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Residential plumbing emergencies rise as more people stay at home

Posted at 10:24 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 00:24:16-04

A Salt Lake City plumbing company said they are seeing more residential emergency calls during COVID-19 because more people are staying at home.

More time at home, inevitably means more toilet flushing, faucet handle turning and disposal running.

"We are getting a lot more calls for main sewers that are backing up," said Dan Likens, field supervisor at All Hours Plumbing.

All Hours is taking all kinds of calls.

On Thursday, crew members worked on a sewer line at a Millcreek home.

"You can see the trench you got going on behind us," Dan said, gesturing to a deep trench behind him. "That started out as a, just a camera inspection-- and this is what the end result was."

Employees dug up dirt to get to the sewer line, and Likens explained that it was all broken up so they needed to re-route it.

While some jobs that All Hours Plumbing responds to are urgent emergencies-- like plugged lines-- others are maintenance requests that come in because people want their pipes fixed as they hunker down at home.

"We are getting quite a few bids for remodel, adding this, or fixing this little drip, and those types of things," Likens said.

He explained how the toilet paper shortage is causing problems for plumbing.

"The lack of toilet paper is leading to bigger issues as well," he said, explaining that flushing wipes or paper towels can plug a sewer line.

That's why he recommended only flushing toilet paper down the drain. For garbage disposals, he explained that running cold water is better-- and keep the water running for a while after turning the garbage disposal off to let everything run all the way through.

The plumbers are taking COVID-19 precautions. Likens explained how they are suiting up with masks, gloves and shoe booties. He said the owner of All Hours Plumbing purchased fogger machines to sanitize the trucks every day. Employees are also sanitizing their tools every night.

"Do all these steps to make sure that we're doing the right stuff, and staying safe," he said.

That way, they're ready to show up when duty calls, and keeping things flowing.