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These Plumbing Emergencies Can Derail the Holiday Festivities in an Instant

The holidays are a time to relax, decompress, and spend quality time with loved ones. Once the decorations are up, the gifts are bought and wrapped, and the kitchen is full of wonderful smells, there’s nothing like cozying up by the fire and basking in the festive spirit. In such moments, it seems like nothing could possibly spoil the holiday bliss. That is, except for the rude and unexpected interruption of a plumbing crisis.

Ruptured Water Pipe

burst pipe

While there are a few possible causes of a burst water supply pipe - old or corroded pipes, overly high water pressure, excessive vibration due to water hammer - freezing is perhaps the most common culprit in the winter months. Even one night of below-freezing weather can turn the water in an unprotected section of pipe into ice. The ice then expands inside, splitting joint welds or even rupturing the pipe wall itself.

Regardless of the cause, a burst pipe ranks among the most destructive of plumbing mishaps. Since the ensuing water leak won’t stop until the water main (or a localized shutoff valve) is closed, the damage can be extensive. Homeowners can help prevent burst pipes by adding insulation to vulnerable areas, leaving faucets on at a trickle, and having their plumbing pressure-tested and inspected for liabilities.

Water Heater Breakdown

In any season, going without hot water can be an uncomfortable and frustrating experience. In the dead of winter, it can be downright miserable. Every water heater requires regular maintenance to work properly, and cold weather tends to put extra strain on the unit. So unless the water heater has recently been cleaned, serviced, and given a clean bill of health, a winter breakdown could be on the horizon.

Sediment buildup in the water tank, grime in the gas burner orifices, a loose wire, a faulty electric heating element - these are just a few of the hidden issues that can hinder the unit’s performance or cause it to break down entirely. 

Stopped-Up Sink or Toilet

A clogged drain in the middle of a happy holiday celebration is almost certain to kill the mood. Some clogs are easy fixes and hardly constitute an emergency. But when the plunger and the usual tricks aren’t working, and water begins overflowing onto the floor, the plumber can’t arrive soon enough. 


Toilet clogs are incredibly unpleasant and are typically caused by the flushing of unsuitable items such as sanitary napkins, paper towels, and small toys. In the event of a stubborn toilet clog, the toilet’s shutoff valve (usually located just behind the toilet) should immediately be closed to prevent overflowing. 

Sink clogs can occur for a variety of reasons. Most common during the holidays are clogged kitchen sinks. These are typically the result of overloading the garbage disposal or grinding an excess of improper items like potato skins, eggshells, or bones. 

Regardless of the type of clog or its location in the house, sometimes a professional touch is the only way to solve the problem - so homeowners had better be sure their plumber will be there for them in a pinch.

About Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing

Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing have been serving Sparks, Nevada, with pride since 1986. As a family-owned, family-run local business, they are committed to meeting every customer’s specific needs with honest, competitive pricing and superior workmanship. They offer financing, 24-hour emergency service, and a rewarding Preferred Customer program. Call Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing for emergency plumbing repair in Sparks today!

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