Most of the time, plumbing problems manifest themselves in relatively simple, non-urgent issues like a slow-draining sink or a toilet that needs a quick plunge or two. On the other hand, you may sometimes face some downright emergencies that result in large amounts of water leaking in the house, a lack of water flow or drainage to the entire house, or a total breakdown of major water fixtures.
Even if you take great care of your plumbing, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the worst with some plumbing emergency tips:
- If you are unclogging a kitchen sink with two basins, use a second plunger on the other drain to prevent the water from simply moving from basin to basin.
- If unclogging a toilet, be sure to used a forced cup plunger; simple cup plungers are acceptable for sinks and tubs.
- If the ferrules in a supply tube are scratched or dented, use teflon tape as a temporary measure.
- If there is a crack in a pipe, use duct tape or pipe sealing as a temporary solution.
- Know how to turn off the isolation valve for each major water fixture.
- Know where the main water shut-off valve is located in your home.
- Know how to turn off the water heater. Gas heaters turn off by switching them to the “Pilot” setting.
In addition, you will want to be aware of how you can use common tools to address plumbing emergencies. There are certain techniques you can use with wrenches and pliers that are specifically tuned to plumbing emergencies. For example, you can reduce stress on the plumbing by using two wrenches at once, turning them in opposite directions. You can loosen collar nuts on a drain line using slip joint pliers.
With these plumbing emergency tips, you will at least be able to do some damage control while you wait for your plumber, and at best you will be able to avoid having to call a plumber altogether.
If you have a plumbing emergency, it’s likely that you need outside help to fix the problem – and fast. You never want to be waiting around for days to be able to use your major water fixtures, so it’s important to choose a plumber who understands the urgency of your situation.