problems can happen. The following are issues best left to a professional plumber but keep in mind, that the rates for emergency plumbers will be as much as three times their normal rates. If the problem can wait till a business day during business hours, you should: 

Water Around the Toilet Base: If water is accumulating around the base, mop it up and then leave some paper towels there to see if any more water leaks. If the front of the toilet stays try, but water is behind it, check the connections and make sure they are tight. If there is still water leaking from the base, the wax ring needs to be replaced and while it isn’t an emergency plumbing repair, it should be replaced by a plumber. 

Running Water: If the water keeps running inside the tank or the bowl after a flush, it is probably the tank ball not setting on the valve seal correctly. This is often something you can adjust yourself, but if that doesn’t stop the running water, call a plumber. 

close-up of an overflowing kitchen sink with a clogged drain

Closing Advice 

As a homeowner, it is important for the stability of your home that you know ahead of time, how to find an emergency plumber and when to call an emergency plumber. By scheduling routine plumbing maintenance with a plumber, you can have their number on your speed dial and not be in a panic to find a plumber for your emergency plumbing repairs. 

It is also important that you know what to do in a plumbing emergency, starting by knowing where the main water shut-off is located and having access to that valve. When you have a toilet or sink overflowing, knowing where and how to shut the water off is key to minimizing the damage that flooding can cause. 

Will a garbage disposal clog your pipes?

repairs being done to a broken garbage disposal

Dealing With Clogs

The only thing that can be worse in a kitchen besides burnt popcorn or non-working garbage disposal is a clogged drain. And when you have two of the three at one time, it can be devastating. The burnt popcorn odor will evaporate eventually, but does the clogged drain mean you have plumbing issues, or do you need help such as garbage disposal repair?

Can I use the sink if the garbage disposal is broken?

To answer that, we should explain a little about how a garbage disposal works in conjunction with the sink drain. The dishwasher and disposal share the drain line. So, all the food debris you wash off the dishes into the garbage disposal is going into the same drain line the other side of the sink drains into. 

However, you can still use your kitchen sink, with some limitations. Broken garbage disposal will still allow greywater from the dishwasher to drain if the problem with the disposal is electrical or mechanical. However, if the garbage disposal is having problems with the drain, you should avoid using the sink until the garbage disposal repairs are completed. 

What would cause a garbage disposal to stop working?

Garbage disposals are as complex as it may seem, but there can be a number of reasons why it isn’t working. Some common garbage disposal problems are: 

1. A unit that doesn’t turn on, which could be a quick garbage disposal repair you can do yourself. Turn the unit off, then make sure the unit is plugged in, check the breaker, and then press the reset button. If all this is in proper working order and the unit still won’t turn on, call a professional for garbage disposal repair. 

2. If the unit is jammed, it will make a humming sound, but the blades won’t turn. This is another possible DIY garbage disposal repair you can try.  Turn the unit off at the switch and the breaker box, then while wearing work gloves, reach down the drain and see if you can free the blades of what is stopping them. It could be an item such as a dishrag, a small lid, or a utensil. It could also be clogged by any of the following being washed down the unit: 

  • Fats, grease, and cooking oil
  • Starchy and stringy vegetables
  • Eggshells
  • Fruit pits and seeds
  • Large bones
  • Non-food materials 
  • Too much of anything

3. A slow draining garbage disposal could be because the blades aren’t breaking down the food as they should. This will take a professional garbage disposal repair service to inspect the unit. Depending on the age of the unit, it may need to be replaced. 

4. Foul odors coming from garbage disposal is usually food particles stuck to the blades. You can avoid this by grinding lemon or lime wedges with ice in the unit every so often.  For immediate help, pour half a cup of baking powder into the garbage disposal followed by half a cup of vinegar. Wait 10 minutes then pour boiling water into the unit. If these efforts don’t help the odor, there is something down the drain line and you’ll need a professional plumber to inspect this possibility. 

 5. Grinding noises like metal on metal coming from garbage disposal is loud and frightening! Usually, the problem is because something is stuck, causing the parts to move incorrectly. Turn the unit off and unplug it, then reach in there. If you don’t find anything, you’ll need a professional garbage disposal repair service. 

6. A leaking garbage disposal can be an easy garbage disposal repair. There isn’t much to know about how to repair a leaking garbage disposal, simply replace the O-ring and then tighten the parts. If the unit is leaking from the sink flange, this will need a professional garbage disposal repair service. 

Is my garbage disposal clogged or broken?

Clogged garbage will be extremely noisy but isn’t grinding the food you scraped into the unit. If the unit starts and stops, or doesn’t turn on at all, then it is probably burned out. If you don’t find obvious clogging problems, then the unit may need to be replaced.  Calling a professional to inspect the unit is recommended. 

How do you know if your garbage disposal motor is burnt out?

It isn’t uncommon for a garbage disposal to shut off when it is jammed, which happens when you’ve overloaded with food or a foreign object. This jamming reaction can cause the circuit breaker to trip and shut the unit off. This doesn’t mean the garbage disposal unit is burnt out though. To see if the unit is jammed, the following steps are how to repair a garbage disposal jam: 

  • There is a hex wrench on every garbage disposal, usually located on the bottom of the unit. Insert the wrench and move it back & forth. This will sometimes clear a jam. 
  • If that didn’t help it, on the bottom or side of the unit is a red breaker button. Push it repeatedly and see if the unit starts. 
  • If these two steps didn’t start the unit, check the breaker panel to confirm there is still power to the garbage disposal. If it has flipped, flip it back in position and then follow steps one and two again and try the unit. 

If none of these worked, it is time to replace the unit. You can have a professional garbage disposal repair inspection first, but if the motor is burnt out, it needs to be replaced.

close-up of a leaking garbage disposal under a sink

Grinding To A Close 

How do you fix a broken garbage disposal? We’ve reviewed several ways to do your own garbage disposal repairs. If these are unsuccessful, or you aren’t a DIY person, calling a professional is recommended.

What Can Cause a Pipe to Burst?

broken pipe with frozen ice surrounding it

Pipe Burst Causes

Remember the snow apocalypse of February 2020 here in Texas? But this past February, we were hit with a snowstorm we’re not accustomed to, and the temps were down to zero and below for days.  This created a mess with power lines down and burst pipe repairs for weeks afterward. 

Can a pipe burst from freezing?

