From a toilet that won't stop running to a burst pipe or a valuable that accidentally got flushed, there are several emergencies that require the immediate assistance of a plumber. Unfortunately, if it will take several minutes for the plumber to arrive, you will have to stand by and watch as your property is severely damaged, or even destroyed. Luckily, there are several things that as a homeowner, you can do until the professional arrives. Here are a few tips to help you keep your home and belongings from suffering unnecessary damage while you wait for the emergency plumber:
Locate and Turn Off the Water Main
Once everyone in your home is safe, it's time to locate the water main and shut off the water from your home. Depending on where you live, the water main can be located in several places. The first spot to look is right in front of your home, between the sidewalk and the street. The water main shutoff valve will be located under a square or circular concrete cap.
If you're having trouble locating it, dig around in the dirt until you locate it. According to Premier Restoration, sometimes, if the water main shutoff valve hasn't been accessed for several years, the cap will become covered by dirt and grass. In some cases, the water main shutoff valve will be located above ground near your home.
Carefully lift off the concrete cover and turn the valve, with your hand or a wrench. Once the water is shutoff, locate your electrical box and cut the power to any effected areas in your home.
Empty the Pipes and Shut Off the Water Heater
Now that the water is shut off to your home, it's time to get any standing water out of your pipes. The best way to accomplish this is to turn on the spigot outside your home. It is especially important to take this step if you have a burst pipe, your toilet is overflowing, or there is any other emergency that is causing water to flood your home.
The next step is to locate and shut off the power and water to your water heater. Even if the water heater has nothing to do with your plumbing emergency, any leftover water can become super-heated by the unit's heating element, which could irreparably damage your water heater or even cause it to explode.
Clean Up What You Can
Finally, the last step to take until you wait for the plumber is to begin cleaning up what you can. Do not clean any sewage if your sewer backed up. The sewage is filled with several different types of bacteria that is potentially deadly and should be removed by a professional.
Grab a wet-dry vacuum and some old towels and begin getting rid of as much standing water as possible. Remember, the more water you remove, the less damage there will be to your flooring, walls, and carpets.
Create a Plumbing Emergency Kit
Plumbing emergencies are often unavoidable, which is why it's best to create a kit that can help you better handle the disaster until the plumber arrives. Here are a few items you should keep in your plumbing emergency kit:
- A 5-gallon bucket
- Old towels, to soak up the water
- A plunger
- Rubber gloves, especially if your sewer backed up
- Flat and Phillip's screwdrivers
Store these items in the bucket and keep it handy to help minimize the damage of your plumbing disaster.
Waiting for the plumber to arrive after an emergency can seem endless. The best way to ensure your home suffers minimal damage is to learn how to act, while you wait for you trusted plumber to arrive. For more information, contact local professionals like Towers Murray Plumbing.