Plumbing problems can really make your day a living hell, but there are some cases that are even worse. Here is a list of the four most horrifying plumbing problems and how to fix them inexpensively!
These worst plumbing mistakes can happen to anyone. These mistakes could lead to a lot of trouble, so it’s best to maintain your plumbing so they never happen!
Sewer Gas Explosion
Natural gas is generated by sewage in large sewer lines. This can occasionally lead to a major explosion, such as the one that occurred in Baltimore, Maryland on February 7, 2014. A massive explosion blew out the walls and roof of a three-story building, injuring seven people and causing an estimated $4 million in damage. The source of the explosion was determined to be a gas leak from a sewer line.
The Fabled Fatbergs
A fatberg (or “FOG”) is a mound of fat, oil, and grease. FOG solidifies when it cools after being flushed down drains. Instead of going through the pipe, solid FOG adheres to pipe walls or clogs. The longer FOG is allowed to sit in the pipe, the more it congeals… and expands. Over time, the sticky berg accumulates more and more FOG and debris, becoming bigger and more noticeable.
There is essentially no limit to the size of a fatberg. Just ask the brave staff of Macomb County’s Public Works department in Michigan. They dug a 100-foot-long fatberg out of their sewage last month.
Or the engineers that excavated an 820-foot-long, 130-ton fatberg from the sewers under Whitechapel, London?
Fatbergs are the bane of today’s plumbing industry. Fatbergs are the reason why you should never throw fat, oil and grease down your drain.
Another Kind of “Plumbing Snake”
Snakes such as pythons and anacondas may climb through pipes and get into houses through toilets. Snakes can bite people who are sitting on toilets, and they have done so in the past. Usually, they just scare the daylights out of you. However, before you go out and smash all of your toilets, keep in mind that this is exceedingly improbable, and only happens in places like Florida. Snakes can swim up from main sewage lines outlets, through the sewer, up your house’s main sewer line and into your toilet.
Snakes enter sewage systems in a variety of ways. They may enter via air vent pipes or pursue rodents into storm drains or broken pipes. Snakes can also infiltrate your pipelines via leaking septic systems. Snakes may easily swim the six feet of water between your pipes and your toilet once inside. It doesn’t happen very frequently, but it does happen. Consider this one another (very persuasive!) reason to close the lid after each usage.
Massive Water Leaks
Water leaks can be serious and cause substantial damage. If you have a water leak, it’s important to find and fix the source of the leak as soon as possible.
The largest water leak of all time occurred in London, England on October 8, 1987. A burst water main spewed an estimated 1.5 million gallons of water per hour for over 15 hours before it was finally shut off. The resulting damage was estimated at close to $1 billion.
Sinkholes arise when there is no external surface drainage in a natural depression in the soil. Water in the soil cannot drain and disperse correctly without appropriate drainage. Instead, the water accumulates and dissolves the structures that keep the earth from sinking. Groundwater eventually hollows out the soil completely, leaving empty gaping holes just under the dirt’s surface. The surface crumbles without support, and everything is on it descends into the abyss below.
Sinkholes are more likely to form if the rock under the soil surface is soluble and quickly dissolved. Sinkholes may, unfortunately, occur as a result of accidents, natural catastrophes, or significant plumbing issues. Plumbing leaks in pipes may soften the earth surrounding them, causing a sinkhole to form. If a sinkhole forms near your house, the consequences might be severe. If you believe that excess water is causing damage to your yard or property, give us a call right soon!
Burst Water Heater
Water is heated and stored in a huge, cylindrical metal tank in traditional water heaters. The water in this tank is heated by a heating element within the tank. The water within the device expands naturally as it warms up. When this occurs, the water pushes against the tank’s sides, causing excess pressure. This pressure might build up over time, causing leaks, ruptures, or (in severe situations) the notorious water heater explosion.
Normally, water heaters have a couple countermeasures to prevent pressure buildup. If the water gets too hot, the heater’s thermostat should step in and turn the heater off. The tank has a temperature & pressure (T&P) valve that releases pressure if too much builds up. Dangerously excessive pressure only builds up if these countermeasures fail or sediment interferes with the heater’s correct function. You can prevent both of these scary scenarios by regularly maintaining your water heater.
The good news is each of these really terrible problems is entirely avoidable. If you keep up with your plumbing maintenance, you’ll be OK no matter what your house throws at you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common plumbing problems?
A: If you have problems with your toilet, your sink or shower not draining properly, the most common issue is a clogged drain. You can use a plunger to remove water from the area and then try pouring vinegar through it if that does not work.
What causes plumbing issues?
A: There are a number of things that can cause plumbing issues, but the most common causes include leaks in pipes or fixtures, clogs from debris and tree roots, and erosion of the plumbing system due to time and wear. As we learned here, many clogs are caused by fat, oil and grease (FOG).
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