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5 Emergency Plumbing Tips

Plumbing emergencies King County home owners should be prepared for.

A plumbing emergency can pop up without warning. But that's no reason to panic. In fact, fixing plumbing issues (or at least fending off the small ones until a professional plumber can get to it) has been in the back pocket of do-it-your-selfers since plumbing has been around. It only takes a bit of simple know-how, some pre-preparedness, and a few items from around the house to fix a clogged drain or pipe, or stop a leaky toilet or faucet. Knowing what to do when the water starts flowing can save money and frustration.

  1. First, know where your house's main shut-off valve is located. If you know where your water meter is, the main shut-off valve is usually located near it. If your house uses well water, the shut off is most likely located near the well-pump, usually in the well house. Finding the shut-off valve should be the first thing you do when moving into a new house. And though in most plumbing emergencies shuting off the main valve won't be necessary, it doesn't hurt to arm yourself with the knowledge of its location.
  2. Similarly, knowing how to shut off the water supply to individual fixtures is also vital. Isolating the water to each item will not only stop the flow of water, but will also allow you to repair it, or wait for an expert to. Ideally, these valves should be inspected once a year, and turned from on to off to make sure they are in working order, in case of emergency.
  3. You should know how to fix a clogged or overflowing toilet, which is perhaps the most common problem in your home. When a toilet is approaching the point of overflow, turn the cold water on in a nearby sink or bathtub to hinder the toilet's water use. From there, locate the shut off valve to the toilet that is usually located directly behind the toilet. With the water supply off, you'll then be able to work on draining the toilet with a flange plunger without worrying about water flowing onto your floor.
  4. If you have a leaking or drippy faucet, its important to fix it before it drains your bank account. Dripping faucets can cost you hundreds of dollars a year if they are left as is. And fixing it could be as simple as replacing an o-ring, or taking it a part, cleaning it, and reassembling it (be sure to turn the water off beforehand). If you are unable to fix the faucet, simply turning off the valve and calling a plumber can also do the trick. Tip: a sink's shut off valve is located under the vanity; a bathtub's are usually located behind an access panel, and often will require you to shut off both hot and cold.
  5. If these tips don’t do the trick or the job turns into a bigger problem, be sure to have the contact information of a trusted and reliable plumber handy! Fox Plumbing and Heating offers the fast, professional and friendly service you’ve come to rely on. Having a plumbing or heating problem? We'll bend over backwards to make it right.