Plumbing Emergency? Use These Tips

Plumbing Emergency? Use These Tips

Turn off your main water valve before proceeding
Read Time: 3 minutes
Mar 20, 2022

It’s not easy to stay calm when a toilet starts to overflow or a pipe ruptures. If you’re not a professional plumber, you may not know how to fix or even identify the problem. On top of that, a plumbing emergency can be both messy and costly. The first step is to stay calm. By not panicking, you can follow these tips to reduce mess and expense in a plumbing emergency.

plumbing emergency checklist graphic

Shut Your Main Water Valve

It’s a good idea to know exactly where you home’s main water valve is located so that should a plumbing emergency arise, you can quickly and easily shut it off. Turning off the water to your house should be the first thing you do if a plumbing emergency arises. This is to prevent water from continuing to flow into your home while you try to diagnose the problem or wait for a plumber to arrive. Shutting off the water right away can reduce the amount of water damage that you’ll have to pay to have repaired.

Close the Water Heater’s Gas Valve

Temperature and pressure inside your water heater can increase to hazardous levels if gas keeps flowing after you close the main water valve. To avoid the risk of a potential explosion, shut off the water heater’s gas valve until the emergency is over. Depending on the emergency, you may want to consider turning off the hot water heater altogether just to be on the safe side.

Assess the Problem

Once the water has been turned off, it’s time to look at the problem and assess the extent of the damage that has already occurred. You should try to identify the source of the problem by looking for where it originates. You can look for dampness and mold to see where water is coming from. If you can smell a musty scent, that’s also a sign of water damage. Whether you’re going to try to repair the problem yourself or call a plumber, identifying where the problem is coming from can save a lot of time.

Empty Your Pipes

Once your water and water heater are shut off, it’s time to empty your pipes. To do this, open all your faucets or spigots to allow any water remaining your pipes to flush out. This includes outdoor hoses and spigots!

Deal With Leaks

If you have a leaking pipe that’s accessible, put a bucket or other container beneath it to catch the water, then wrap the damaged area with duct tape. To temporarily stop a leak around a threaded connection, use Teflon or plumber’s tape. Then, clean up any mess with a mop, rags pr old towels.

Address Clogs and Backups

If a toilet or kitchen sink is backing up, try to clear the blockage using a forced cup plunger. To unclog a bathroom sink, shower or bathtub drain, use a regular cup plunger. If several of your plumbing fixtures are backing up simultaneously, plunging individual ones won’t help because the blockage is likely in the main sewer line.

Start Cleaning Up

Cleaning up plumbing leak

If the plumbing emergency has caused a flood of water, it’s important to clean it up as quickly as possible. Water can seep into the floorboards and the walls and cause a lot of damage that can be extremely expensive to repair if it’s not addressed quickly. Cleaning up the water as soon as possible can help to prevent water damage from occurring.

Clear Space Around the Plumbing

It’s a good idea to move aside furniture or other items that may be located near the source of the plumbing emergency. This can help to protect these items from getting water-damaged as well as make the plumber’s job easier.

Call Your Water Company

It’s possible that the plumbing emergency isn’t caused by something within your home but is instead caused by a blockage or other issue within the main water line or the sewer system. You can call your water company to check that there aren’t problems that could be affecting your home. You may not be responsible for paying for repairs if the emergency was caused by the utility company.

Get Professional Help

Not all plumbing problems are easily solvable by the homeowner. Depending on the nature of the plumbing emergency, you may want to call in a professional plumber to help you fix the problem. Call a reputable, licensed plumber who offers emergency services. While you’re on the phone, give them as many details as possible about what’s going on and what you’ve done to deal with the situation so far.

Prepare for the Next Plumbing Emergency

Ideally, no future plumbing emergencies will occur, but it’s good to be prepared regardless. You should make sure that you have everything you need to deal with another emergency on hand and easily accessible. These supplies should include:

  • Plunger
  • Protective eyewear
  • Drain snake
  • Buckets (at least five-gallon)
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Allen wrench
  • Duct tape
  • Set of screwdrivers
  • Split-joint pliers
  • Rags or towels

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