Photo By AndreyPopov at istock
The COVID 19 pandemic created a unique situation in Las Vegas, NV, and across the United States. Most states enacted lockdown measures that mandated business closures, but essential services could still operate. Essential services are defined as “functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”
Many people may not think of their local plumbers as essential service providers. That view tends to change very quickly when a plumbing emergency occurs. A wide range of plumbing issues can seriously impact daily life. An interruption in clean water supply poses a health risk to large numbers of people simultaneously, so plumbers certainly deserve essential status.
Clogged drains present excellent breeding grounds for bacteria and mold. Many types of these microbes cause illness. Drains need regular cleaning and maintenance to function efficiently and prevent clogs. A drain trap catches hair, food scraps, and other debris that can form obstructions in pipes. A professional can install or replace drain traps and clear obstructions to fix a clogged drain. Drain cleaning reduces the chance of future clogs.
Leaky pipes may go unnoticed for an extended period if the leak is small or occurs in an inaccessible part of the home. The constant moisture can damage ceilings, floors, carpeting, and furniture, and it also promotes mold and mildew growth. Call a plumber if you suspect a leak anywhere in your home. Professionals have the tools and experience to repair leaks in areas that are difficult for some homeowners to access.
Mildew is grayish-white or brown. It grows on surfaces and has a powdery, slightly dry texture. Mildew is often encountered on bathroom tiles or damp corners in basements. Some people have allergic reactions to mildew, but mildew is fairly easy to remove. It can be killed with strong soaps, bleach, and vinegar.
Mold is a serious problem, especially when spore-forming colonies grow. Spores are produced within 24-48 hours after a colony is established, and spores are mobile. They can spread through the entire home and cause a variety of symptoms such as throat, nose, or skin irritation, itchy eyes, frequent coughing and sneezing, sinus congestion, rashes, and difficulty breathing. illness, respiratory disorders, and allergic reactions.
Mold usually has a foul odor and grows in black, red, dark green, or white colonies. It is also very difficult to remove after colonies are established because it is a fungus. It grows into any porous surface, including wood, carpeting, and fabric. Catching leaks early is the best way to prevent established mold colonies.
Sewer backups are a plumbing emergency. Waste water is filled with bacteria and other pathogens. Sewage can enter a home in various ways, including backed-up sinks and bathtubs, clogged floor drains, overflowing toilets, and septic tank malfunctions.
People and animals can develop an infection or illness in a very short time when sewage floods into a home’s interior. Symptoms of exposure to raw sewage include fatigue, bronchitis, dizziness, headaches, sinus infections, and poor appetite. The cause of the backup must be fixed immediately, and clean-up is equally important.
Sometimes people underestimate the level of clean-up required to remove contaminants in sewage. A room may look clean, but that doesn’t mean it is. Microbes and other microscopic pathogens are deposited underneath carpets, deep within carpet fibers, and inside any furniture or curtains exposed to contaminated water. Bacteria can cause several illnesses including campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis, dysentery, and even typhoid fever.
A parasite causes a common water-borne illness known as giardiasis, and viruses in human waste include hepatitis and several strains of norovirus. It may be advisable to let plumbers and other professionals with appropriate tools, training, and safety gear handle clean-up as well as repairs.
Hot Water Heaters
A dysfunctional hot water heater does not seem like a health hazard on the surface. It is not an insurmountable obstacle, but a lack of hot water does reduce the effectiveness of hand washing. People are also less likely to shower regularly or engage in frequent hand washing without access to hot water. Poor hygiene contributes to the spread of illness. Dishwashers and washing machines may be less effective using only cold water. People need to have access to a plumber when a hot water heater malfunctions.
Contaminated Water Supplies
Anything that threatens clean water supplies constitutes a plumbing emergency. Damaged sewage lines can let raw sewage contaminate groundwater. This scenario presents a risk to the homeowner and many other people in the surrounding area. Toxic contaminants can also seep into damaged underground water pipes. Contaminated groundwater can be pulled into pipes when pressure inside the pipe suddenly drops. It is almost impossible for most homeowners to assess and repair underground pipes, so access to a plumber is essential to prevent potentially far-reaching problems.
Contaminated water may cause health problems ranging from mild to severe. Relatively mild symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and dehydration, while more serious health issues include developmental delays, reproductive problems, and even fatalities. Carcinogenic contaminants, such as radium, increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Heavy metals like chromium, cadmium, and mercury cause problems in the nervous system and organ failure.
Call a plumber immediately if your water pressure fluctuates for no apparent reason or you notice a strange color or odd taste in water coming out of the tap.
Call Craig’s Plumbing in Las Vegas, NV, for assistance with any plumbing problems. There is no need to wait for an emergency. The professional plumbers will be happy to schedule routine maintenance or investigate potential problems. Plumbers provide a very important service whether a global pandemic is in progress or not. The lockdown protocols just brought normal plumbing services into conscious thought to be recognized as essential.