Plumbing emergencies can come at any time, and usually happen at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. With a little preparation and planning, you can handle the unexpected like a pro.

Knowing who to call, where your water shut-off valves are, and what steps to take until a plumber arrives is key to saving your sanity and interiors.

First Things First

Take some time to locate a few important things in your house. Before an emergency arises, you need to know who to call and where to stop the water flow.

Keep the number of your favorite local emergency plumber in a handy location that’s easy to access. Sticking it on the refrigerator, a convenient cork board, or even entering the number in your “contacts” on your cell phone are all good options. The quicker you can call, the sooner the plumber will be able to get to you.

Prepare yourself for a plumbing emergency by locating all of the water shut-off valves in your home. There are a number of different valves, so it is important that you take the time to familiarize yourself with each of their locations. Being able to access them quickly will help you stop a possible flood in its tracks, and save you repairs on your interiors.

Main Water Shut-off Valve

This valve is typically located in the basement of your home, on a wall near the front of the house. If you don’t see the valve in the basement, it is also possible to find it mounted on an exterior wall, or even out near the street in a concrete “meter pit.” A clockwise turn with a wrench will shut it off.

For a home served by a well, the shut-off valve will be on the house side of the pressure tank. You should also turn the tank power off so the tank doesn’t perceive a phantom pressure loss and burn itself out.

Main Hot Water Shut-off Valve

The valve on the hot water outlet of your water heater controls all of the hot water to the home. Be sure to know where both your water heater and the valve are.

Toilet Shut-off Valve

The toilet shut-off valve is generally located under the toilet tank, behind the toilet. They commonly have a ribbed, oval handle.

Sink Shut-off Valves

Sink shut-off valves are typically found under the sink inside the cabinet or vanity. Generally, the one on the left controls the hot water and the one on the right controls the cold water.

Dishwasher Shut-off Valve

Typically the dishwasher shut-off valve is under the kitchen sink. Often, there is a shut-off valve leading to the dishwasher on the hot water sink supply line.

Clothes Washer Shut-off Valve

The valves for the clothes washer should be where the house supply lines meet the washer hoses.

When an Emergency Occurs

Now that you’ve got a number handy and know where all of your water shut-off valves are, what’s next?

Call your plumber

The first thing you should do is dial the number to your plumber so that they can get to your home as soon as possible.

Shut the water off

While you are on the phone with your plumber, if you haven’t done so already, identify where the excess water is coming from. If you can clearly identify that it is coming from one of your plumbing fixtures, turn the valve off to that fixture. If you’re uncertain where the leak has originated, head to the main water shut-off valve and shut the entire system down.

Open the outdoor faucet

If it was necessary to shut the main valve to your house’s water supply, head outside and open the outdoor faucet by your hose. This allows any remaining water in the lines to drain outdoors where it is less likely to cause damage to your home’s interior.

Shut down the water heater

If the water source is shut down to your home, gas could continue to flow to the water heater, which could cause the water temperature inside the tank to rise to dangerous levels. By turning off the gas valve to the water heater, you will add an extra level of protection to your home until the plumbing problem has been repaired.

Contain the water flow

If the pipe that is leaking is accessible, you can attempt to temporarily contain the water by placing a bucket under the leak to catch the water, or wrap the pipe with absorbent towels. Additionally, you can begin mopping up any overflow. The quicker you contain the water, the less interior damage you will have to your home.

PJ’s Plumbing is Here to Help

Learn more about plumbing emergency solutions from PJ’s Plumbing, or call (262) 367-2357 if you need help in your home right away!