WHAT TO DO IN A PLUMBING EMERGENCY
Turn Off Your Water
In most plumbing emergencies, you need to turn your water off right away to prevent flooding or further damage to your home. In the midst of an emergency, it’s usually best to shut off the water to your entire house. In the Austin area, most homes’ main shutoff valves are located outside near your water meter. You should find it past the meter on the house side, usually in a box just below ground level. Once you locate the valve handle, simple turn it clockwise until it stops. It’s important that this valve is either in the full on or full off position. It is not designed to be left partially open. See the above video for more detailed instructions with visuals.
If you have a leak that is less urgent, you may be able to turn your water off at the fixture rather than losing water supply to your entire house. For your sink, you can usually see two chrome or plastic stop valves under your sink at the back of the cabinet. You will need to turn off both valves to stop water supply to your sink. Toilets have just a single stop valve, which is usually located on the wall right behind the toilet.
Open Drains and Spigots
After you’ve shut off your water at the main valve, there will still be water in the pipes. To prevent this water from further damaging your home, you need to release it to the outside. Walk around the exterior of your home and turn on any spigots or water hoses until the water flow stops. If you notice a clog or backup during this process, you can try to release it with a plunger. However, it is very important that you do not under any circumstances put chemicals down your drains. Harsh chemicals can cause extensive damage to your plumbing system. It is best to wait for your plumber so they can diagnose the problem and help provide you with a solution.
Assess the Damage
If you are able to, it’s important to assess the situation before you call us. Carefully observe the problem area and look for any potential water sources. You should also feel walls or floors to check if they feel warm or wet. The more information you can provide to us, the better we can be prepared to service your problem.
Hire a Professional Plumber
People often forget to call their plumber in the height of an emergency. It’s important to give us a call right away to minimize the damage to your home. We can also walk you through what you need to do and assess whether or not your household is in danger. This is especially important when it comes to gas leaks, which can cause an explosion if not cared for properly.
Top 5 Plumbing Emergencies
Sewage Water Backing Up in Your Home
This is our number one plumbing emergency. With sewer drain lines, there is not a problem until it stops working completely. This can be caused by roots in the sewer line, your home’s foundation shifting, or maybe a hard object like your child’s favorite action figure may be blocking the line.
Ceiling is Leaking
If you notice a bulge or are experiencing dripping water from your ceiling, it’s more than likely you have a leak. It is very common in the Austin area for builders to save space by putting the water heater in the attic. Lots of time these water heaters will go unmaintained for many years. Being made of thin sheet metal, your water heater will eventually deteriorate and start leaking. Other times, we find the HVAC system condensate drain line may be clogged due to impurities in the air. This causes water to back up out of the line and cause a leak. Rodents also can be to blame since the water piping in your plumbing system can be made of plastic. These rodents will chew through the lines, causing a leak.
Leak in Front Yard
Discovering a huge water puddle or seeing gushing water from your front yard can be a sign of a water main break. This occurs in the Austin area more often than you would think since this climate experiences extreme temperature changes. When it goes from really hot to really cold, your pipes expand and contract. Sometimes this can cause the water main pipe to rupture. You may also accidentally break your pipe by installing a fence or remodeling your front lawn. It is important to know the location of your water line so you do not dig into it and bust the line open. Lastly, ground shifting could be the reason you are experiencing a leak. Wet and dry weather conditions can put stress on the pipe causing it to crack and leak.
Wet Spot on Floor Inside Home or Business
Sometimes it is unfortunate that you come across a puddle of water inside your favorite room that just won’t go away. This can be an indicator that you are experiencing a slab leak. This means that the water lines located underneath your concrete slab foundation which holds your home or business in place have cracked or completely separated. Slab leaks can be one of the most evasive problems to fix due to the location of the water leak. Should you experience a slab leak, it is important to hire a professional who can resolve the issue without causing further damage to your home or business as it is an extremely technical repair.
This is one of the most dangerous plumbing emergencies. If you smell gas, it is important to shut the gas off at the meter in front of your home or business or call your gas provider immediately. Gas can be explosive and can cause extensive irreparable damage. Sometimes your gas pipes can experience electrolysis. This happens when two dissimilar metals come in contact with each other causing them to deteriorate at a rapid pace, ultimately rupturing the pipe. Other times, gas pipes can be poorly installed. It is important to have your gas appliances installed by a licensed professional who will properly seal the line at the connection. Nonetheless, accidents do happen and a pipe may also get busted while completing a remodel on a room that needs updating.
ARE YOU HAVING A DIFFERENT ISSUE?
Give your local office a call and one of our experienced plumbing technicians can help you access the solution.