Homeowners in this area around Ft. Worth, Texas know to wrap outside water pipes and make sure interior pipes are insulated. Yet, here we were, many of us without electricity and with frozen water pipes. How did that happen?  

Well, as water freezes, its volume expands by 9%, and as it freezes, the frozen water displaces the running water. This increases the pressure inside the pipe exponentially and when this ice, or frozen water, is like that for too long, the water pipe will burst. 

With that, we’re left with burst pipe repairs needed because we’re left with an immense amount of water flowing and pouring out. If you don’t know where the main water shut-off is, more problems are being created.

So, is a burst pipe an emergency?

Yes, a pipe bursting in your home definitely qualifies as a plumbing emergency. Why? A water leak creates damage to your home. The longer a burst pipe repair isn’t done, the more damage it creates, leading to expensive and extensive repairs. It also is giving time for mildew and mold to start and spread. 

How bad is a burst pipe?

When burst pipe repairs aren’t done, even the smallest pipe burst will become major pipe damage. A busted pipe can flood homes, leaving behind all types of damage, including the ceiling, floors, walls, as well as electronics, furniture, and personal belongings, keep reading what you could expect: 

  • The Walls:  First, without immediate burst pipe repairs, the water will damage the exterior and interior walls, and inside the walls. This exposes the electricity in the walls to water, increasing the chance of fire. The wall structure becomes saturated with water, making it weak and vulnerable. 
  • The Ceilings: If the second floors have a burst pipe, repair isn’t done right away, that water saturates the floors and into the lower floors ceiling, damaging light fixtures, insulation, and supporting beams. 
  • The Flooring: A burst pipe will flood the flooring, and carpeting, tile, and wood are damaged or ruined. The flooring will crack, warp, and mildew, leading to mold growth and causing odors and a health hazard is burst pipe repairs aren’t quick enough.
  • The Interior: When pipe burst repairs take too long, the accumulated water in each room will saturate the furniture, the upholstery, and anything in the water’s path. The electrical outlets are exposed to water and can short out, as will any electronics that are plugged into the outlets. 
  • Mold Growth: The evil of all evil things with a burst pipe. Repair should be done as quickly as possible, including drying out anything the water has saturated or creates a breeding ground for mold. Mold is a health hazard, especially for those with breathing issues like asthma or other lung conditions. 

How to tell if you have a burst pipe?

The following six things could indicate that you need burst pipe repairs, the sooner the better: 

1 –WATER PRESSURE

If there is a significant change in water pressure for your morning shower, or the water coming out of any faucet has decreased, you could need burst pipe repairs somewhere within your home’s plumbing system. 

2 –WATERMARKS

If you see watermarks on the ceilings or walls, this is often an indication of a burst pipe. Repairs should be done quickly before it creates more damage to the structure of your home. 

3 –DEPRESSIONS OR SOFT PATCHES 

When the need for an exterior or underground burst pipe repair has gone ignored for too long, it leads to water puddles forming in the yard. This creates damp areas in the yard, any paved areas begin to crack, sink and become unstable, and the lawn in certain spots will flourish to a dark, rich green. Any of these things are reasons to call a professional plumber to inspect the plumbing for possible burst pipe repairs. 

4 –STRANGE ODORS AND SMELL

When water comes out of the faucets discolored or has a strange odor, it could be from the water heater has sediment build-up or from rusty pipes that have busted.

5 –NOISY PIPES

There are several reasons why water pipes can start having loud noises when the faucet is turned on, and one reason could because of the water pressure. When there is a shock wave with high water pressure, then causes the valve to suddenly close and create a whistling noise or a hammering sound.

Mineral deposits in the aerator, faulty washers on the faucets, scale buildup, high water pressure, and other plumbing system faults can cause these noises too. If you’re hearing banging, rattling, or dripping sounds, this often indicates the need for burst pipe repairs and should be inspected by a plumber immediately. 

6 –WATER BILL

If your water bill has suddenly spiked but your water usage habits haven’t changed, you could have a running toilet or faucets dripping. If not, then you probably need burst pipe repair. 

How do you fix a burst pipe?

With this information, you’ll know how to fix a busted water pipe with just soldering equipment, no welding necessary. 

  • Locate the main water line valve and shut the water off. 
  • Open water fixtures on the lower level of your home. This drains any water in the lines and relieves pressure from building up.
  • With a pipe cutter, remove the busted pipe by rotating the pipe cutter around the pipe. As it gradually tightens, it will cut the pipe. With steel wool or sandpaper, remove any burrs off the pipe ends. Position a bucket under the area you cut to catch any water still in the line.
  • Temporarily remove the small screw (the petcock) from the valve. The valve should be installed with the arrow pointing in the same direction the water flows.
  • Cut the appropriate length of copper pipe with a small amount of extra, this will assure a good fitting.
  • Using sandpaper or steel wool, clean inside the pipe end and inside the valve.
  • Spread soldering flux to the pipe end exterior and inside the valve fitting.
  • Slide the valve fitting on the end of the pipe.
  • With safety goggles on, heat the fitting with a propane torch when the fitting and pipe connections. 
  • Push around two inches of solder in the joint at the valve connection to the pipe. The solder will melt from the heat and seep into the connection. Solder all the way around the pipe-valve connection. 
  • With the same technique, solder the new assembly to the waterline. 
  • Replace the petcock (small screw) and open the main water line. Check for any leaks. 

How much does it cost to repair a burst pipe?

There isn’t a flat rate for burst pipe repairs. Depending on what pipe has busted, and where it is busted, the repair can cost as much as $200 per foot. Each plumber will have different rates.  If it is an emergency burst pipe repair, expect to pay more for after-hours. 

How long does a burst pipe take to fix?

Again, it will depend on the damage and the location of the burst pipe repair, but on average, between 2 and 3 hours. 

Does insurance cover a burst water pipe?

Typical homeowner insurance policies cover the cleaning caused by water damage. The burst pipe repairs may be covered if caused by pipes freezing. However, if the heat to the home was turned off, insurance claims for clean-up will likely be declined. 

Does homeowner’s insurance cover sewer line repair?

close-up of a sewer line being repaired

The Dangers of Damaged Sewer Lines

Well, who pays for sewer line repairs? That is a common question and often one of the biggest concerns for homeowners. Is sewer line repair covered by homeowners’ insurance? For a homeowner, electrical and plumbing repairs can get expensive, and both are necessities for any household. 

