Steps to take during a plumbing emergency
Trying to keep a calm head while water is gushing out of a drain or your basement is flooding. A little pre-planning can make all the difference so it’s best to know what to do in a plumbing emergency so you don’t waste time trying to make decisions in the heat of the moment. In order to be ready for that next possible plumbing disaster, you really should learn the steps to take.
Turn Off the Water
Do you know where the shut-off valves are? Find them and have them clearly labeled immediately. The best first step in any emergency is usually to shut off the water, and you don’t want to be searching around in the basement with a flashlight while the shower is flooding your bathroom. Knowing where the main shut-off is the key, and it will save the day no matter where the problem is.
If they are conveniently located, any smaller shut-offs should be noted as well. It might faster and easier to shut the water off right under a sink instead of running down to the basement for the main supply.
Of course, this is really the main thing to do in case of leaks or uncontrolled flooding. If your problem is more about a blocked or clogged drain or toilet, then turning off the water isn’t the issue at all.
Turn off the Water Heater
This isn’t actually a tip to help with your problem, but it must be done if you turn off the main water supply. The tank is designed to work with a constant in/out flow of both hot and cold water. With the supply turned off, it can start to overheat and build up too much pressure. Not all tanks are the same, and it also depends on how it is heated (gas or electric). To be on the safe side, shut it off.
Drain the Pipes
Even with the water shut-off, you can still have problems with all the water that is already in the pipes. Get to an outside spigot and open it up. That can drain out a lot of the standing water in the system without adding to any water build-up in the house.
Have a Pump Handy
A small portable electric pump and a good length of hose is a very handy tool to have around to deal with any water accumulation. Keep it in a convenient place and learn how to use it. It can make a huge difference in keeping a flood under control while you wait for the plumber. In situations where the leak started without you there to shut off the water, this is vital to minimize the damage. A flooded basement due to rain is another time where a pump of your own can make all the difference.
Plumber’s Phone Number
Calling the plumber may seem like a rather pointless tip, but you can waste a lot of time digging through a phone book or trying to Google the number of a plumber in your area if you don’t already know someone. What about someone who handles after-hours emergencies? Do this research before anything is wrong so you have a number to call immediately.