If You See This in Your Basement, Call a Plumber Now, Experts Say

Nathan Law

Whether you’re dealing with a leaky faucet or a shower head that loses pressure, practically every home will have a plumbing issue to contend with at one point or another. However, in parts of your house you don’t necessarily use every day, like your basement, plumbing issues can often go […]

Whether you’re dealing with a leaky faucet or a shower head that loses pressure, practically every home will have a plumbing issue to contend with at one point or another. However, in parts of your house you don’t necessarily use every day, like your basement, plumbing issues can often go unnoticed for prolonged periods of time—in many cases, until you’ve got an emergency on your hands. To avoid a major repair in your future, read on to discover which basement plumbing issues merit an emergency response, according to plumbers.

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A malfunctioning sump pump may seem like a minor problem, but it can quickly become a major one, especially if you’re expecting inclement weather.

“If this fails, the basement will start to flood and the water table will start to rise, which in turn leads to damage from flooding and damp,” explains Rebecca Lacey, director of Lacey Plumbing Ltd.

young white woman fixing leaking pipe
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It doesn’t take long for a leak from your water main to become a full-blown flood.

“You would need an emergency plumber to attend to isolate the leak and repair the water main pipe,” says Lacey. She notes that this type of leak could lead to flooding, as well as potentially shorting your electrical system or leaking into adjacent apartments or attached homes.

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drain in floor
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If your sewer drain starts backing up, you could soon have a bigger problem on your hands—including the potential for serious illness.

“These are always an emergency,” says Jake Romano of John the Plumber. “Backups can cause a lot of damage and introduce a lot of dangerous fumes and pathogens into your home. You’ll always want to get these fixed immediately.”

leaking water tank
Shutterstock / Karen Hermann

While many people will experience a leak in their basement at some point, if the source seems to be your water heater, don’t wait to call a plumber.

“If you notice pooling around the base of your water heater tank, you could have a leak that can lead to serious problems and no hot water,” explains Matthew Johnston, MBA, president of bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of Orange County. He notes that an emergency plumber is necessary to remedy the situation.

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icicles on a pipe
Shutterstock / Nazarova Mariia

While we’re months away from this situation, you should know that a frozen pipe can soon become one that bursts and causes flooding. If you notice signs that your pipes have frozen, it’s time to take preventative measures and call a plumber.

“As soon as you realize this, turn on all adjacent fixtures to a trickle at least, and keep them running. The goal is to keep the water moving so it can’t freeze, but also to hopefully allow the freezing line to relieve the pressure so it doesn’t burst,” explains Joseph Wood, founder of Boston Standard Company. “Find your water main too, because often a frozen line has already burst, and you won’t know for sure until it thaws,” he recommends.

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