A plumber is never a bad choice, and sometimes it's the wisest one.
You use plumbing every day, and probably without thinking about the network of supply and waste lines throughout your home that bring water in and carry it back out. Most of the time, this network functions just like it should. But when there's a leak, you've got trouble.
Some leaks are completely within the scope of DIY. If your PVC P-trap underneath a sink separates, you can loosen the fitting and put it back together again without any glue. If you're a bit more confident, you could even cut out a glued fitting and repair a broken line with all new parts. But sometimes a leak is really best left to a pro.
Here are 5 types of leaks where a plumber is the right call:
#1: Copper Supply Lines
If you've got a leaky copper water supply, you probably need a plumber. PVC is a common supply line material, and nearly anyone can make a durable glued connection. Not so with copper. Soldering is how copper is fitted and sealed, and that is a special skill set that requires the right tools, supplies and of course training.
Soldering isn't as simple as it looks, not if it's done right. You need a special cutter, brush, flux, solder and of course a blowtorch. That's the other problem with copper repairs: A blowtorch can be dangerous, especially when used around fittings that are close to the framework of your house. The best rule of thumb is if it's copper, call a plumber.
#2: Buried Sewer Line
Most sewer lines are buried at some point, and they're difficult to dig up without damaging the whole run. You'll know that you've got a leak if you find a soft or soggy spot on the lawn or unexplained water on concrete areas such as the driveway or walkway if the line runs under it.
Although a leaky sewer line won't cost you money in wasted water the way that a leaky supply does, it's a health hazard. A professional plumber knows how to pinpoint the leak and excavate the right way to make the repair without creating a bigger problem.
You can probably fix a leak under the bathroom sink, but a plumber is best for a leaky shower.
#3: Bathroom Shower Diverter
There's a lot more to your bathroom plumbing than what's on the surface. In the shower, there's a component inside the wall, usually brass, called the diverter. That means it's behind tile or an acrylic shower insert, which also means that it's hard to get to. The diverter routes water from the supply lines to either the tub spout or the shower.
Diverters get a lot of use, so a leak isn't that uncommon. You might get a leak at any of the fittings where the supply lines tie in. Although repairing a leak isn't necessarily difficult, getting to it is.
#4: Odd Odors In the Home
Have you ever noticed a whiff of some sort of gas but weren't totally sure where it was coming from? Sewer gas can make its way into your home for different reasons, and sometimes the source is a total mystery. You could smell it in a hallway when the leak is actually elsewhere. Maybe you have a trap that's dried out and lost its water seal because it's not used very often. Or maybe you have a break in a sewer line that's letting gas escape.
Sewer gas odors don't just smell bad, they're also unhealthy. Try flushing all of the toilets in the house and running water through every drain, including sinks and bathtubs. That will refill all of the traps, which should seal off gas odors if there's no leak. If the odor persists, you might have a leak that calls for a plumber.
#5: Any Natural Gas Leak
Natural gas has a prominent and easily identifiable odor, at least if you've ever smelled it before. The odorant is added by the utility company for that very reason. If there's a leak, you definitely want to know as soon as possible. Whenever you smell gas, you should call your utility company immediately and then call a plumber for repair.
If you know where your gas shutoff valve is located, turn off the gas supply as soon as you smell a leak. If not, leave the house until the utility company or a plumber can do it for you. Leaks in gas plumbing are not something to experiment with. They're are always best in the hands of an experienced professional.
Leaks eventually happen in or around every house. If it's something minor, such as a drip from a sink trap, you can probably handle that on your own. But a plumber is a good idea for any leak, because that's the best way for you to know that the job is done right.
Santa Cruz Plumbing can repair any leaky situation that you've got, whether it's inside the home or buried underground. Give us a call at (831) 425-1131, send us an email, or contact us online to discuss your options or schedule a repair.