A plumbing calamity may seem like a prime reason to panic,but this could just make the situation worse and cause more damage to occur while you wonder what to do. Before you even call emergency plumbers there are a few things you must remember to do.
One of the major plumbing disasters to occur at home is that of a burst pipe and,while you will need to contact a plumber in this event,there are some other important steps you should take first. Begin by switching off your entire water system at the mains by turning off the stop cocks – also known as stop valves. These are traditionally located beneath the sink. This should stop any more liquid from pouring into your home,causing damage that could see you having to replace your soft furnishings,calling the plasterers or completely redecorating.
Should switching off the stop cock fail to do the trick,you should go around your house and turn on all of your cold taps; be sure to leave your hot taps in the off position. This will help to drain out the system quickly and stop any leaks.
Next,turn off your central heating. The reason for doing this is that a blocked or frozen pipe may mean your boiler becomes an explosion risk. As well as your central heating,you should endeavour to turn off any electrical immersion heaters you have,along with allowing the solid fuel to burn out should your heating run off this.
Now you can call the professionals and while,you may wish to get in a 24-hour tradesman in the event of an emergency,once the most critical problems have been dealt with,you can look for a cheap plumber to come and finish the job further down the line.
As well as a plumber,you should consider contacting an emergency electrician. If your wiring has become wet as a result of the water coming into your home,it could present a major risk to you and everyone else in your household,so it is always worth getting it checked out.
One of the major reasons of a pipe bursting is when the temperature drops,causing the water inside to turn to ice,expand and cause a crack or split in the tube. Should you suspect that your pipes are frozen,for instance,if your heating does not appear to be working properly or the water has stopped coming out of the taps,you can have a go at thawing them,but it is important you take care.
Be sure to take your time as heating up the system too quickly could cause the pipes to crack anyway. You should turn off your mains water supply and assess whether or not there is a split in the pipe – if there is you should empty the system by turning on the cold taps and contact a plumber. If it hasn’t,you can place hot water bottles on it to gradually heat it up.
However,damage can be caused by human error as well as a drop in temperature. A simple DIY job like putting up a shelf could turn into a disaster if the nail you hammer into the wall goes into a water pipe. Should this occur,take the same steps as you would with any burst pipe but make sure you leave the nail in there in order to create a dam against too much water coming through the hole.
If you think your boiler may have been affected by the plumbing problems,you should contact a member of the Gas Safe Register to check it out for you. It is vital that you never attempt to fix an issue with your boiler yourself,as you may unwittingly create a hazard,such as a carbon monoxide leak.
Another plumbing emergency is that of a blocked toilet or sewer. In these events,you should avoid attempting to repair the damage and contact a professional straight away. Be sure to first switch off the water system plus any electrics and then try to stay away from the place where the problem has occurred. Any water coming up from a sewer will be dirty and could put your health in danger. Make sure you never flush the toilet if it has backed up as this could result in dirty water and sewage pouring out into your home.
Remember,stay calm when you have a plumbing emergency and you may be able to avoid a worst-case scenario.