Every home has a toilet, water lines, and a plumbing system. Homeowners and renters without question need their plumbing systems to work without fail, but most people will experience multiple plumbing emergencies throughout their lifetimes. Since the common person is not well-versed in the trade of plumbing, it is important to inform one’s self of potential plumbing disasters and how to mitigate potential damage wreaked by plumbing emergencies.
Frozen or busted pipes, overflowing toilets, broken toilets, and many other scenarios could be considered plumbing emergencies. Dealing with something as small as a clogged toilet is fun enough, but dealing with a plumbing emergency is truly exhilarating. In the moment when the homeowner realizes something is wrong, it’s very easy to panic and forget how to resolve even a minor problem, let alone something complex to repair. Being prepared in knowing what to do in any possible emergency is paramount is mitigating damage.
When a pipe bursts, breaks, or cracks, water may leak out of the pipe, or the flow of water into and out of the home may be interrupted entirely. Homeowners are virtually powerless in such a scenario, barring possessing knowledge of plumbing and having the right tools and supplies to finish the job.
The first thing one should do is turn the water’s connection to the main line off. This is usually located in a homeowner’s yard. Familiarize yourself the main line valve, how to turn it on and off, and where it is located. Being prepared when a pipe is broken is necessary to staying afloat.
A toilet spilling nasty water over the rim can turn nasty quickly — literally and figuratively. Locate the water line’s valve and shut it off immediately. Shutting the water supply to the toilet off is not the remedy, but it immediately stops water from spewing onto the floor. Water damage can usually be prevented by soaking it up with towels, but if reaction to the overflow isn’t prompt, permanent damage may be done to the floor, walls, and overall condition of the foundation of the bathroom.
Toilets rarely crack, but if the bowl or tank of a toilet is damaged, it may leak water. Other than plugging the hole, the only way to fix this problem is buying a new toilet. If water is spilling out of the toilet, turn the water line valve behind the toilet off immediately. Another solution is shutting the water supply from the main line off, but this is usually not required unless the water line valve can’t be located.
There are many unique scenarios in which a plumbing system or any of its components can incur trouble and ultimately fail. Homeowners can be prepared by becoming familiar with the working parts of a toilet — don’t worry, there aren’t that many — and where any water line valves are located. Homeowners shouldn’t feel bad if they don’t possess the knowledge or expertise to complete the job, as plumbing is a difficult trade to fully understand.
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.