4 Keys to Minimizing Water Damage While Waiting for the 24 Hour Emergency Plumber to Arrive
In any season and any weather, a serious plumbing leak is something that every homeowner dreads. Letting a leak flow unchecked can easily cause expensive damage to a host of different building materials and possessions in your home. Walls, floors, furniture, the electrical system — the components that are at risk are almost endless. Below you’ll find a handy guide to minimizing the extent of the damage caused by a leak while you’re waiting for an emergency plumber to arrive.
Your Best Weapon — The Shutoff Valve
As frustrating as a plumbing emergency is today, imagine how horrible it would be before the invention of the humble shutoff valve! Every home has an emergency shutoff that allows the house’s connection to the municipal water supply to be cut. The shutoff valve is the all-or-nothing solution to almost any leak in your home.
Remember that many individual fixtures have shutoffs of their own. Familiarizing yourself with all of your home’s shut-off valves is extremely important. The main valve will allow you to fight back against huge floods, while fixture shutoffs may make it possible to isolate a damaged area from the rest of your plumbing system. Shutting off the water to the fixture allows you to put off your call to the plumber provided you can live without the fixture that’s out of service.
Finding A Leak
You might think that the source of a serious leak would be immediately obvious, but this is far from the case! Remember that in terms of sheer linear footage, the vast majority of your plumbing system is concealed inside your home’s walls or underneath its floors. If you know the plumbing in your home is suspect, investing in an electronic leak detector is an excellent idea. This sensitive tool takes precise moisture readings to help you zero in on broken pipes and loose fittings no matter where they’re hiding. Passive detectors are also available; these are perfect for alerting you as quickly as possible to basement flooding.
Hardware stores and plumbing supply companies sell specially formulated epoxy that’s designed to stop up small leaks. Keeping a tube at the ready in your toolbox is an excellent idea. You’ll have to use shutoff valves to stop the flow of water prior to applying the epoxy. Before applying the epoxy by hand, sand down the leak. It will take roughly an hour to dry, and thoroughly fix the leak.
This is another excellent tool for stopping up minor leaks. Leak tape, coated with an instant-activated adhesive, fuses to the pipe to create a durable watertight seal. Besides addressing plumbing emergencies, leak tape is exceptionally handy for other minor home repairs like fixing air hoses and making electrical wiring waterproof. You can even use it as an emergency tourniquet in first aid situations!
If you get to your shutoff valves quickly and use the right products to find and plug a leak, you can prevent costly damage to your home and belongings. Don’t think of these solutions as permanent, however! It’s vital to hand the problem off to a professional plumber as soon as possible.