Plumbing emergencies happen, usually at the most inconvenient times. Pipes break, toilets overflow, sewage backs up, sinks and tubs clog; plumbing emergencies can be downright nasty to deal with. Having a few tools on hand and a little know-how can save you money and minimize damage to your home while you call a 24-hour plumbing professional for a permanent fix.
Plumber’s Emergency Tool Kit
You’ll want to keep a toolbox of emergency plumbing tools to take care of minor repairs and to create temporary fixes until your plumber can do a full repair. A five-gallon bucket from the hardware store makes a great toolbox for plumbing tools, plus it can come in handy to catch water in a leak situation. Here are a few more tools you’ll want to keep on hand for 24-hour plumbing emergencies.
- A regular cup plunger and a forced cup plunger
- Wrenches in various sizes, medium slip-joint pliers, and an adjustable wrench
- A multi-bit screwdriver
- An assortment of Allen wrenches for working on garbage disposals and faucets
- Duct tape and leak sealing tape to create a temporary fix and reduce leaks until a plumber can make a permanent repair
- A hand-crank auger to help clear sink and toilet clogs
- Know where the main water shut-off valve is located in case of a leak. When you first discover a leak or plumbing problem, you’ll want to shut off the water immediately to prevent further damage. You may need a wrench to help you shut off water to your house. Also, know the location of the isolation valves at each fixture location. Isolation valves are handy for shutting off water to a particular fixture, such as an overflowing toilet or leaky sink, so you can repair the fixture while not losing water access for the rest of the house.
- Assess the damage before calling an emergency 24-hour plumber. You’ll want to provide the plumber as much information as possible so he can quickly fix the problem.
- For washing machines, dishwashers, and other water appliances, make sure the drainage trap is completely clear and open. A partially clogged drain can cause flooding. For washing machines, turn off both valves near the machine as well as any electricity to the machine.
- You can use duct tape or pipe sealing tape to temporarily seal a crack in a pipe, reducing the leak until a full repair can be made.
- Sometimes the ferrules in a supply tube can be scratched or dented, causing a water leak. Use Teflon tape to seal the supply tube until it can be repaired.
- If a supply tube break is causing a leak, screw on a blind cap to seal off the leak until it can be repaired.
- Know how to turn off your water heater. If it’s a gas water heater, turn the switch to the “pilot” position. If it’s an electric water heater, turn off the power at your circuit breaker panel. Water leaks can often be addressed by turning off the cold water supply directly above the heater. If you can’t close this valve, you may need to shut off the main water supply to the home.
- A cup plunger is ideal for clearing clogs in small drains such as tubs, showers, and sinks. A forced cup plunger with a funnel can apply extra force down the drain, making it ideal for toilets and sinks. When unclogging a dual kitchen sink, use a second plunger to cover the second drain to get the most vacuum to remove the clog.
- Try a hand-crank auger to clear sink and toilet clogs.
- Always remove any standing water to avoid mold growth, as well as to avoid damage to your floor or drywall. Try a wet/dry vac, a mop, or even towels to sop up the water. Turn on fans and air out the room to avoid moisture damage.
Emergencies happen, and you’ll want to seek a professional as soon as possible to minimize damage to your home and plumbing. Take lots of photos and detailed notes about flooding for insurance purposes. Call us if you need 24-hour plumbing emergency services. We’re available 24/7!