Many homeowners are familiar with a variety of emergency plumbing situations, from burst pipes to municipal water line meltdowns. To help you avoid crisis mode during your next emergency, here’s how to handle any plumbing catastrophe:
The pipes burst. Stop water from flowing out of the hole by closing the main shutoff valve to your home. This will stop the water supply to your home’s fixtures, subsequently stopping the flood. To continue damage control, turn on the cold-water taps to quickly drain the pipes from trapped water and steam. Once you’ve controlled the situation, call a plumber to repair or replace the pipes.
The pipes are frozen. Close the main shutoff valve to your home before the frozen pipe splits. Turn on the faucet and keep the water running at a constant slow drip then use one of these techniques to thaw out the pipe from the end to the tap.
Tip: Never use an open flame or devices with chemically flammable properties as thermal water expansion can also cause the pipe to burst.
The main water line is broken. If the municipal water line that connects to your home breaks or clogs, contact a plumbing expert immediately. A damaged main water line can cause a rise in pressure, which can lead to flooding in your home’s foundation. If the water makes its way to your basement, follow this step-by-step guide for clean-up.
The fixture is leaking. A slow drip can lead to a big problem – fast. First, find the shutoff valve that’s specific to the leaky fixture. Check the fixture’s tap for debris, hair, soap scum, and food particles. These common obstructions might be causing overflow in the pipes. Next, follow our quick 8-step guide to fixing a leak.
The water heater is failing. A failing water heater could be due to a problem with electrical connections or the gas line. This can cause additional everyday stress as homeowners cannot bathe, cook, or clean without a working water heater. If you don’t have hot water at home, contact a professional.
The drain and/or toilet is blocked. This is one of the most common plumbing problems for homeowners. To fix toilet overflow, grab a plunger or drain snake. If you’re not sure how to use the latter, check out How to Clear a Drain Using a Drain Snake, a simple do-it-yourself guide from Warner Service. If the problem persists, call a professional.
The main sewer line is broken. If the municipal sewer line corrodes, breaks, or clogs, it could cause uneven toilet water levels, clogged drains, wall stains, or an overwatered lawn that emits foul odors. If you come across any of these symptoms of a broken sewer line, call a local plumber for urgent assistance.
The gas is leaking. If you smell gas, evacuate your home immediately. Gas leaks do not lend themselves to DIY repair due to its toxic nature. Once you and your family are in a safe area outside, call an emergency plumber or gas company. Under professional guidance, the gas meter will be turned off at the control valve.
The washer drain and/or hose is damaged. If your washing machine’s drain and/or hose are damaged, it could cause flooding throughout your home. Using too much or the wrong laundry detergent or running a high-efficiency machine for too long can also cause water damage. If you see an overflow of soapsuds, open the floor drain or call in the pros.
It’s best to minimize residential plumbing damage by performing regular maintenance, but emergency situations can happen at any time. While some have DIY solutions, a professional is the best when it comes to handling these problems. If you’d like a step-by-step guide of what to do before the expert arrives, click below for our Plumbing Maintenance Checklist: