How to Prepare for a Plumbing Emergency

Plumbing emergencies can happen any time.  Being prepared will help you to cope with the situation and ensure that expensive damage and costly repair will be avoided.  Here are some useful tips that you may find extremely useful when faced with a plumbing emergency.

The Valves

You may not be aware of it, but valves are important components of every plumbing system.  These valves are used to control the flow of water from the supply line to the different fixtures in the various areas of your home.  During an emergency:

  • Turn off the isolation valve to stop the flow of water to the specific fixture that has a problem. This helps to control the potential damage that the plumbing emergency can do.  The great thing with isolation valves is that it does not affect the supply of water to the other parts of your home.  If you do not have isolation valves, consider installing them.  Regularly check the valves to make sure they are not stuck.
  • Another important thing about valves is that you should know where the main water shutoff valve is located so you can easily turn it off when necessary.

Tools

When I talked with plumbing los angeles staff, most of the time it is recommended that fixtures be hand tightened to make sure that it is not cracked or damaged.  However, especially during an emergency, it is handy to have at least two wrenches and a pair of pliers around.  Here’s how tools can help during an emergency.

  • You can use the “backing off” technique for hard to turn valves and pipes. Take two wrenches and turn them in opposite directions.  This frees up the pipe or valve without having the plumbing absorb the stress or pressure.
  • Collar nuts of the drain line can be easily loosened with a pair of slip joint pliers.
  • A blind cap comes in handy when a supply tube breaks; seal the leak until you can fix it.
  • Two plungers can be helpful when unclogging the kitchen sink. The second plunger will be used to cover the other drain to maximize the force of unclogging.
  • Use a forced cup plunger to unclog toilets. This can also be used for small drains like showers, bathtubs, and bathroom sinks.
  • When working with the garbage disposal or faucets, different sized Allen wrenches are needed.

Miscellaneous Tips

Other things that you should know during an emergency includes:

  • Learn how to turn off your water heater. For gas water heaters, make sure that it is in the pilot position.
  • Teflon tape is an effective way to stop leaks from scratched or dented supply tubes until proper repair is available.
  • Cracked pipes can be bound together with pipe sealing or duct tape as a temporary remedy until a plumber gets to your home.
  • To reveal the entire drain of bathtubs, you must unscrew the chrome cap. This gives you a better view of the clogging and will allow you to use the plunger better.  A second plunger should be placed over the overflow of the tub.

Emergency Kit

Just like any other emergency situation, it is important to have an emergency kit handy.  This helps you address potentially any type of emergency plumbing situation.  Your emergency kit should contain the following:

  • Five gallon bucket that can also be used as a toolbox;
  • One regular and one forced cup plunger;
  • Different types of adjustable wrenches;
  • Medium sized slip joint pliers;
  • Multi-bit screwdriver;
  • Assorted Allen keys;
  • Teflon tape;
  • Duct tape;
  • Variety of blind caps; and
  • Heavy duty paper towels and rags.

When you keep all these in mind and have your emergency kit ready, you can handle almost every type of plumbing emergency that can happen in your home.  Always call a professional plumber immediately while you do emergency repairs to control the damage.