A damaged sewage system can cause destruction to floors, furniture, walls, and personal belongings. Sometimes, adding to those expenses is the expense and inconvenience of being displaced during a sewer line repair. 

It would be nice to know that all that expense isn’t going to come out of your household budget, right? Sadly,  sewer line repair or replacement is typically not included in the standard homeowner insurance policy. However, some homeowner insurance providers do offer add-ons to the policy for damages from sewer or water backup. It may be worth the added expense, which is something each homeowner needs to determine.

How do I know if my main sewer line is clogged?

As a homeowner, it is imperative that you keep watch over important things in and around your home. Things like sewer line repair is important, so a policy of sooner rather than later and noticing a blocked sewer line is essential for your home. There are four warning signs of a blocked or clogged main sewer line you can keep in mind.

If you have multiple backed-up drains such as any of the following, you probably need sewer line repair or replacement: 

  • Bathtub
  • Shower
  • Sinks
  • Toilets

If you notice sewage standing or draining from the sewer cleanout, you need sewer line repair or replacement. The sewer cleanout is a pipe directly connected to the main sewer line of your home. This allows a  plumber to get direct access for clearing most blockages. This sewer cleanout is typically found just outside the house or in a basement and will be round or rectangular with a cap over it.

If the main sewer line is clogged, the sewage and wastewater is sitting in the pipes because it can’t escape and flow on through the sewer line, so it finds other ways to escape. This is usually a secondary drain which you will find coming up in a floor drain or backing up in a shower or tub, drains that are close to the floor and is an indication you need sewer line repair or replacement

When water is backing up in random places, like flushing the toilet causes water to back up into a shower or tub in the bathroom, or the tub fills up when the washing machine drains, you probably will need sewer line repair or replacement.

How do I unclog my main sewer line?

First, when you aren’t sure how to unclog the main sewer line, try some home remedies first. A mixture of 1/3 cup of vinegar and 1/3 cup of baking soda can be poured into each drain and left to sit for three to five minutes. Then pour hot water into the drain. This will often break up any grease, grime, and hair that may be in the drains. 

Can I snake my own sewer line?

Yes, if that process doesn’t clear the sewer line, then follow these steps using an auger or plumber’s snake: 

Step 1: Loosen the drain pipe cap.

Step 2: Feed the auger or plumber’s snake cable into the drainpipe by turning the handle

Step 4: The cable will stop when it hits the clog. Keep forcing the cable so it will push the clog on through, or when you pull it out of the drain, the clog mass may be on the end of the cable. 

Step 5: With the outdoor water hose in the pipe, turn the water on and slowly pull the cable or snake out. 

Step 6: Wash the cable or snake off with the outside water hose, replace the cap. 

If this doesn’t get your drain clear, you’ll need to call a professional plumber for sewer line repair or replacement. 

How do you repair a broken sewer line?

Determining the difference between a clogged drain or a broken sewer line can be difficult. Both can emit a foul odor, but a broken sewer line can create health issues. The sooner you can determine it is a sewer line problem and get sewer line repairs done, the better. There are four steps toward getting sewer lines cleared or sewer line repairs made: 

Unclog the Drain

There are several reasons a drain or sewer line becomes clogged. The common causes are hair, kitchen grease and oil, and soap scum. When all of this accumulates, it can be eliminated with a basic household plunger or a plumber’s snake sometimes, if the clog is small and in the drain line. Sometimes, it is bigger clog and requires a plumber’s snake or auger. If you’re unable to get the clog cleared yourself, you’ll need to call a professional plumber who will either get the clog cleared or advise you that you need sewer line repair or replacement. 

Locate the Pipe

Knowing the location of the sewer line is needed to either unclog or have the sewer line repaired. This may require gaining access to the basement or crawl space under the house. For a home with a slab foundation, it can be more challenging to find the clogged pipe, which will require a professional plumber. Once they have identified where the clogged pipe is, they can proceed with either a sewer line repair or replacement. 

Evaluate any Damage

A professional plumber can help assess what sewer line damage exists and determine how to clear any clogs or tell you what sewer line repairs are needed. 

Sewer Line Repair or Replacement 

Sometimes with a broken sewer line, repairing the pipe is possible. Sometimes the line is damaged so badly that replacing it is the only option, a common occurrence with older homes with mature trees around. A new technology called trenchless sewer line replacement is a less invasive method that replaces the existing broken sewer line without all the digging or jackhammering. It forms a new pipe within the broken pipe and can last up to 50 years or longer. 

How long does it take to repair a broken sewer line?

Most sewer line repairs can be done within a few hours. Depending on the location and severity of the broken sewer line, repairs can take three to five days or longer. Can you repair your own sewer line? Yes, you can, but you’ll have no guarantee if there are any issues later on. Doing your own sewer line repair or replacement is possible, but you should understand that it is dirty and hard work. And if you dig in the wrong area, you could cause more damage. 

How do I find the sewer line in my yard?

It is imperative to identify where the sewer lines are located before you have a sewer line problem. Four suggestions on how to find your sewer line are: 

  • The Previous Owner

This should be obvious, but when you’re buying a home, there is a lot of activity going on and asking these simple questions isn’t always on your mind. If you are selling your home, make it a point to provide this information to the realtor and/or the buyer. 

  • Find the Septic Tank

If your home has a septic tank, follow the sewer lines coming out of your home. This should take you to the septic tank.  

  • Check the Local Municipality

A trip to the local municipality offices and request a copy of the plat showing all of the underground lines. 

  • Check, and Then Dig

Check the basement or crawlspace for where the drain line exits. Once you find one pipe and determine it is a drain pipe, follow that pipe (should be a larger pipe) until it exits. Then follow it out past your home should take you to the sewer line. 

close-up of a sewer line repair

A Final Word of Caution

So, you find you have a broken sewer line, is a broken sewer line dangerous? Yes!  A broken sewer pipe can release harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, even pinworms. These are things that can affect the digestive tract, possibly infecting your family with amoebiasis, cholera, hepatitis A, or jaundice from the bacteria contained in raw sewage.

How do I know I have a broken water heater?

water heater in a modern bathroom

Got any hot water?

One of the best ways to know you have a broken water heater is get in the shower one morning and to find there is absolutely no hot water. But that could also happen if somebody used all the hot water up with their shower, or doing laundry, or even running the dishwasher. So that leaves you asking, “How do I know my water heater is broken then?”

