It is safe to say that not all homeowners are familiar with plumbing systems and how to repair them, right? Now, with that being said, we also cannot discount the fact that many homeowners will be facing plumbing emergencies at the most inconvenient hours of the day (or night). So what do you do? Can you plan for these emergencies or at least minimize them from happening? The good news is that yes you can! So here are some tips you can follow to be ready for a plumbing emergency any time.
It is definitely difficult to predict when and where a plumbing emergency can happen. The good news is that there are some basic tips you can follow in order to make sure that the smallest of problems do not quickly escalate into something disastrous.
- Be aware where your main water shutoff valve is located. This is especially true if you do not have isolation valves installed in your plumbing fixtures. What does this do? In case of a leak (or even a burst pipe) it will stop the flow of water into your home plumbing system. Without water, there wouldn’t be much damage that could be done on your property.
If you do not have isolation valves, after reading this, the first thing you do is call a professional plumbing service and have one installed for every plumbing fixture in your home. Why? This allows you to stop the supply of water to a specific location without affecting the other parts of your home. This means that if you have a toilet leak, you can be sure that no further damage will happen to your toilet, but you can still have water supplied to your kitchen and other parts of your home.
A reminder when it comes to valves, these are not designed to function forever; so make sure that you check them periodically to make sure that they are still functioning.
- Turn off the electric water heater. If you don’t know, water and electricity are not actually the best of friends. So if the plumbing leak happens to be next your electric water heater, you can be in for a very shocking surprise. What if you have a gas water heater? Make sure to turn its switch to the pilot position. This is a safeguard to prevent any possible damage to your water heater, among other things.
- Have tools handy. It does not matter if you know how to repair a plumbing leak or not, these tools will save you from a lot of headaches and distress. So what are the tools that you need? At least two (2) wrenches, a pair of slip joint pliers, a screwdriver, and Allen wrenches.
The 2 wrenches will allow you to do a process known as backing off. This means turning the wrenches in opposite directions to ensure that the stress will not be absorb by the plumbing pipes or fixtures. This is great when tightening loose connections that result in leaks.
The slip joint pliers will allow you to loosen collar nuts usually found on the drain line. This helps you get into the line and clean it out in case it gets clogged.
The screwdriver can be used to screw in a blind cap that seals off leaks caused by broken supply tubes. This helps prevent further damage until professional help arrives in your home.
The Allen wrenches on the other hand will be great tools when facing problems with the garbage disposal or even some of your faucets.
- There are two kinds of tapes that you will need in a plumbing emergency; a duct tape and a Teflon tape. The duct tape can be used for cracked pipes or reduce leaks. This temporary solution will give ample time for professional plumbing services to get to your home without having to worry about huge damages.
Teflon tape is used mostly around the ferrule as a stopgap measure until permanent repair can be done to the connection by a licensed plumber.
- Clogged toilets and sinks are common problems in many homes. One of the best ways to prepare for them is to have a plunger ready. However, you must be aware that there are 2 types of plungers; a cup plunger and a flange plunger.
Cup plungers are used mainly for small drains like those found in the shower, tubs, and sinks. The flange plunger is used for clogged toilets. You need to have these 2 handy to allow you to deal with virtually all types of leaks.
The important thing to remember with plungers is that the mouth of the cup should be submerged in at least an inch of water and a vacuum should be created to allow the force to dislodge the blockage. You should also be very careful not to apply too much force to ensure that you do not crack the sink or toilet bowl.
If the clogging has not been dislodged, you can follow it up with a plumber’s snake.
As you can see, these tips are not meant to solve your plumbing emergency, but rather, to give ample time for professional help to arrive. So the best way to be ready for a plumbing emergency any time of the day is to have the number of a 24-hour emergency plumbing service handy.