A plumbing emergency is never fun and, by its nature, it’s often very stressful. Eventually most of us will be faced with some sort of plumbing emergency in our lifetime. Instead of running for the hills (or maybe running from the spills), it’s important to be educated and know what to do. Being prepared for plumbing emergencies will help to take the stress out of an otherwise stressful situation.
One of the most important things to remember in the early stages of a plumbing emergency is to stay calm. That can be hard to do when you have water shooting out of places it’s not supposed to, but the calmer you stay, the more likely you’ll make better decisions.
When facing a plumbing emergency, it is always best to call a professional plumber. Plumbing isn’t rocket science, but it does take a good plumber who knows what to do in order to take care of the problem. One of the worst mistakes you can make during a plumbing emergency is to over-react and hurry to do it yourself, or hire someone because he’s cheaper. You want your problem fixed correctly the first time, especially when it comes to a plumbing emergency. Remember what we said about staying calm and not stressing out? Hire a professional plumber who assesses what needs to be done and then gets the job done right the first time! It is also common for professional plumbers to guarantee the work.To be prepared for a plumbing emergency, keep your local plumber’s phone number handy.
There are a few things you can do while you are waiting for your plumber:
Shut of the water supply – If it’s a small leak (sink or toilet) you can shut off the water supply by turning the nozzle under the sink or behind the toilet. This should be relatively easy to find. If you are facing a serious plumbing emergency, then you may need to shut off the main water line. It’s good practice for every home owner is to know where the main water line is and where the shut-off valve is. A special tool may be needed, making it important that you or your neighbor has one that is easily accessible. When water is gushing and spewing everywhere is not the time to discover that you don’t have the right tool to shut the water off or that it is locked up in your neighbor’s garage. Depending on the area and age of the home there are a couple of different places your main water line can be. Usually you’ll find an oblong iron cover over the meter and it will be located near your property line. The shut-off valve will be on your side of the meter, meaning the meter will keep running until you turn it off. If you are still unsure, you can contact your local municipality and they can help you.
Protect your belongings – Water can be very destructive, especially when it goes unchecked. When facing a plumbing emergency that involves a lot of water, it’s important to protect your things. First of all, dry up any access water, especially on wood floors. You can also construct an absorbent barrier (such as towels) to soak up water and retard the progress of the spill. You should also cover anything you don’t want damaged with plastic. Put waterproof ‘booties’ on furniture feet to prevent stains from leaching into the carpet. Simple sandwich bags can be effective.
Don’t attempt to fix it yourself- Avoid trying to fix it yourself. Aside from not knowing what you are doing, you risk causing a bigger problem and may put yourself and others in harm’s way. Plumbers face a lot of hazards while on the job; harsh chemicals, exposure to lead, asbestos, and mercury, animal droppings, and electrical shock to name a few (water and electricity never mix). Professional plumbers are trained to recognize and address any of these situations to keep you and your family safe.
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