Panic is usually a homeowner’s first response when something goes wrong with the plumbing in their home, and it’s easy to understand why. Water damage can ruin irreplaceable possessions and cost well into the thousands of dollars to remedy. Even though the situation may seem dire, it’s important to remain calm. Denver is a busy city, and a plumber can only get to your location so fast. You can be your home’s first line of defense by following certain procedures, depending on what type of emergency you are facing. Over the years, our team has seen countless emergencies with the plumbing in Denver homes, and we’re happy to share that insight and experience with you here. Below is our list of suggestions for things to do when facing a plumbing emergency.
Try the Basics
This should only be attempted if the problem is localized to one specific area of your home. If your toilet is leaking, simply turn your toilet valve off. If the kitchen sink won’t drain and is overflowing, check for clogs. Leaking pipes can sometimes be kept under control by wrapping a towel along the leak until a plumber arrives. The unwelcome smell of sewer gas can be addressed by refilling your p traps. It’s always best to try simple remedies such as these before taking any drastic measures.
Find the Water Main
If you believe your plumbing problem is a true emergency, your first step should be finding and shutting off your water main valve as quickly as possible. For this reason, it’s wise to know where it is before an emergency ever occurs.
Water needs to be removed from your system, and your water main is the key to this. It is most often located in the basement or outside of a home’s road facing wall. The valve will likely be a gate valve, which is a circular valve that is closed by twisting it clockwise. Otherwise, it may be a ball valve, which is closed by turning the lever to a 90 degree angle (relative to the pipe). In either case, close the valve and confirm that any flooding has stopped.
Drain Your Lines
It is important to know that there will still be residual liquid left in your pipes, even after you have turned off your home’s water supply. You will need to go outside and turn on any hoses, spigots, or other outdoor outlets to fully purge your system of water. This will ensure that any leaks, backed up pipes, or other water disasters will be stopped at the source.
Turn Off the Water Heater
A hot water heater is an expensive investment, so it’s in your best interest to turn it off during water emergencies. A backed up system can put undue pressure on a water heater, and a system void of water could damage the tank if heat continues to be applied. Check with your water heater manual to learn the proper way of shutting it down.
It’s also worth checking the hot water heater if you smell gas in your basement. Water heaters that are powered by natural gas can develop leaks, leading to explosive consequences. If you find yourself in this situation, you should first try turning off the gas supply to the water heater. If the smell still does not dissipate, turn off the main gas valve, located near your utilities meters.
If the smell of gas starts to permeate throughout the entire house, leave immediately. A small leak may be manageable, but a major leak will always require the help of a plumbing professional.
Call the Water Company
Surprisingly, a call to the utility company is an often overlooked solution to many major problems. There is a fair chance that your plumbing issues may be due to problems that fall within your water company’s realm of responsibility. For example, burst pipes may result from unnecessary water pressure, and basement leaks can originate from a main water line leak, and thus are the responsibility of the city.
Call a Plumber
After taking the necessary precautions, call a plumber. It’s what we are here for, and in most plumbing emergencies, it is the only solution. A blocked sewer line or multiple burst pipes are serious events that require professional assistance.
By following these guidelines, you may be able to stop your plumbing emergency before it progresses to the point of causing irreversible damage. If you’re caught in a bad plumbing situation, call our emergency line at 303.288.0039. We’re always happy to help, even if it means a late night visit or early morning phone call.