Signs to Watch Out For

Every appliance has a limited lifetime these days, including water heaters. Fortunately, if you pay attention, there are indicators that a broken water heater is your future before it breaks. There are some situations in which repairs can be made and other times, you’ll need to replace the unit. An experienced plumber can inspect your water heater and advise you on which scenario you’re facing. But take note of three common indicators you possibly have a broken water heater on your hands. 

Visible Corrosion

Water heater tanks are typically made from steel, and steel is susceptible to corrosion and rust. When you start seeing rust flakes coming from the faucets, corrosion, and rust around the PRV (pressure release valve) and connections, it is time to replace your water heater. 

Lukewarm Water

A water heater that has a malfunctioning heating element or thermostat might only give you lukewarm water. This will usually happen over a gradual period of time, so you can have a plumber inspect the unit if it seems to be headed in that direction. Replacing the dip tube may fix it, but chances are, you have a broken water heater and need to replace it. 

Leaking Heaters

There are times that, unfortunately, a water heater will simply quit, and all the water will leak from the tank. Hopefully, your water heater is in the garage where it won’t make a big mess or cause a lot of damage. Regardless of where your water heater is, when this happens, you definitely have a broken water heater. 

What are the signs your water heater is going out?

In addition to the things we mentioned above, like the water coming out brownish or reddish, the water not getting very hot and staying hot, and water leaking from the tank or PRV (pressure release valve), there are some indicators that you should replace your water heater. Take note of these factors.

The Age

A quality water heater in an area with good water and one that’s has the recommended maintenance performed (flushing the tank) can give you 20 years. However, most water heaters will begin showing their age at 10 to 12 years. The serial number on the tank will tell you when the water heater was manufactured if you aren’t sure how old the unit is. 

Strange Sounds

A water heater that is popping or rumbling is telling you that it is on its way to becoming a broken water heater. The older water heaters get, the noisier they get from the build-up of minerals and sediment inside the tank. As these build up, they become thicker and harder, and the water heater takes more energy to heat the water. The unit will be less efficient and the components inside the tank and connected to the tanks wear out. 

Expensive Repairs

A regular water heater tune-up isn’t that expensive. It will usually include flushing the tank and checking that all the connections are tight. If your water heater needs repairs as it ages, you need to consider the cost of the repairs and its age versus the cost of replacing the unit. 

Do you know what to do when a water heater breaks?

It is the worst-case scenario for a homeowner – Walking into the garage early one morning and finding the floor underwater. Yup, you have a broken water heater. So what do you do? 

  • Stop the Flow of Water – Find the cold water supply pipe, which comes from the main water line and to the top of the water heater. If the water heater is working, the water will turn off at this point because the tank is full. However, in this scenario, with a broken water heater, the water is flowing out of the tank, so this cold water line is still filling the tank with more water. Turn this connection off to stop the flow of water.
  • Turn Off the Power – If you have a broken water heater that keeps running, it will burn the heating element up, and possibly cause the tank to catch on fire, and in the worst possible cases even explode. Flip the breaker off to the water heater if it is electric and for a gas water heater, turn the gas off at the water heater. 
  • Cleanup – For anything that isn’t damaged, remove it from the area to prevent it from getting damaged. Take pictures and make notes of everything that is damaged. Then with a shop vac (wet/dry vacuum), clean up any standing water. If you have a humidifier, let it run in the area where the water heater is located to minimize any mildew or mold growth. 
  • File an Insurance Claim – Contact your homeowner’s insurance agent and file a claim even if you don’t feel there is any loss. An expert team of restoration specialists will inspect the area and situation and determine what, if any, damage is present. Keep the old water heater for their inspection as well even if you have replaced it with a new one. 

Is a broken water heater an emergency?

Just like any broken appliance, a broken water heater can be an emergency with various risks, mainly water damage. If you find yourself standing in water that’s ankle-deep, that water is soaking into the floor, creating an environment perfect for mildew and mold growth. This does become an emergency service at that point to prevent the growth that can be hazardous to your health. While it is a rarity, a broken water heater can be deadly if the tank builds up the pressure inside and the PRV malfunctions.

Why did my water heater burst?

When a water heater has any excess pressure in the tank, it can cause the unit to explode. Three possible causes are a bad anode rod, excessive sediment buildup, or a gas leak. 

Can a broken water heater cause a high electric bill?

Yes – at the most, a water heater may last fifteen years. Each year it gets older, the efficiency declines, and that can cause the energy bill to increase. Another issue that can cause the energy bill to increase is a water heater that is the wrong size. The sizes recommended for water heaters are: 

  • 1 to 2 people – 30-gallon tank 
  • 3 to 4 people – 40-gallon tank 
  • 4 to 5 people – 50-gallon tank 

One of the most common causes for the water heater to increase your energy bills is the temperature. When set too high, it will reflect on your energy bills. The Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) suggests a setting of 120ºF to be sufficient for most households. 

Can a broken water heater cause carbon monoxide?

Yes, and so can a working water heater. An improperly installed water heater will cause a carbon monoxide leak and so will blocked vents. In either case, whether you have a perfectly working or broken water heater, this can leak carbon monoxide poisoning. 

view of water heater in a basement

Wrapping Things Up – How much does it cost to fix a broken water heater?

As with anything, it will depend on the make, model, what is wrong, and if any parts need to be replaced. The national average for repairing a broken water heater is around $500. Some can cost up to $800, though at that point, replacing it would be the better choice. If you’re looking for help with water heater repair, reach out to our team at (817) 475-2800.

How does plumbing leak detection work?

Water flowing from a rusty pipe.

Dealing With a Plumbing Leak

If you’re lucky, when your home has a plumbing leak, detection is obvious because there is water puddled up in the floor, or everything under the sink is wet. Unfortunately though, not all plumbing leaks are as easily discovered. If you need help with leak detection in Fort Worth, TX, the team at Molberg Plumbing LLC can be there to help when you call (817) 475-2800. Otherwise, read on to learn some valuable leak detection tips.

Signs You Have a Leak

You may not even know you have a leak, but there are things telling you there is a leak somewhere. Sometimes, you can’t find plumbing leaks because they’re underground. This is when you need special leak detection ability, equipment, or service for an underground leak detection test. What is a leak detection test?

