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Five Things to Know In a Plumbing Emergency

Read below to learn how to be prepared incase a plumbing emergency occurs in your home

When you encounter a plumbing emergency, you may be tempted to panic. Do your best to stay calm. Here are five things to remember that will make solving the problem quicker and easier.

KNOW HOW TO SHUT OFF THE MAIN WATER LINE

Water can do a lot of damage to your property in very little time. Itís essential that you know where to shut off the main water line to your home; then, when a plumbing problem shows up, you can limit the destruction. The shut off valve is often near the water meter or near an exterior access point of your homeís crawl space. Make sure you know where it is.

KNOW HOW TO SHUT OFF WATER TO INDIVIDUAL APPLIANCES

If you are having trouble with one particular appliance, you may not need to shut off water to the whole house. Instead try shutting off the water to that specific appliance. This shut off valve is usually near the appliance itself. It could be behind your washer or underneath your sink. Take a minute to locate these for future emergencies.

KNOW HOW TO STOP AN OVERFLOWING TOILET

An overflowing toilet is a fairly common problem that can cause a huge mess quickly, so you should know how to stop it. Try turning on the cold water in a nearby sink or bathtub to slow the flow of water to the toilet. Then find the shut off valve for the toiletís water supply, which is usually located behind the toilet near the floor. Shut it off by turning it clockwise.

After you have stopped the water from flowing, you can work on unclogging the toilet, which is probably why it overflowed in the first place. Make sure you have the right tools on hand; many people have a plunger at home, but it is often not the right kind of plunger to unclog a toilet. For the most success, use a flange plunger. A flange plunger has an upside-down bowl like a regular plunger, but it also has a 2-3 inch rim that helps create a seal when plunging the toilet.

KNOW WHAT TO DO IF YOUR WATER HEATER IS LEAKING OR OVERHEATING

If your water heater is leaking, you will probably need to call a professional to come check it. To stop the leak while you are waiting for them to arrive, turn off the cold water line to the water heater. Then make sure the gas or electricity to the water heater is also turned off.

If your water is steaming or at an unexpected scalding temperature, it could be a sign your water heater is overheating. In this case DO NOT turn off the cold water line. Instead, turn off the gas or electricity to the water heater and open the hot water faucets in your home and run the water until it turns cold. This will cool down your water heater and prevent bigger problems.

KNOW HOW TO TEMPORARILY SEAL LEAKS

If you live in a cold place like Montana or Toronto, drain repair may be needed due to freezing pipes. If something is leaking, you donít want to just let the water run while you wait for the plumber to fix the problem. Have some duct tape on hand so you can temporarily seal a broken pipe until the plumber arrives. This is not a long term solution, but it will prevent water from leaking while you wait for the pipes to be fixed.

If you remember these tips, you should be able to stay calm and minimize the damage caused by a plumbing emergency.

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