5 Steps to Take When You're in a Plumbing Emergency

6 June 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Having a plumbing emergency can be a scary experience for a homeowner or caregiver left in the house, since the risk of water damage to your property in the period before a plumber gets to you is very real. Once you have contacted a professional plumber, there are steps that you can take to reduce the potential for damage while you wait. Some of these steps are described below:

Step 1: Turn off your water supply

The first step is to find your main water supply and turn it off to keep water from running uncontrolled. All homeowners and caregivers should be acquainted with the basic plumbing structures of their home, such as where shutoff valves for both individual faucets and main home supply are located.

If the problem is localized to a single faucet, find it and shut it off by turning clockwise until secure. For problems whose source you cannot identify, turn off the main water supply to the house until the plumber arrives. If the problem comes from an appliance, turn off the electric supply to the appliance where possible or your main electricity supply to reduce the risk of electrocution.

Step 2: Open your external taps and valves

Once you've turned off the main supply, drain the pipes by opening the valves/taps and spigots found outside your home. This ensures that water already in the pipes is redirected to flow outside your home rather than inside where it can damage your property.

Step 3: Identify and seal leaks

As a homeowner, there are important plumbing supplies you should have in your plumbing 'first aid kit' in case of an emergency. For instance, if you can identify where the leak comes from, having Teflon tape or plumber's epoxy can help you seal off the leak until it can be properly resealed. In their absence, you can improvise with rags and towels tightly secured with rubber strips or nylon paper. If leaking doesn't stop, place a large bucket under the pipe to hold the flow. If the problem comes from an appliance, inspect the drains and traps, which could be clogged.

Step 4: Unclog drains

You'll know you have a clogged drain if you notice backflow from it or see that water doesn't drain out when poured in. There are many ways to unclog a drain such as using a plunger; pouring hot water; and using salt, vinegar and baking soda, among others. Your plumbing 'kit' should include a plunger, white vinegar and baking soda, which are the commonly used home-remedies for clogged drains. If none of them work, try to drain out the water to a flowing drain to prevent overflow as you wait for the plumber to get there.

Step 5: Follow the professional's instructions

The above-mentioned steps will work for the most common plumbing emergencies, such as leaky pipes, clogged drains, leaky appliances etc. However, there are as many plumbing emergencies as there are homes. When you call your emergency plumber with details of the problem, ask them to give you tips on how you can try to prevent damage until they arrive. Staying calm allows you to think logically and execute solutions relevant to your own emergency.

For more information, contact a local company like P1 Plumbing & Electrical.