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Emergency Plumbing Tips

A major plumbing issue is often the best way for a homeowner to learn the importance of getting issues fixed as soon as they arise. It's never pleasant to deal with plumbing problems, but if you don't, it can end up costing you a lot of money and cause major inconvenience.

We don't realize how important plumbing is and the level of comfort it provides until it plays up. From showering to washing dishes and flushing the toilet, to understanding the inner workings of a sewer system or septic tank, plumbing should not be taken for granted.

There are 4 common emergency plumbing problems that affect homes:

➔ Sewage overflow
➔ Frozen pipes
➔ Burst pipes
➔ Sewer gases

Let's look at why these emergencies happen and how you can deal with them to avoid unnecessary emergency calls to the plumbers.

1. Sewage Overflow

After heavy rains, storm water enters the main sewers and cause it to overflow, causing a big, smelly mess. Unfortunately, there is no emergency hack for a sewage overflow, but there are some ways in which you can prevent it.


  • Blocked or burst sewerage lines.
  • Excessive inflow of stormwater.
  • Pumping station malfunctions.
  • Human error at the treatment plant.

How to Avoid it (for the most part)

  • Install a backflow valve to prevent stormwater or wastewater from flowing back into your basement.
  • Keep your sewerage lines clear by not disposing of inappropriate items (food scraps, plastic items, paper towels, fats, oil or grease) down drains and toilets.

2. Frozen pipes or drains

When it comes to frozen pipes, prevention is best. However, when it gets really cold, it is possible that pipes will still freeze. Keep on reading to find out what you can do about it.


  • Freezing temperatures
  • Insufficient insulation

How to Avoid it

Frozen Pipes Tips
Proper insulation is your best defence against frozen pipes, but there are many other things you could do to keep your pipes warm during the cold winter months. Check out our post on winterization here.
Ask a friend to check on your heating when you're away from home for a few days.

What you can do about it in an emergency:

  • Pour salt water down frozen drains to melt the ice.
  • Wrap hot towels around frozen pipes to thaw them safely.

3. Burst Pipes

Burst pipes can happen anytime, and they often occur under the ground. Usually at joints or on hairline cracks, water pressure causes the pipes to separate. When that has happened, there will usually be low water pressure, and eventually, you should see wet spots on your lawn, or the surface above the burst pipe.


  • Frozen pipes
  • Poor joints
  • Weak pipes
  • Root infiltration
  • High water pressure

How to Avoid It

  • Winterize
  • Get a professional plumber to install and repair pipes.
  • Install quality PPE pipes, rather than cast iron.
  • Read our post on roots in pipes.
  • Ask a professional plumber to test and adjust your water pressure.
  • Book an annual plumbing inspection.

What you can do about it

  • Shut off the main water supply right away.
  • Call a professional plumber to repair the pipe, or better yet, install a new section of pipe.

4. Sewer Gasses

When you notice a smell coming from a bathroom or kitchen that is not used frequently, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is sewer gasses that are entering through a dried-out drain trap. Luckily, this is easy to fix!


  • Lack of drain traps
  • Infrequent drain use

How to Avoid It

  • Install drain traps if you don't have already.
  • Occassionaly run water in infrequently used drains.

These are four of the most common issues that cause homeowners to call Anta Plumbers. If you have one of these problems, or another issue, don't hesitate to call us anytime, night or day.

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Written by Tanya Klien

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