Skip to main content

What to Do During a Plumbing Emergency: Stay Calm, Dry, and More!

What to Do During a Plumbing Emergency: Stay Calm, Dry, and More!Photo from Unsplash

Originally Posted On:


Plumbing emergencies can seem to happen at the worst times, catching homeowners off guard and causing panic. Whether it’s a burst pipe flooding your home or a clogged drain backing up sewage, these situations demand prompt action to minimize damage and prevent further complications.

While it’s natural to feel overwhelmed, staying calm and following the proper steps can make a big difference in reducing the impact of a plumbing crisis.

To help you navigate this treacherous situation, %COMPANY%’s plumbing experts created this guide that explores what to do during a plumbing emergency. It provides you with the knowledge and strategies to handle these situations without panic.

Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

We get it. Unusual circumstances tend to lead to unusual actions. But trying your best to remain calm and collected during a plumbing emergency will make a world of difference. Panic can cause stress and lead to rash decisions that may exacerbate the problem.

So, the first thing to do is take a deep breath and assess the situation objectively. Identify the source of the issue, whether it’s a burst pipe, a backed-up drain, or a malfunctioning appliance. This initial inspection will help you determine the appropriate course of action.

Once you’ve determined the root of the problem, you can begin to tackle it.

Shut off the Water Supply

Once you’ve identified the source of the problem, your next priority should be to shut off the water supply. Consider this step the most crucial as it prevents further water damage and minimizes the potential for flooding.

Locate the main water supply valve, often installed near the water meter or the main water line that enters your home. If the issue can be isolated to a specific fixture or appliance, you may also have the option to shut off the water supply at the individual shut-off valves.

How to Quickly Locate Your Water Valve

It’s important to waste no time and spring into action when water is flooding.

Look for the main water shut-off valve inside your home by following these steps:

  • Look along exterior walls, often near a hose faucet on the street-facing side.
  • The main valve is typically within a few feet of where the main water line enters the home.

Alternatively, you can attempt the following:

  • Locate individual fixture shut-off valves, which can be near each plumbing fixture (toilet, sink, washing machine, etc.
  • Following this approach will allow you to shut off water to a specific area without affecting the whole house

If you’re unable to locate the valve, contact a professional plumber or your water company for assistance.

Turn Off Your Water Heater

During a plumbing emergency, it’s crucial to turn off your water heater to prevent damage to the unit. After shutting off the main water valve, disable the water heater to avoid heat buildup inside, which can lead to bursting or overheating.

If you have a gas water heater, ensure you turn off the gas supply first before proceeding. If you’re unsure of where to look, water heaters are commonly found in basements, utility rooms, closets, or garages.

How to Turn off Gas Water Heaters

  • Find your way to the gas control valve or dial, usually located near or on the gas control valve/thermostat.
  • Turn the dial or valve to the “Off” position to shut off the gas supply first before proceeding.

How to Turn Off Electric Water Heaters

For electric water heaters, you need to shut off the power at the circuit breaker or disconnect the switch.

Here’s what to do:

  • Identify which breaker powers the water heater and turn it to the “Off” position.
  • Do not try to approach or work on it if it is malfunctioning in an unusual way.

Minimize Water Damage

If water is already present, act quickly to minimize the damage. Place buckets or containers to catch any leaking water, and use towels or mops to soak up excess moisture.

If the leak is significant or the water is contaminated, consider using a wet/dry vacuum to remove standing water more efficiently. Move any valuable or sensitive items away from the affected area to prevent further damage.

Once you’ve safeguarded everything, it’s essential to dry and ventilate the affected area thoroughly. Moisture buildup can quickly lead to mold growth and other long-term issues, which is why we encourage you to take action right away.

If the water damage is extensive, you should consider hiring a professional water damage restoration crew to ensure proper drying and remediation.

Open Drains and Outdoor Faucets

Even after closing the main water valve, residual water will remain in your pipes. To drain this water away from potential damage areas, open any outdoor faucets or spigots. This will allow the remaining water to flow out of your home.

Additionally, if you have one, give your garden hose a few squirts to ensure it’s cleared of any water. If you encounter a minor clog or backup during this process, try using gentle methods like a plunger to clear the drain.

Address Minor Leaks Temporarily

If you identify a small, manageable leak during the previous step, take temporary measures to contain it. If you have plumber’s tape handy, this would be the time to put it to use. If you don’t, you can also stuff rags and towels around leaking pipes or place buckets under dripping areas to catch the water and prevent further damage.

Don’t forget to make a note of these leaks and inform the plumbers as soon as they arrive, ensuring that the issues are addressed in the safest and most efficient order.

Get Professional Plumbing Help During Your Plumbing Emergency

Plumbing emergencies are serious incidents that can quickly become dangerous. When you’re faced with one, act promptly to reduce the degree of damage.

%COMPANY% can handle all plumbing emergencies, big and small, and help you get through the mess. If you’re looking for a reliable plumber, contact us at %PHONE1%.

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.