What to Do in a Plumbing Emergency

Emergencies happen at the most unexpected of times, and unfortunately, we are often unprepared for them. Not everyone is fully equipped with an emergency car kit in the trunk for when you get a flat tire. Not everyone remembers to refill the first-aid kit when you run out of Band-Aids. When you think ahead and picture a time when you might be stuck in one of these scenarios, you realize how grateful you will be to have already put these steps into place. This applies to your plumbing, too.

Plumbing emergencies are unexpected and unpleasant, especially if you don’t know what to do. That’s what Fletcher’s Plumbing & Contracting is here for—to make sure you feel confident if you find your plumbing system suddenly malfunctioning.

What You Should Have at Home

To be prepared, the first step is to make sure your home is equipped with the right tools. Here are the handy tools you should keep in stock in case of a plumbing emergency:

A large bucket: This can be used to store your other emergency tools, and it will be extremely useful if you need to catch water from a leakage.
A plunger: Clogged toilets are, unfortunately, some of the most common plumbing emergencies. Don’t get caught without a plunger.
A screwdriver and a wrench: Screwdrivers and wrenches are staples in your toolkit. Wrenches can be used to turn stubborn water shut-off valves, and screwdrivers can be used for just about anything.
Duct tape: This will come in handy if you need to stop a leak temporarily until you can get professional assistance.
Paper towels or rags: Keep these at hand in case you need to soak up water leaks on the fly.
Chemical clog cleaner: A clogged drain can quickly escalate from minor to severe. Keep a chemical clog cleaner to get rid of pesky drain obstructions in 30 minutes or less.
Plumber’s tape: This tape is more durable than duct tape, and can be very useful for stopping small leaks.

What to Do When You Experience a Plumbing Emergency

When you run into a plumbing situation and have little to no experience in this area, the first instinct can be to panic. While calling a plumber should be your first step, there are few things you can do in the meantime to prevent damage.

Frozen pipes are a common issue in the winter. Pipes can freeze when windows or doors are left open in cold temperatures, which can happen to even the most experienced plumbers. If you suspect a pipe is frozen, inspect it for damage. If there is damage, call a plumber immediately. If there isn’t any damage, you can start to thaw the pipe with a blow dryer (as long as you are not near any puddles of water).

For a regular clogged toilet, you can use a plunger to remove the clog. If you have a clog that starts to spill water around your bathroom, immediately shut off the water valve and call a plumber.

If you have other drains that are draining very slowly, try to remove some of the clog yourself. If you can remove some of it, you can then use a chemical clog remover to clear the rest of the drain. If this does not work, call your plumber.

When leaking pipes become an issue, the only two steps you need to take are to turn off your water and call a plumber. When people attempt to fix these themselves, they often end up causing more damage.

For a leaking water heater, however, you can do a little more while you wait for your plumber to arrive. Check the pressure release valve for leaks. If you determine there is a leak, turn off your water immediately.

When to Call a Plumber

Here are a few situations you should not attempt to fix yourself. Instead, call a plumber right away.

• A foul smell is coming from inside your home. If you smell sewage in your home when you turn on a faucet—or even when your faucet is off—this could be a sign of a problem with your septic system or other plumbing. You should not attempt to fix this yourself, so call a plumber as soon as you can.
• Your home smells like rotten eggs. This could be a sign of a gas leak. A plumber is a great resource in this scenario, so call one right away. Turn off any gas valves and immediately evacuate.
• Your water bill is extremely high. This could be a sign that your water heater is leaking. Other signs of this are a mildew smell (not in your bathroom), a musty smell, or stained and sagging walls, ceilings, or floors.

If you are experiencing a plumbing emergency in California, you don’t have to go it alone. Call Fletcher’s Plumbing & Contracting right away to get help any time of the day or night.