Plumbing Emergency Tips

    • Water can be turned off in emergencies by using a valve that is either in front of your house under a heavy grate or inside your home. Here in Los Angeles, most homes feature a shut-off valve near the street.
    • Water valves come in two standard versions. The most common ones are turned off by twisting the handle clockwise while others, like main supply pipes, are turned off by rotating a knob 90 degrees.
    • Water heaters, both electric and gas, should be turned off before they are worked on in order to avoid injury and heating element damage. Electric heaters can be deactivated from the fuse box and gas units should be set to pilot.
    • In the case of a problem with fixtures like sinks and toilets, you can halt their fluid supply individually. Valves are generally located beneath or behind the unit, where the plumbing runs into the wall or floor.
    • Cracks in pipes can be temporarily sealed off by using duct tape. However, this should only be employed until you are able to get the parts for repair as leaks tend to compound and require a more permanent fix.
    • If your toilet clogs and is in danger of overflowing, you can slow the flow of water to the toilet by letting the cold faucet run. The reduction in pressure can keep the unit from overflowing before you unclog it.
    • A toilet that is draining and refilling when not in use can cause a substantial spike in your water bill. New tank hardware is relatively inexpensive and should be replaced or adjusted at the first sign of failure.
    • A drain snake is a handy tool to have around for drain clogs. It will break up mineral and residue deposits and should always be used in place of harsh drain cleaners, which can harm you and the environment.
    • A basic plumbing kit can be indispensable when dealing with emergencies. A kit should include, in the very least, a crescent wrench, channel-lock pliers, a hacksaw, a pipe wrench, and screwdrivers.
    • If your garbage disposal stops working completely, you may simply need to press the reset button found on the bottom of the unit. This feature protects the motor from burning out when a jam occurs.
    • If you can locate the source of a clog in a disposal, you can often remove it by using a pair of kitchen tongs. However, you should never place your hand into a disposal due to risk of serious injury.

Learn how to fix/unclog a garbage disposal here.

  • You should always keep a plumber’s number posted with your other emergency numbers. If you live in Los Angeles, Rooters On Time has certified professionals for all emergencies reachable at (877) 900-1314.
  • Teflon tape can be used to coat threads in leaky pipes. This seals up areas that have worn down either due to oxidation or repeated use but is only temporary and leaks are likely to return if the core problem is not fixed.

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