There is nothing more unsettling for a homeowner than a pipe bursting and spraying water in the house. When you have water accumulating around your ankles and you don't know how to make it stop, it's time to call in a plumber. But in this type of emergency situation, you don't have time to wait for a plumber to arrive at your house or you'll be swimming to the front door. Instead, follow these steps on what to do in a plumbing emergency.
Turn Off The Water At The Closest Valve
The first thing you need to do is find the closest water valve and turn the water off. This will stop the water from spewing out of the busted pipe. This can easily be done by the average homeowner. Simple find the silver knob closest to the leak and turn it counterclockwise. Not only will this stop further damage to the water pipes, but it will also stop the progression of water damage in your home and it will give you time to find a good plumber.
Here are more details about shutting off the water supply to specific appliances:
Toilet - The shut off valve is usually found at the base of the toilet near the wall, and is oval-shaped.
Water Heater – You will typically find the shut off valve adjacent to the water pipes that lead to and from the heater.
Bathroom/Kitchen Sink – The water valve is under the sink, closer to the floor and the wall. There may be 2 valves for your sink: 1 for hot water and 1 for cold water. Shut both of them off.
Turn Off The Water At The Main House Valve
If a pipe burst in the floor or wall of your home, your best course of action is to go outside and turn off the main water supply to your entire home. In most modern homes, you will find this valve under a rectangular lid next to the water meter. It will be in front of your house, close to the sidewalk or next to the street. In order to turn the valve off, you'll need a wrench. Simply twist it to the left to turn the water off.
Verify The Leak Stopped And Call Your Local Plumber
Now, go back to the location of the leak and make sure water is no longer spraying out. If it is, go back to the valve and make sure it's turned off all the way. If you turned off the local valve and water is still spraying, you should go to the main valve outside your home and turn that off.
Once the water has stopped leaking, you can begin the process of hiring a licensed plumber to come assess and fix the problem. If you have some DIY knowledge and it's an obvious leak with an easy fix, you could attempt to fix it yourself. But in most cases it's best that you leave it up to the professionals to repair the water leak and/or replace the burst pipe.
Clean Up The Water
While you wait for the plumber, you can start the cleanup process. Soak up as much water as you can with towels and/or a shop vacuum, get a dehumidifier running, and then thoroughly dry the floor and walls with fans to prevent mold growth. You will also want to clean surfaces with a mild detergent to prevent mold from growing. That is all you need to know in order to handle a plumbing emergency. If you have any questions, call your local licensed plumber. He'll be happy to help you. For more tips on dealing with an emergency, contact a company like Laroc Refrigeration-Metal Division.