Plumbing emergencies can strike at any time for almost any reason. When a plumbing emergency strikes, it's easy to panic. However, panic won't prevent your carpets for being ruined or your bathroom from being flooded.
When dealing with unexpected plumbing issues, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. That's made much easier by knowing how to handle a plumbing emergency when it finally happens. The following talks about three common plumbing emergencies and what to do until your trusted plumber arrives.
Busted Water Pipe
Busted water pipes often demand quick action as they can flood entire rooms with relative ease. The resulting water damage can easily lead to mildew growth, damaged flooring and ruined walls and ceilings. Here's a step-by-step guide of what to do when facing a busted water pipe:
- Quickly locate your home's main water shut-off valve and turn it off. The shut-off valve may be located at your municipal water meter, located outside in the front yard, usually under a metal or plastic cover marked "WATER METER." The main shut-off valve may also be located inside your basement or laundry room.
- Head back inside and turn on all of the faucets. This step drains the remaining water out of the pipes while diverting excess water away from actively leaking pipes.
- Clean up as much water as possible. Depending on the size and duration of the leak, you could be faced with a major cleanup. If possible, use a wet/dry shop vacuum to pick up any standing water and clean up the remainder with a mop and plenty of paper towels.
When you're finished, don't forget to schedule emergency service from your trusted plumber. Burst pipes often require a complete replacement of the affected pipe, which is something that should be left in the hands of the professionals.
Depending on how and when it happens, an overflowing toilet can quickly turn into a messy disaster. If you suspect your toilet's about to overflow, simply stop whatever you're doing and resist the urge to flush. Another flushing attempt may just make matters worse. You should also close the toilet seat lid to keep most of the toilet's contents from flowing out.
Instead of making a mad dash to the main shut-off valve, locate the shut-off valve behind the toilet and shut it off. With your toilet's water supply finally cut off, you can clean up the mess left behind and call your plumber to deal with the underlying problem.
Leaking Water Heater
A fast-growing puddle of water near your hot water heater is a surefire sign of a leak in progress. You won't be able to take care of a leaking water heater tank on your own, but there are several ways to minimize the damage a leak can cause:
- Shut off the gas supply. If you have a gas-fired water heater, quickly locate the gas supply valve near the unit and turn it off. This will prevent gas from flowing to the unit while it's undergoing repairs.
- Cut off electric power to the water heater. Go to the circuit breaker panel and shut off the breaker reserved for the water heater. This will cut power to water heater and make it safer to work around.
- Find the water shut-off valve. Find the cold water supply valve near the top of the water heater and close it.
- Drain the water heater to prevent further leaks. After closing the cold water supply valve, place a bucket near the water heater's drain valve and empty as much water from the tank as possible.
Don't forget to clean up any standing water from around the water heater tank.