Limiting the Damage in a Plumbing Emergency
There aren’t many worse feelings for a homeowner than watching water flow where it isn’t supposed to. When water gets out of the system and into the house itself, major damage and expense can be right around the corner. While you can’t necessarily prevent all plumbing disasters from happening, you can be prepared and act quickly when they do. If water starts to flow freely in any area of your house, call an emergency plumber right away. Knowing that the plumber is on the way, take the following steps to minimize the damage while you await their arrival.
- Get the water shut off. The first action you need to take after calling the plumber is cutting off the supply of water to the problem area. If the leak is coming from an appliance such as a dishwasher, you should be able to shut off the water to just that appliance. The shutoff valve is usually located underneath or behind the unit – it is wise to familiarize yourself with the location of your shutoff valves ahead of time so you are prepared in an emergency. If the leak is coming from a main line somewhere within the house, you will want to shut off the main water supply to the whole house. This is probably located somewhere out near the street, and again, you would be smart to learn where to find it and how to shut it off before an issue ever arises.
- Clear the area. With the water turned off, get all items out of the area that may be damaged by the water. Even if something isn’t yet being touched by the water, clear a large area around the leak. While the water is shut off, there still may be more in the system that will continue to drain out. Find a dry and warm area of your home to store anything that may have gotten wet. After the emergency plumber arrives and fixes the problem, you can go back and work on drying and salvaging the items that were affected.
- Dry the floor. If you have a significant amount of water on the floor, get as many towels as you can and soak up as much standing water as possible. The longer the water sits on any surface, the better chance it has to find its way into cracks and start to damage other parts of the home. Simply thrown down the towels onto the wet areas, and use your hands or feet to move them around and get the surface dried. If you don’t have a good place to throw the towels right away, just toss them outside. You will have plenty of time to clean up later – your first priority is just getting rid of the water and letting the plumber get to work when he arrives.
- The last tip may be turning your tap in the on position to let the water run taking pressure away from the leak.
The key to a proper response in a water emergency is being prepared and having a plan. By knowing where all of the water shutoff valves are located, as well as having the number of an emergency plumber displayed prominently, you can limit the damage to your home and the things inside of it. You will likely get a little messy while cleaning up the water leak, but that is better than losing valuable items or suffering costly damage. Act fact and you can prevent a minor water leak from becoming a major problem.