A plumbing emergency is a situation in someone’s home that creates an unsafe environment. It could be something like a water leak coming through the ceiling that causes flooding and leads to the risk of a ceiling cave-in. A sewage backup in someone’s home is an emergency because the water is extremely unsanitary. The smell of gas around the water heater or HVAC unit is definitely an emergency because it could pose an immediate risk. Extended HVAC breakdowns during times of hot weather can be unsafe as well.
If you experience a water leak pouring through the ceiling, it could either be a leaky drain line or a leaky water line. The leak will not be constant if the drain line is leaking. (When you stop using the toilet, using the sink, taking a shower, or using any other plumbing fixtures, the leak will go away.) If the leak is constant, it’s generally the water line.
It’s really important that you know where the main water valve is located and how it’s operated. The first thing you’ll want to do in case of a leak is cut off the water going to your home. If you don’t know where your main water line is, locate it now, while you don’t have an emergency. (It isn’t a good idea to stack large storage boxes that obstruct the main valve because it won’t be possible to quickly shut off the water in an emergency.) Emergency stops are located under each sink and toilet. Turning off those valves will allow you to isolate a single problematic fixture instead of having to cut off the water to the whole home.
If you smell gas, the best thing to do is call the gas company so they can cut off the gas to your home. Otherwise, if you’re a little handy, you might be able to shut off the valve yourself. (It’s located at the gas meter.) If you’re experiencing a sewage backup, the best thing to do is stop using any water in the home. Do not flush any toilets, run any sinks, or take a shower until the situation is resolved.
Everyone should call a professional, whether it’s heating & air or plumbing, to assess the situation. If you encounter water damage in your home, you’ll want to call a reputable remediation company. The sooner you can stop the water and get the area dry, the less damage you will have. A warm, moist environment can potentially start growing mold within 48 hours. That’s why it’s really important to get a professional remediation company in there as soon as possible.
The next thing that we sometimes don’t do is learn from our mistakes. After an emergency situation, it’s always good to ask yourself or a professional what could have been done to minimize the damage and/or prevent the issue from occurring again in the future. Most people won’t have to deal with frequent emergencies. However, if you have a leak in one area of the house, it could very well happen in another area. Addressing the situation proactively and without procrastination could prevent another emergency situation later.
Take a step back and ask yourself what you can learn, and maybe what you can do differently. Plumbing emergencies tend to happen during the most inconvenient time. It’s a nightmare to go through these things, especially if you end up with excessive water damage. You definitely don’t want to experience an emergency while guests are visiting for the holidays and the system is most heavily used. Just pay attention, be proactive, and learn from emergencies.
Sometimes staying safe can be as simple as hiring a professional for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. If you have any questions, contact us online or give us a call at 540-483-9382.