It’s what every homeowner dreads: coming home to a flooded bathroom, a burst pipe, or a hot water heater that only makes cold water. These are scenarios that happen to almost everyone at some point. And while you may not be able to avoid the situation altogether, you can feel prepared by knowing what to do. Knowing how to handle a plumbing emergency will help you limit the damage, get repair services there quicker, and, most importantly, give you peace of mind.

The best thing you can do to prepare is to have a trusted plumber who you can call right away. We suggest having your plumber’s phone number on speed dial or in a list of contact numbers, so it’s easy to find when you need it most. Here in Boston, many families use Blue Bear Plumbing as their go-to emergency plumber. We have a long history of happy, repeat, and referring customers.

Here’s what we recommend doing during a plumbing emergency:

1. Don’t Panic!

It’s natural to want to panic when you come home to a plumbing disaster. Whether a frozen pipe exploded or your water tank unleashed onto your kitchen floor, plumbing emergencies are stressful. Do your best to stay calm! Take a few deep breaths and get started on this list. The calmer you feel, the easier it will be to solve the emergency and get back to your life.

2.Assess the Damage

Before you call a plumber, you’ll have to take a close look at the damage. It’s okay if you can’t determine what caused the problem. All you have to do is accurately describe the situation to the plumber. Try to anticipate what questions they’ll ask and have the information ready to go. The plumber may ask questions about how long the issue has been going on, what part of the house it’s in, and how much damage it’s caused. The plumber will use this information to decide whether your problem is an emergency that warrants immediate attention.

3.Call a Trusted Plumber

When an emergency strikes your plumbing system, it’s better to act sooner than later. A fast response time will minimize the damage to your home. It will also allow you to enjoy your restored plumbing for everyday tasks like cooking and bathing. Since plumbers aren’t always available at a moment’s notice, you should alert Blue Bear Plumbing in Boston as soon as possible. One of our plumbers will make time in their schedule as soon as it’s available. They’ll also let you know if the emergency is so serious that you should leave the house or if you can wait at home until the technician arrives. In the meantime, there are some important steps you can take to prevent the emergency from worsening.

4. Turn Off Water

Even minor plumbing emergencies have the potential to flood your house and cause major water damage. As soon as you realize you have a plumbing emergency on your hands, turn off the water to minimize the damage. For major emergencies, you’ll probably have to turn off your home’s water main. Every water main has a shutoff valve that cuts off the supply of water. Although every house is designed differently, most water main valves are located on the exterior facing the street. There’s also a chance it’s located in a utility box near your property line. Once you locate the valve, simply turn it clockwise to shut off the water.

5. Check Water Heater

Water heaters can get damaged by certain plumbing emergencies. While you may not know the exact nature of your plumbing emergency until a plumber has a chance to investigate, it’s better to err on the side of caution. If the water heater is left on after the water main has been shut down, heat can accumulate in the unit and cause it to overheat or explode.

After you’ve shut off the main water valve, power down the hot water heater. Turning off a water heater is a two-step process. First, locate the temperature gauge. Typically, it’s located on the front panel of the cistern near the bottom. Turn the dial all the way to zero. Next, find the plumbing line at the top of the unit. Use the valve to switch it off. Once you’ve completed these two steps, your water heater should be safe from damage. Keep in mind that if you own a gas water heater, you should turn off the gas before shutting down the unit.

6. Patch Up Small Leaks

Most plumbing projects should be handled by the pros, but you might be able to patch up minor leaks until a plumber can visit your house. For a dripping pipe or leaky faucet, you can try placing a bucket beneath the leak to catch the water. This will protect your floor from water damage. For a slightly more serious leak, you can try wrapping a loop of plumbers tape around the cracked piece of pipe. This should help stem the flow of water in addition to providing extra stability to the damaged pipe. Once the leak is temporarily patched up, you’ll have some peace of mind while you wait for the plumber to arrive.

7. Open Spigots and Drains

Even though your water main is shut down, there will still be water sitting in your pipes. This is not great for the health of the pipes, so you’ll want to drain them. To fix this, you can turn on all of the faucets around your home until they run dry. And don’t forget the exterior! Take a walk around your property and turn on any spigots you have around the exterior of your house.

8. Try to Soak Up Water

Plumbing emergencies are often messy. You may find puddles on the floor or water trickling down the walls. Water damage can be catastrophic to a house and everything in it. Drywall, floorboards, and furniture can be ruined by water exposure. As you wait for the plumber to arrive, try to clean up the area as best as you can. This will make it easier and safer for the plumber to get started on repair work as soon as he or she arrives. Plus, the less time your home is exposed to water, the more likely it is to avoid the worst of the water damage.

9. Don’t Attempt Major Repairs

Plumbing is a complex trade. That’s why plumbers have hundreds of hours of training and hands-on experience. If you’re stumped by what caused the plumbing emergency or think repairs are beyond your skill level, don’t attempt them. Improper repairs can make the problem worse. This could easily lead to more flooding and a costlier repair than the original solution.

Top-Rated, Quality Plumbing Repairs

When a plumbing emergency strikes, it’s easy to forget to call a plumber. Before you get started cleaning up the mess, give Blue Bear Plumbing so we can get you on our appointment list right away. Not only will we fit you into our schedule as soon as possible, but we’ll also give you tips on how to mitigate the damage while you wait. We’ll also help you assess the damage to determine whether or not you should evacuate the house until we fix the problem. Aside from your comfort, your safety is our number one priority. That’s why Blue Bear Plumbing only hires expert plumbers with years of training and experience.

Blue Bear Plumbing is proud to be Boston’s top plumbing company since 2017. Our team is OSHA certified, BBB A+ rated, and EPA certified. You can trust us with all of your plumbing, heating, cooling needs.

Have a plumbing emergency on your hands? Call us today to schedule your repair appointment!

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