Plumbing Malfunctions That Cause Floods and How to Avoid Them

Flood Inside House - Seattle, WA - Quality Plumbing

A flooded home is no fun at any time of year, whether it occurs in the winter or in the summer. But fortunately, many types of floods are less likely to happen if you take great care of your plumbing. Here are some common ways plumbing malfunctions could cause a flood in your home and how you can avoid this result in your house.


1. Broken Pipes

Pipes can sometimes rust through and develop pinhole leaks. But in other cases they can fail catastrophically and spew water everywhere. Two reasons your pipes might flood in this dramatic fashion include water hammer and freezing.


Water hammer is caused when you use a faucet or appliance and then switch the water off abruptly. The water is pressurized, so it hits the end of the line and sends shock waves radiating back through the pipe. This can cause an audible clatter and can actually cause the pipe to bang against anything nearby, like a wall. Sometimes it bangs long and hard enough to break.


If you suspect you have a problem with water hammer, contact your plumbing contractor. If you cushion the pipes, install an arrestor, and even lower the water pressure slightly, you may help reduce or prevent damage.


A frozen and burst pipe typically occurs when your area experiences a cold snap. The first pipes to freeze are often those that are unprotected: those installed along your home’s attic floor or in your basement, for example.


You can protect these pipes with insulation or heat tape. You can also let the faucet trickle to reduce the chances that the pipes will freeze or burst.


2. Appliance Seal Failure

Your dishwasher uses large amounts of water that could cause a flood if it escapes the appliance. That’s why you need to check the door seals on a regular basis. Typically, the seals will be made of some type of rubbery plastic.


You can tell that the seal needs to be replaced if it cracks, starts to come loose, or feels brittle. It may also just look beat up, or you may notice that too much steam escapes through the seal as the appliance runs. Any of these signs indicate that you’ll need to replace the seal soon in order to avoid a worse problem such as leaks and floods.


3. Toilet Fill Valve Problem

If the toilet leaks from the tank rather than the bowl, it may not be because your kids tried to flush a toy. A flood from the toilet’s tank often indicates an issue with the filling mechanism. For example, the float could be adjusted incorrectly, which means that it never signals the fill valve to quit filling.


Or, the fill valve could simply malfunction due to old age. Professional plumbing inspection, scheduled on a regular basis, will ensure that your toilet’s maintenance needs are met so no malfunctions will cause flooding problems.


4. Water Heater Corrosion

Your water heater holds a huge amount of water that could cause a flood if it escapes the tank (for example, if the tank rusts through). Fortunately for you, your water heater tank has protection from rusting through. This protection is known as a sacrificial anode rod.


Typically, all you have to do to prevent a flood is maintain your water heater. You need to make sure to replace the anode rod before it’s completely worn out, and you need to make sure the tank’s lower section doesn’t fill up with sediment. Sediment can nullify the anode rod’s effect below the sediment layer and allow the bottom of the tank to rust.


Some water heater owners perform these functions themselves. But if you’re not up to date on what exactly an anode rod is, never fear: many plumbing contractors will perform water heater maintenance for you.


These are just four possible way plumbing malfunctions can cause floods in your home. As you can see, most of them require simple maintenance steps for prevention. Get in touch with Quality Plumbing today to learn more about the maintenance your plumbing needs and how we can help with any repairs you may require.