What Should You Do In a Plumbing Emergency?

Drip, flow, gush. That’s right, it’s the dreaded sequence and sound of your house trying to tell you something is horribly wrong: specifically, that a pipe or your showerhead has sprung a leak. Perhaps the water in your toilet is moving in the wrong direction… up and not down. It may be that your kitchen sink’s clogging up just as your guests arrive, and you’re bracing for a dinner disaster. You’re eyeing the plunger from across the room with increasing levels of doubt.

As every homeowner knows from experience, plumbing emergencies always arrive at the worst time. Plumbing emergencies can be more than an inconvenience. Leaky pipes, clogged sinks, toilets, showers, and bathtubs can result in water damage to your flooring and other surfaces if not addressed immediately, and of course, run up your water bill.

Ah, emergencies. you can’t plan for them—they just happen. But fret not, In this post, we’re going to guide you on how to better manage your plumbing emergency, prevent a minor emergency from morphing into a major mess, and when to call for professional help.

Let’s get started.

Shut Down The Water Supply

When it comes to leaking faucets, clogged sinks, baths, and shower drains you can afford to wait for scheduled repairs, but if there’s water gushing out of a pipe, you must call a professional right away to prevent damage to your floors, walls, and furniture.

If you discover a leak in your home, the first and most important step is to turn off the water. This will prevent any additional water from worsening the problem and make cleanup easier. If you know where the leak is coming from, such as from a toilet or sink, look for the corresponding shutoff valve nearby. In most cases, it will be located behind the fixture itself and can be turned to the right to stop the water supply. If it’s stuck, don’t use a wrench as it can easily break the valve and make an already bad situation considerably worse.

Better still, and If you are unable to locate the leak or shutoff valves, shut off the main water supply to your home completely. This device is often found in a utility room or basement, and you should locate it as soon as you move into a new home.

Turn Off the Water Heater

Turning off the water heater may not be necessary if it’s a minor emergency. However, if you have a major emergency on your hands or if you are unsure of how severe the situation is, turn off your water heater. This will prevent damage to the appliance. Note that water heaters can burst or overheat if the water is shut off and the heater is still running.

Call the Local Water Company

Your local water company may be able to help. If you determine that the emergency was triggered by a blocked main water line or sewer pipe, the company could send in their in-house personnel or enlist the services of a contracted plumber to try to fix the problem quickly. They may also be able to provide you with important tips on how to manage the emergency in the meantime.

Call in the Professionals

Make contact with a reputable plumber. Most professional firms, like Johnson Plumbing, offer emergency services because plumbing problems occur regularly. In fact, Consumer Affairs reports that in 2019, plumbing issues accounted for 27.94% of all home repairs in the US, followed by air conditioning (23.67%), refrigeration (22.77%), heating systems (20.44%), and smoke detectors (18.89%).

Calmly explain the problem to the plumber. They might even guide you over the phone or via e-mail on what to do (and not to do) before they get there. Save the plumber’s contact information – very important. This will save you the trouble of scrambling around when the next emergency strikes. You’ll be more at ease when you know you can call on a professional outfit that you can trust.

Evaluate Electrical Appliances and Outlets

If there is standing water in your home, carefully check to see if it’s close to anything electrical. This can pose a risk of electrical shock if the water reaches the outlet. To eliminate any electrical risks, turn off your main circuit breaker. Remember: never, ever wade into water that you think could be electrically charged.

Mop Up Excess Water

If you believe it’s safe to do so, start mopping up excess water while you wait for the plumber to arrive. This will help minimize both water damage and the amount of time your plumber needs to spend on repairs. Stuff towels or rags around a leaking pipe to contain the water. When on-site, point out to the plumber all the places you’ve noticed leaks.

Water will quickly wreak havoc on your home, so work as quickly but safely as possible to mitigate this from happening. You can also speed up the drying process by plugging in a fan or dehumidifier—but only if the outlet in the area is safe to use. Running fans will speed up the drying process – but remember, only if the outlet in the area is safe to use. This way, you’ll minimize the chance of future water damage and prevent mold growth.

Take Photos & Videos

It might be the furthest thing from your mind and seem like an exercise in futility, but you may want to take pictures or videos of the crisis as it’s playing out. It could help the plumber and could be important for insurance purposes. After the mess has been cleaned, take a few more.

Don’t Panic

Staying calm may be the hardest part when managing a plumbing emergency. Yes, it’s normal to panic, but it doesn’t accomplish anything and can even end up making the situation much worse. Becoming more familiar with how your home’s plumbing system works and knowing where your main shutoff valves are will help you tremendously during an emergency.

Essential Items in Case of a Plumbing Emergency

Many plumbing emergencies require calling in professional help but having heavy-duty rags, buckets, duct tape, plungers, and tools such as adjustable wrenches, pliers, and screwdrivers on hand can help you to take some control and, crucially, remain calm.

Preventing Plumbing Emergencies

Plumbing emergencies may be unavoidable, but you can take steps to reduce the chances of having a nightmarish experience. If you want fewer plumbing headaches, then you must adhere to these pointers:

  • Do not flush “flushable” wipes
  • Never ever pour grease, oils, or fats down your drains
  • Avoid cleaning drains with harsh chemicals
  • No drop-in toilet bowl cleaners
  • Use your garbage disposal only for smaller items
  • Drain your water heater annually to remove sediment buildup
  • Know the location of your water shutoff

We’ve Got You Covered

If all plumbing emergencies were the same, you could just follow the same steps to fix them. Unfortunately, there are so many different dimensions with the plumbing in homes that it’s impossible to have a one-size-fits-all approach. Plumbing problems are often accompanied by a feeling of panic and helplessness, but the key takeaway here is not to panic and take action to fix the problem so you’ll be able to breathe easier. In other words, learn how to manage a plumbing emergency as best as you can under the circumstances.

Whatever your plumbing issue, your friendly and professional neighborhood plumber will help set you at ease. From residential to commercial to industrial plumbing, at Johnson Plumbing, we handle it all, and for us, no job is too big or too small.

So, who’re you gonna call when that plumbing emergency hits? Johnson Plumbing, of course! Why? Well, four reasons actually: we pride ourselves on our rapid response time, our upfront pricing ensures transparency, we make sure the job is done right the first time, and we are professional as well as courteous.

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