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If you haven't dealt with a plumbing emergency yet, then you almost certainly will, as unfortunately they are surprisingly common occurrences. I've dealt with numerous examples in my time, both in the course of managing properties, as well as in my own home. It is very important to understand how to respond when an emergency happens, so that you can minimize any damage and quickly find an effective remedy.
A plumbing emergency typically involves the discovery of some form of flooding or water damage. Perhaps you come home to discover that the floor of your kitchen or bathroom is covered in water, or find the ceiling of your living room sagging and dripping, or pieces of soggy dry wall becoming detached in the kitchen. As water damage usually only gets worse if left alone, some sort of immediate action needs to be taken.
I will explain each of the above points in more detail. Please read on.
Shutting off the nearest water source is usually the first thing that you should do, if you want to minimize water damage.
For toilets, this can be achieved by turning the valve at the base or behind the commode. For most other emergencies, especially larger scale ones, you will need to turn off the main water valve. For domestic properties, they can often be found on an exterior wall of your home, near the outdoor water meter, and they are usually shut off by turning clockwise.
After you've turned off the main shut-off valve, you may also want to turn on all of the faucets. This drains away any water left within the plumbing pipes and diverts excess water in the pipes away from the location of a possible plumbing leak.
Assessing what is causing the issue can range in level of difficulty. The nature of the problem may be pretty obvious, or it may require the assessment of a professional.
If the problem is a leak, you may be able to stifle it through the use of plumber's tape, or by wrapping around old towels, creating a temporarily solution until a plumber arrives, or giving you time to come up with a permanent solution.
If you have a good collection of plumbing tools, as well as some confidence and experience, then you may be able to resolve some issues yourself and save yourself some money. If you do intend to take a DIY approach then below are some tools I would recommend having access to in the event of an emergency.
It all depends on the nature of the problem. Many problems require advanced skills and experience, or specialist tools and machinery. You should also bear in mind that you can make a problem worse, or risk personal injury, if you don't know what you are doing. If in doubt, call a plumber.
There are many issues that require the services of a plumbing professional. If that's the case, then you should call them in as quickly as possible. While you are waiting for the plumber to arrive, it's a good idea to mop up any excess water with a mop, towels, or paper towels.
Be aware that emergency plumbers may often just return the water supply to the home, or create a temporary fix for blockages or other problems. They may need to return the following day or later to create permanent solutions.
Costs may also be a factor when considering the timing of calling in a plumber. Emergency plumbers are more expensive, so it is preferable to seek the services of a plumber during regular hours, when possible.
Once the immediate situation has been dealt with, you should call your insurance company. Homeowners insurance or property insurance policies often have provision for plumbing events and may provide partial or full coverage for the expense of repair. The cost of calling out an emergency plumber will often not be covered, however.
© 2019 Paul Goodman
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 10, 2020:
Practicle tips. Interesting.