Many people take for granted the convenience of running water. Folks in olden days didn’t have such a luxury. It comes in handy to take a shower, wash clothes, cook, or brush your teeth. Freshwater is made possible through the home’s plumbing system. You probably don’t give much thought to this vital system, until disaster strikes.

A plumbing issue can be a minor aggravation, or it can be a crisis. When water is spraying everywhere, your home is in danger. It’s important to know what to do until a professional arrives. Here are four tips to combat a plumbing emergency.

Shut Off the Water

Every home has a main shut off valve that will completely block the water flow. You should always know where this valve is located so that you can turn off the water in an emergency. The main objective is to get the flow stopped until help arrives. The longer the water continues to gush, the more damage it will cause.

Seal Cracks

If you are unable to shut off the main valve to the home, you can use duct tape or a pipe sealing tape to stop the water flow. It won’t be a long-term fix by any means, but it will stop or slow down the leak so that it won’t do as much damage. You must be able to identify the area of pipe that is compromised to do this trick.

Remove Excess Water from the Home

Plumbing issues can cost thousands of dollars in damages. Water will cause mold, weaken floorboards, crumble drywall, and ruin carpeting. You must use whatever possible to soak up the excess water. A wet-dry vacuum works best, but if you don’t have one on hand, then use towels or whatever else you can find to absorb the water.

Document the Incident

You need to document the incident for your landlord or insurance company. They will want a statement as well as pictures. Make sure you photograph everything from the soaked drywall to the soggy carpeting. If floorboards are swelling, make sure you get a picture of those too. Take photographs during all stages of the process so that they have clear pictures of the damages.

Your plumbing system is very delicate, and someone with ample experience should handle it. The goal is to stabilize the situation until help arrives. Don’t attempt repairs if you don’t know what you are doing. You can cost yourself more money and make the situation worse if you don’t have proper training.

By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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