October 29, 2021
 | By 
Queen Plumbing Charlotte

It's Halloween season, and we write about pipes. That can only mean one thing: it's time for a few plumbing terror stories. If you are fan of these sorts of"it came from below" plumbing horror stories, but you could be inured to their frightening consequences. That is why we're doing something a little different this year.

These are not the"scariest plumbing horror stories ," or even"the scariest plumbing creatures in fiction." No, these are hitting a little closer to home. These four petrifying plumbing problems are the scariest that could occur to you. That is right--these aren't something which happened once 100 years ago; they are something which could happen right now. Happy Halloween!

The mythical fatbergs

A"fatberg" is a mass of fat, oil, and grease (or"FOG"). When people flush FOG their drains down, it turns strong as it cools. Solid FOG sticks to pipe clogs or walls instead of moving through the pipe. The more the FOG remains in the pipe, the longer it congeals… and grows. The sticky berg collects an increasing number of FOG and debris over time, developing bigger and more obtrusive.

There is virtually no limit to how large a fatberg can become. Just ask the epic workers of Macomb County, Michigan's Public Works department. Last month they pulled a fatberg out of their sewer that was 100 ft long. Not large enough? What about the 820 foot , 130 ton fatberg engineers eliminated from sewers beneath White chapel, London? Fatbergs are the scourge of the modern pipes world. When we say you should never pour FOG down your drain, then fatbergs are why.

A different kind of"plumbing snake"

Yes, snakes may crawl through pipes and enter homes through bathrooms. Yes, snakes can and have bitten the folks sitting on toilets (warning: that connection is upsetting ). Before you destroy all of the toilets in your home, however, know that this is extremely unlikely. Snakes get into bathrooms by slithering up from the sewer pipes. They don't enter sewer pipes quite frequently, and if they do that they seldom survive for long.

Snakes drift into sewer pipes several ways. They might fall in through air vent pipes or chase prey into storm drains or damaged pipes. Leaking septic systems supply a particularly likely place for snakes to enter your pipes. Once indoors, snakes readily float through the six feet of water between the pipes and your toilet. It doesn't happen frequently, but it can! Think about this as one more (rather persuasive!) Reason to place the lid down after you use it.


Sinkholes type when a natural depression in the ground has no outside surface drainage. Without proper drainage, water in the soil can't drain away and redistribute correctly. Instead, that water collects, dissolving the constructions propping up the ground. At some point, the groundwater hollows from the ground entirely, producing empty cavernous spaces just beneath the surface of the dirt. With support, the surface collapses and whatever's on it sinks to the gap below.

Sinkholes usually happen in places where the stone beneath the ground surface is watertight and easily dissolved. Regrettably, however, sinkholes can also occur in case of accidents, weather disasters, or severe plumbing problems. Plumbing leaks in plumbing may soften the floor around the pipes and eventually create a sinkhole. If a sinkhole opens near home, the results can be catastrophic. If you believe excess water buildup is damaging your yard or house, call us immediately!

Exploding water heater

Traditional water heaters heat and store water within a large, cylindrical metal tank. The heating element inside this tank heats up the water saved inside the tank. As the machine warms up, the water within it naturally expands. When that occurs, the water breeds against the faces of the tank also creates excess pressure. Over time, this pressure could cause leaks, ruptures, or (in extreme cases) even the notorious water heater burst.

Ordinarily, water heaters have a couple countermeasures to reduce pressure buildup. If the water becomes too warm, the heater's thermostat should get involved and turn off the heater. The tank has a Temperature & Pressure (T&P) valve that releases pressure if too much builds up. Dangerously excessive pressure simply builds up if these countermeasures sediment or fail interferes with the heater correct function. You can prevent both scary scenarios by regularly maintaining your own water heater.

Loathe because we're to break our eerie spell we feel bound to impart at least a little good thing. Every one of those admittedly frightening troubles is totally preventable. Just keep on top of your plumbing maintenance, and you'll endure whatever horrors your house can throw at you.

If you are ever dealing with a pipes monster (in any form!) Charlotte, simply give Queen Charlotte Plumbing Charlotte a call. We're always prepared to exorcise your plumbing's demons.