Houston winters are getting colder and colder; no wonder homeowners are worried.
With hard freeze warnings that specifically caution that temperatures could cause damage to exposed pipes, people imagine the worst and wonder how a frozen pipe could burst when they least expect it. While many of us have always dreamed of a home with an indoor swimming pool, we certainly don’t want one as a result of a burst pipe that’s caused epic flooding in our basement.
What do you when that dreaded plumbing emergency actually happens, and you find yourself standing in a foot of water that continues to rise? What do you do if your plumbing emergency is something else like an overflowing toilet or water rushing out from under the sink?
Here's what to do during a plumbing emergency:
Keep your cool and close the water shut-off valve.
The first thing you have to do is stop the flow of water to prevent flooding and further water damage. This is why it’s important to know where the water shut-off valve is. If you have an older home, your shut-off valve is probably above ground, below the outside faucet. For new homes, the shut-off valve is typically located in a utility room or garage on an outer wall. Once you’ve found the main shut-off, turn the handle clockwise.
If the leak is in your toilet or sink, you can shut off the water close to the source. For toilets, look underneath the tank for any flexible metal tubing. This will lead to a shut off valve. When you find it, turn the handle clockwise. If your sink is the problem, there should be two sets of flexible metal tubing underneath the sink; turn the handles clockwise.
Turn off electricity at the fuse box.
A flooded basement can be an electrocution hazard once the water reaches the height of the electrical outlets. If your breaker panel is in the basement, do not attempt to enter until the basement has been drained. Call your electric utility to have them shut the power off at the meter.
Turn on all the faucets.
Once you’ve closed the shut-off valve, go back and turn on all your faucets. I know this sounds odd considering the last thing you want to do is invite more water into your home. However, turning on your faucets will drain any remaining water within the plumbing pipes, diverting excess water away from where the leak is.
Call your local plumber.
Nick’s Plumbing has offered superior plumbing services to the Greater Houston Area since 1979. Our team of licensed and background checked plumbing technicians are highly experienced, and we’re friendly folks as well. We’ve been based in the Houston Heights since the very beginning, and are committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work.
Clean while you wait.
Even if you’re able to close the shut-off valve right away, you’ll still have some water damage to some degree. And the longer you wait to clean it up, the more damage it will cause. To avoid this and potential mold growth, clean out any water with a towel or mop up the best you can. Remove any furniture that’s been water damaged to dry out completely.
The key to stemming the flood is being prepared. Know where your home’s shut-off valves are and close them right away at the first sign of a burst pipe. And be sure to program Nick’s Plumbing in your saved contacts or have us on speed dial: 713-868-9907.