A leak detection test will determine if and where a leak has transpired. A leak detection test can be used for gases or liquids by using one of three methods: 

  • Hydrostatic Testing
  • Infrared
  • Laser Technology

These three leak detection methods are used to test for leaks after gas or liquate pipelines have been created as well as once the lines are in service, like plumbing pipe leak detection in homes. 

How can I tell if I have a water leak?

Well, on the downside, an obvious indication would be mildew and mold. There is a long-standing partnership with plumbing leak and mold and mildew. Consider them the three musketeers of homeownership horrors. 

A water leak can become a dangerous situation if leak detection doesn’t find it pretty quick. Water may be dripping and trickling, but the damage it is doing is moving at warp speed. So, what are some indicators that will tell you there is a possible plumbing leak? 

1. Water Bill is Unusually High 

We all complain about our water bills being high, but they are usually consistent. A home’s average water bill won’t vary more than $10 to $15 each month unless you’ve had a lot of overnight guests or filled a swimming pool. Any spike in the water bill otherwise may be indicating you need a leak detection test. 

 2. Heat Water Running 

The sound of water running should be investigated by checking all the faucets and toilets inside and the outside spigots. If everything is off, check the water meter. When you know every water-based thing in your home is off, the toilets are filled, etc., watch the water meter. If it is spinning, you have leak detection! If it isn’t spinning, write down the reading, wait an hour, and check it again. If there are any changes in the reading, you have leak detection. 

3.   Damp or Wet Floors

As you walk across a carpeted room and suddenly feel a squish under your foot, you’ll probably blame it on a pet or a spill. When that has been cleared up and nothing like that has happened, you may have a slab leak either from plumbing or sewer lines. You can’t ignore this, because that moisture is going to keep coming back and it is spreading further and further throughout your home. Those three musketeers we talked about earlier, plumbing, mildew, and mold, are doing their thing now. As you know, mold can become a toxic situation, a health danger. Call for professional leak detection immediately. 

4.  Foul Smells

You notice a foul, unpleasant smell and can’t find it, so you light a candle and go on about your day. What if that foul odor is from mildew or mold though? That candle isn’t going to do any good. You likely have a plumbing issue somewhere in your home and that mildew and mold are going to keep growing and spreading until you have found the source with leak detection and fixed it. 

5.  Green Patches and Overgrowth in the Lawn

Unless you have extra fertilized your lawn in a certain area any green, lush patch of grass or a concentrated wet spot could be an indication of a sewer or water line leaking. This is allowing hazardous bacteria to grow and spread throughout your lawn. Call for a professional leak detection service as soon as possible. 

6. Cracked Ceilings and Walls

The smallest plumbing leak can cause your foundation to crack. Those cracks will cause the floors and walls to crack and work their way to the ceiling. That leak will continue to spread, your foundation will shift, even sink. The sooner you have leak detection done to find the cause and fix it, the better. 

How do you check for plumbing leaks? 

Water is a wonderful natural source that we use every day. It can also be the enemy, and when mildew and mold follow, they are a destructive trio. Even a newer home can have an undiscovered leak. Detection is key in stopping the damage, and there are several ways to perform leak detection yourself. 

One is the water meter trick we mentioned above and paying attention to large jumps in the water bill as we discussed earlier. The green, lush spots in the yard and cracks in the floor, walls, or ceiling are easy leak detection. A few other leak detection things you can yourself are: 

  • Check Appliances and Fixtures

If the leak detection testing we’ve mentioned does not indicate any leaks, check under all the cabinets in the bathrooms and kitchen. Look for unexplained dampness or water puddles. Check around the dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater too. 

You may want to make this a routine check just to stay on top of things, especially an older home. If you have any leak detection with these checks, check all the water valves are tight and if that doesn’t stop it, call a plumber. 

  • Test the Toilet with Dye

If all the appliances and fixtures check good and all the other leak detection methods we’ve mentioned came up dry, check the toilet. The flapper inside the tank wears out over time and allows water to keep a trickle going from the tank to the bowl. This is costing you money! Put a little food coloring in the tank and if the flapper is leaking, you’ll have colored water in the toilet bowl pretty quick. 

What is plumbing leak detection?

There is leak detection equipment that homeowners can purchase now. Plumbing leak detection is a way to monitor the water flowing through plumbing lines. When the flow is abnormal, there are leak detection systems that will shut the water off entirely. With this type of leak detection, there is less damage to homes and lawns, not to mention the money saved on the monthly water bill. 

While this type of leak detection equipment is a great homeowner help, it doesn’t do the job that plumber’s leak detection can do. They have cameras and other equipment that will travel into the pipeline and find the exact spot where the leak is happening. 

Blue pipe gushing water.

The One Question We All Have – Is a water leak covered by homeowners insurance?

It will depend on your homeowner insurance policy and what it covers. If the insurance adjuster deems the leak was due to homeowner neglect or simply aging of the pipes, then no, your claim will likely be denied. With simple aging of pipes though, your insurance may cover for any replacement of personal items, flooring, etc., but not the leak repair. Review your policy with your agent once a year so that you are current on what your coverage offers. Knowing ahead of time will save you some headaches and worry later. Meanwhile, if you need any help finding leaks with leak detection in Fort Worth, TX so you can get the issue fixed, contact Molberg Plumbing LLC at (817) 475-2800 to get things started.

What Causes a Drain to Get Clogged?

clogged filled sink

Causes of a clogged drain

A clogged drain seems to only happen at an inopportune time, like while you’re cooking a holiday meal, or you have company on the way. Or maybe it’s the tub with a clogged drain after you’ve had a long, hot, soaking bath you can’t drain. Why now at these times and what causes a drain to clog?

If you’re wondering how does a clogged drain happens, the following are some of them most causes for clogged drain, most of which you can prevent:  

1. Scum

Soap scum and toothpaste scum builds up inside a bathroom drain, created from soap residue, typically related to bar soaps that leave a thin film behind inside the pipes.

2. FOG 

Fat, oil, grease getting poured down a garbage disposal will cause a clogged drain. Other things that are commonly poured into the garbage disposal that shouldn’t be put in the garbage disposal, or any drain, are eggshells, large food chunks and fruit peels.

3. Hair

Hair is the most common culprit cause of clogged drains. 

4. Paper and Paper-Like

What may seem the most normal thing to flush is probably the worst thing you can flush. Tissues, cotton balls, baby diapers, baby wipes, and feminine products.

