In a plumbing emergency, one of your first steps should be to call a trusted licensed plumber. However, there are a few things you can do yourself while awaiting the plumber.
The main thing is to keep calm. Panicking isn’t going to help stop water spraying out of a broken pipe or unstop a clogged toilet. You also want to avoid running away from your house screaming. No sense stirring up the neighbors.
Steps to Take in a Plumbing Emergency
- Turn off the water. Determine ahead of time where the main water shutoff valve is located, so that in an emergency, you’ll know exactly where it is. Because some individual appliances and fixtures have their shutoffs, turn off that particular water supply if your plumbing emergency is limited to that appliance or fixture. Turn the valve clockwise to turn off the water.
- Turn off your storage water heater (and/or its gas supply), if you’ve turned off the water supply to the appliance. When it’s not getting water, it may continue to heat up. The pressure buildup will cause the tank to burst, damaging the appliance and the immediate area.
- Open up water spigots outside. This will drain the pipes if you’ve turned off the main water supply.
- Do a temporary fix of any pipe leaks if possible, using the plumber’s epoxy or Teflon tape. In a pinch, wrap a minor leak with towels or rags till the plumber arrives. If the leak persists, make sure you place a bucket under the pipe, emptying it regularly.
- Unclog drains yourself, if possible, first using a plunger, and then if that doesn’t work, a drain unclogging agent. This can be an approved product for unclogging drains or a simple concoction of baking soda and vinegar. Make sure you carefully follow instructions with any store-bought drain treatment.
The best way to handle plumbing emergencies is to call your trusted plumbing professional. At Pipe Works Services, we’re available to help you with any plumbing emergency at your northern New Jersey home.