5. Paper Towels and Paper Napkins

These should never be flushed down the toilet! Put it in the trash and take the trash out if that grosses you. These paper products are too thick for toilet plumbing. 

6. Debris and Dirt

Whether you’ve been out gardening or coming in from a soccer game, shake the dirt and grass off before you get in the shower. 

7. Toilet Paper

Yes, you can flush toilet paper down the toilet, but not big wads along with human waste. Courtesy flush, clean again and flush again. Two flushes are better than a toilet with a clogged drain.

8. Foreign Objects

This is more typical of homes with small children. Toddlers like to put things in the toilet, flush it, and watch them spin around and go down. Unfortunately, they don’t always go down all the way. 

What to use to clean blocked drain?

When a homeowner knows certain techniques and is armed with the certain tools, a clogged drain isn’t any big deal.  Here are steps to cleaning a clogged drain in the bathroom or kitchen using a basic plunger and a plumber’s auger.:

  • Fill the sink ¼ full of water.
  • Start vigorously plunging up and down quickly several times. If you’re clearing a clogged drain in a double sink, plug the other side up with a rag.  
  • If the plunging doesn’t clear the clogged drain, remove the P-trap under the sink and let the water out into a bucket. 
  • Feed a plumber’s auger into the stub until you hit the clog. 
  • Pull 18 inches of the cable out and then lock it in place. 
  • Turn the handle clockwise while pushing forward to drive the cable into the pipe further.
  • As the cable get hung up, turn the crank counterclockwise while pulling the cable out. 
  • When the cable is clear,  repeat clockwise cranking and pushing into the pipe again.
  • Remove the cable, put the P-trap back on and turn the hot water on. 
  •  If still slow draining, fill the sink ¼ full of water and plunge again.
  • Run hot water for 5 minutes.

Is Drano really bad for pipes?

Of course the manufacturer of Drano claims it is perfectly safe to use their product. Experienced plumbers however have a different viewpoint.  Since they are the ones on the frontline, so-to-speak, their opinion may hold more value. 

Experienced plumbers say that a chemical cleaner can make a clogged drain worse. The chemical may break things up, but it then turns it all into a congealed, solid mass that will actually make the clogged drain more clogged. 

Another caution that experienced plumber offer when using Drano for clogged drains is what can do to the pipes.  Drano sits inside pipe “working” to dissolve the clog and is continually reacting while generating heat. Using Drano or other chemicals in a clogged toilet can crack the bowl from the heat. Drano will soften PVC pipes and eventually they will break, and if your pipes are corroded and old, Drano can damage them by eating away the glue that is holding them together.

drain sink

How do you unclog a drain naturally?

When the plunger method isn’t working, you can try these natural methods to open up a clogged drain. In fact, you may want to do one of the following methods every 30 days to keep your drains open. 

  • Baking Soda and  Vinegar: Pour half a  cup baking soda and half a cup vinegar down drain then put the plug in and wait 60 minutes. Now pour boiling water in the drain. Repeat this if that doesn’t work the first time to open a clogged drain.
  • Baking Soda and Lemon Juice: Pour half a cup baking soda and half a cup lemon juice into the drain and plug it closed. After one hour, pour boiling water into the drain. 
  • Baking Soda and Salt: Mix half a cup of table salt with half a cup baking soda and pour into the clogged drain. Wait thirty minutes and add boiling.

How much does it cost to clean a clogged drain?

Remember that plumbers typically charge by the hour, not by the job. If you’ve tried everything we’ve suggested and still have a clogged drain, make that phone call. Be prepared for rates that start around $50 and can go up to $150 for the first hour with a total bill reaching upward of $180. 

Can too much baking soda clog a drain?

No, because this isn’t a closed system where pressure build up. Baking soda is one of the most gentle, yet effective, ingredients you can have in your home. It is good for removing odor in almost everything you can from bad breath to smelly stains in the carpet. Call (817) 475-2800 today for your drain cleaning needs in Fort Worth, TX.

How do you find a gas line leak?

gas line leak

Is a tiny gas leak dangerous?

Natural gas is one of the cleanest sources of energy available to us today. It burns cleaner and hotter, one reason why restaurants prefer gas in their kitchen.  It can also be a dangerous when there is a gas leak, which is why a gas line repair is an urgent matter when a gas leak is discovered. 

Hearing the words ‘gas leak’ causes most people a little panic and worry, but a gas leak in the middle of your yard isn’t a dangerous problem. The chances of a natural gas leak killing you is very slim. 

In fact, less than 20 people die from gas explosions or gas leak in one year. You have a better chance of dying from falling out of your bed. In 2014, over 25 people dies from lightning strikes. Regardless how much gas companies police gas leaks, they will always exist. 

With all that aside, should you suspect you have a gas leak, take a moment to make sure it isn’t something as simple as a burner was left on or a pilot light blew out. Then, if you have found an obvious reason, it is better to err to the side of safety and call for gas line check and gas line repair by a professional. 

What are signs of a gas leak in your home?

There is at least one, maybe two gas appliances in most homes today. Those appliance could be the cookstove, oven, or water heater, even a heater for the hot tub or swimming pool. At any point and time, one of these, or the gas line going to them, could develop a leak and need a gas line repair. Depending on the severity of the leak and where it is located, it may be best to have the gas line repair done by a professional. 

Some indicators that are telling you that there is  natural gas leak are: 

  • Rotten Egg or Sulfur Odor: Natural gas itself is odorless, so gas supplies add Mercaptan, a chemical that gives a rotten egg or sulfur odor. So anytime you smell rotten eggs or sulfur, evacuate the area immediately. Once you’re safe, call plumber that is certified for gas line repair, then call the gas company. 
  • Dying Houseplants: When you’ve had a small gas leak for some time, it will zap the oxygen out of your home. This is obvious when you have dead, dying, or unhealthy houseplants. If the gas line repair isn’t done sooner than later, it can be come deadly to you and your family. 
  • Fatigue & Sickness: Natural gas exposure can cause deadly symptoms that include headaches, nausea, sickness, suffocation, and weakness. If anyone in your home has an abnormal or sick feeling, call 911 for an ambulance and advise your home may be exposed to natural gas poisoning and needs a gas line repair.
  • Dead Bushes & Grass:  Under your home are large number of natural gas pipes that are providing the gas to your appliances. If the ground cracks, a gas line will sometimes release gas in the air, absorb the Oxygen and suffocate the bushes and grass around our home. You should call a plumber that is certified to do gas line repairs immediately before this becomes a bigger problem. 
  • Irritated Skin: Skin irritations are sometimes noticed by people when they have been exposed to a natural gas leak. When a gas leak located in the ceiling or behind a wall, it can create a large abundance of natural gas and cause blisters, numbness, skin discoloration, and other physical issues.
  • Discolored Flames: If your gas furnace or any gas pilot lights are burning blue, you don’t have any gas leak at that appliance. However, a yellow flame indicate a gas leak and you’ll need to call a plumber that has gas line repair certification. 

Who is responsible for gas line repair?

Typically, a gas line repair between your home and the meter will be your responsibility. A gas line repair on the other side of the meter will be the utility company’s responsibility. However, if you suspect you have a gas leak, safety is the top priority for the gas company, and they should be notified ASAP so they can disconnect the gas until the gas line repair is complete on either side of the meter. 

leak gas line

 Who do I call to fix a gas line?

You would call a plumber, verifying they are certified for gas line repair and installation. There are easy gas line repairs that a homeowner with wrench and a little DIY ability can do when it is a tiny leak. One example would be if you’ve moved an appliance to install new flooring, you’ll need to disconnect and reconnect your gas cook stove. With gas line repair tape and the proper, well working gas line repair fittings, this can be done is few minutes. 

You can test your gas line repair with a spray bottle with dish liquid and water. Simply spray the water on where you connected the gas and if you see bubbles, then you a gas leak. Undo what you’ve installed, use new gas line fittings, and reconnect.  If you make three attempts without any luck, call a professional plumber, and turn the gas off at the appliance. 

Yes, as a homeowner, you want to get as much from the insurance company as possible after paying them monthly premiums. From the foundation to the roof and beyond.  So, does homeowners insurance cover gas line repair?

The same answer as always, or so it seems, the answer is it depends. If you have a gas leak that causes an explosion, then yes, your homeowner’s insurance will pay for this because it would be considered a covered peril.  

What if you have a gas leak from an appliance that is old and beyond what is considered safe, and an explosion results? Nope your homeowner’s insurance will see that a homeowner neglect and responsibility. Call (817) 475-2800 today for your gas line leak repair in Fort Worth, TX.

What are the steps to remodeling a bathroom?

small bathroom space

Where do you start when remodeling a bathroom?

When it comes to your home, the bathroom may be the most important room. As a family grows, the bathroom doesn’t, so bathroom remodeling is often necessary. What if your home only has one bathroom? Can you do a bathroom remodel without demolition? 

Today, we’re going to answer some commonly asked questions about bathroom remodeling that can you decide if this is a project you want to undertake. Or maybe it would be easier to move? You tell us! 

Bathroom remodeling projects are a popular home renovation choice. However, there isn’t any set formula for the process, most of the time it is by the fly-of-the-seat and trial-n-error.  Here we have put together a bathroom remodel to do list that has proven to help homeowners put together a bathroom remodel and design that is beautiful and functioning.

1. A Realistic Budget

Your first step needs to determine your budget, a realist budget, addressing ever expenditure. Among those expenditures for bathroom remodeling you need to include: 

  • Labor: Drywall, electrical, plumbing, painting.
  • Material: Paint, wallpaper, plumbing fixtures and fittings, surfaces, cabinetry.

Realize upfront that no matter how meticulous you are with your budget planning, there will be incidentals, so bump another 20% on the budget.  Have contractors and suppliers provide estimates and quotes to help you determine your budget. These estimates need to be broken down and include the supplies, a timeline, and building permit expenses. A dream bathroom can cost as little as $5,000 and up to $10,000 or more. 

2. Demolition

With the “business” part of your bathroom remodeling out of the way, the demolition can begin. Depending on the size of the bathroom and how much of it you’re remodeling, this can day up to 2 full days.

This is going to be dusty and loud, and that dust will make its way through the house. Wear gloves, ear plugs, and safety eyewear, and consider renting a roll-off dumpster for the debris. 

Remove the vanity, sink, toilet, shower, tub, and any tile. Take precautions not to rip out electrical, plumbing, or metal ducts. Any thing you’ll be reusing like the toilet or tub, cover them with furniture blankets. 

3. Place Special Orders  

New items for a bathroom remodeling project can be fun to shop, like the lighting and plumbing fixtures, the vanity cabinet, shower head, etc. If the stuff you want isn’t readily available, requiring special ordering, order them now. There is no bigger let down and show topper than a special order item not be delivered when you get to that point of bathroom remodeling projects. 

4. Choose the Surfaces

As you choose the surface materials for your bathroom remodeling project, be sure to choose ones that are suitable for a bathroom. This includes the floors, counters, and walls, remembering they are going to be a humidity and moisture. If a surface material isn’t made for this type of environment, it can ruin them and ruin your bathroom remodeling project.

5. The Unexpected Surprises

Bathroom remodeling projects are complex and that is for the expected and planned parts. There will always be unexpected issues and problems popping up because you don’t know what to expect when you remove the vanity or take up the old flooring cover. 

6. Avoid Any Change Order

Just like special order items not arriving in time, a change order can be a showstopper, a budget buster, or timeframe extender. Avoid change orders if at all possible, any sentence that starts with “While we’re doing this ….”, shut it down. Some things can’t be avoided, like meeting code compliance, but if any possible way to avoid a change order, should be avoided. 

7. A Safe Bathroom

Have grab bars installed with your bathroom modeling. They aren’t the ugly styles of yesteryear anymore. In fact, they are stylish today in several finishes that will match any bathroom décor you have planned. 

8. Storage

A bathroom remodeling project is when you need to address any storage issues. The more people that share the bathroom, the more storage space  you need. If your remodeling project includes enlarging the overall size, add a full size linen closet. If there is space, replace the one-sink vanity with a double-sink and you get not just an extra sink, but extra storage space too. Instead of a mirrored wall, go with mirrored cabinetry for the storage space.  

9. Light It Up

With a bathroom remodeling project, now is the time to improve the lighting along with the storage. You want your bathroom to be attractive, functional, and welcoming. More lighting will make it safer by installing ambient lighting and task lighting.  Flush mount on the ceiling will illuminate the entire bathroom. Task lighting over the sinks for hair, make-up, and shaving tasks. 

10. The Ventilation 

There isn’t any room in your home that needs effective ventilation more than the bathroom and a bathroom remodeling is when you need to address that issue.  A ceiling-mounted vent fan or a combo set is the best way to let the odor and steam out. This will keep the floor safe too because it will pull the condensation out of the room. 

How long does a bathroom renovation take?

Remember how we said to expect the unexpected for budget purpose? Well that goes for timeline purpose too. Those unexpected and unforeseen things delay a bathroom remodeling project, but it happens. It may not happen with every bathroom remodeling project, but it is better to expect the unexpected and not be surprised. An average time frame for a total remodeling a  small bathroom remodel can be between 20 to 23 days, or four to five weeks. 

Can I renovate my bathroom myself?

You can do your  own bathroom remodeling or renovation if you have basic and necessary expertise and tools. On the surface, a bathroom remodeling may not seem to be that hard, but it gets more involved when it comes to the electrical and plumbing matters. Many cities are going to require an inspection before they put their approval on the job, so going with a professional may be the better option. 

remodeled bathroom

What remodel adds the most value?

 If you’re looking at renovations and remodeling that will bring you more value when you sell your home, you need to choose the areas and room that are the money makers. Here is a list of areas and rooms that any remodeling will get you the most ROI value:

  1. Outdoor Structures – deck, patio, porch, outdoor kitchen
  2. A Full Bathroom Remodeling
  3. New Windows
  4. Increase Attic Insulation
  5. New Roof
  6. New Technology
  7. Finished Basement
  8. Complete Kitchen Remodeling

Is it worth it to remodel a bathroom, can a bathroom remodeling project be that much value-add that will get you’re an ROI that is satisfactory? Absolutely!  Homeowners spend an average, of $20,000 for a midsize bathroom remodeling or renovation project and they can see just over 67% of that back. For a full-size, upscale bathroom remodeling or renovation project can cost close to $65,000, homeowner sees a 60% back. Want to get started on a bathroom remodel in Fort Worth, TX? Call Molberg Plumbing LLC at (817) 475-2800 today!

What is a shut off valve?

shut off valve

Where is the water shut off valve?

Wherever there is plumbing, in a business, public building, or a home, there is a shut off valve. A water shutoff valve  controls the flow of water to plumbing fixtures like the faucets, shower, toilet, tubs, washing machine, or any type of plumbing fixture. 

A shut off valve will be found under the sink and the toilet tank, and for a bathtub or shower, it is inside an access panel located in the wall. A shut off valve has a handle and that is how you turn the water off and on  to the connected inlet water pipe that is connected to the other end. A plumbing contractor may refer to this as either a shut off valve or ball valve, they are the same thing. 

What are the different types of shut off valves?

As you own a home, you’ll experience many things with the electrical and the plumbing. When you come across an older water shut off valve, you will find there are several choices to choose a replacement. 

There is an angled version and straight version of shut off valves. There is the multi-turn and quarter turn options in the valve with a variety of water supply line options to be considered.  The following is a list of the most common shut off valves used in a home.   

  • Compression Fit Stop Valve: This shut off valve comes in multi-turn and quarter turn and is used with water supply lines made of copper or PEX. 
  • Sweat Fitting Stop Valves: This shut off valve is designed to connect to copper water line and be non-leak, non-removable. 
  • Push Fit Stop Valve: This shut off valve is a new technology that is easy to install and offers versatility. 
  • Female Iron Pipe Threaded Fitting Shutoff Valve: FIP, short for female iron pipe is a shut off valve that is used with galvanized water lines that are threaded and requires pipe thread compound, then screws on and off. 
  • Barbed Fitting Stop Valve: This shut off valve is used with PEX water lines and can be used with a compression fitting.

Can a shut off valve fail?

Shut off valves are a low maintenance part of plumbing in a home, but like anything, they get old and worn.  The failure that is most common older shut off valves is they seize up and can’t be moved. When this happens, they cannot be turned by hand, which jeopardizes the purpose of shut off valves.

Another failure that is common with shut off valves is the rubber stop or seal that is located within the valve have deteriorated. If a shut off valve is leaking, this is usually the cause. 

How do you fix a shut off valve?

If you have a leaking water shut off valve or your water shut off valve is stripped, the following are steps to take to repair the faulty shut off valve: 

  1. Turn the water off to the house at the meter.
  2. With a screwdriver, pull the shut off valve handle off.
  3. Using a wrench, loosen the gland nut located on the back side of the handle.
  4. Unscrew the handle and remove the valve part of the shut off valve.
  5. Take the new valve from the repair kit and screw it in place. 
  6. With the wrench, tighten the gland nut back, careful not to overtighten.
  7. Using the screwdriver, put the shut off valve handle back on.
  8. Turn the water back on at the meter.

Are water shut off valves required?

Currently, there isn’t any federal law stating water shut off valves are required. You should check local zoning laws and building ordinance. Depending on where you live and what type of structure you live, a shut off valve may be required at every water operating appliance. This would mean a water shut off is at every shower, sink, toilet, tub, dishwasher, washing machine, etc. It may be required to have both cold and hot water shut off valve.  

dirty pipe with shut off valve

Is it possible to repair a shut off valve without shutting off water?

The shut-off valves in houses are referred to as gate valves, a simple mechanism. There is a handle or wheel that causes a gate to lower or raise according to the water flow. An inexpensive and reliable component, until they fail. 

However, the joint in the middle of the valve body and the valve stem are vulnerable in gate valves because of the  rotating stem and valve body allow water to escape around the stem. Manufacturers of shut off valves created a solution that placed a waterproof barrier between the two parts referenced as a packing gland. It is typically made of grease fibers, leather, rubber, or some other material. 

Over time, that material breaks down or hardens, and sometimes too high of water pressure will push it out of place. Either of these will allow the shut off valve to start leaking. To fix the shut off valve without shutting off the water, follow these steps:  

  1. Dry the area around and the valve. 
  2. Close the valve shut and take off the valve handle. 
  3. Remove the packing gland’s follower.
  4. Wrap the packing gland and stem with plumber’s tape.
  5. Replace the gland follower and stem handle.
  6. Test the shut off valve.

If you move into a home that doesn’t have a water shut off valve at each water operated fixture, take the time and expense to install one yourself or have a plumber do the work. Either way, should you ever experience a water emergency, and you will, that water shut off valve will be your best friend and saving grace. Call (817) 475-2800 today for shut off valve repair in Fort Worth, TX.