Emergency Plumbing Tips

Shut Off The Water, Gas & Electricity Source

The first thing you should do in any plumbing emergency is shut off any water, gas, or electric lines that feed the fixture, appliance, or part of the house that is causing the problem. It is important to familiarize yourself with the location of all the valves in your home. Also, make sure that all circuit breakers in your electrical panel are clearly marked before an emergency. If you are not sure where various valves are located or what they do, call me at801-613-7379. We’ll install the tags that clearly label each valve.



Leaking or Broken Water Heater or Pipe

Turn off the main shut off valve to your house. This valve is usually located next to your water meter or at the point where the main water line comes into your home.

Call me if you don’t know where or how to shut off the water main, I will walk you through it!

Leaking Water Heater

  1. Turn off the cold water line that feeds your water heater. This valve should be directly above the unit. If it doesn’t shut off completely, turn off the main shut-off valve to the house.
  2. Turn off the gas or electricity to the water heater.

Gas Water Heater

The line for a gas water heater is a black or yellow pipe that connects to the water heater gas valve (the box near the bottom of the water heater with the temperature selection dial). The gas valve typically has a red handle. Turn the valve 90 degrees to shut it off.

Electric Water Heater

Shut off the circuit breaker for the Electric Water Heater in the electrical panel.

If the leaking water is not running to a floor drain, connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the heater and run it to the nearest drain. The drain valve will have either a handle like an outside faucet or a screwdriver stop in which case you will need a flat screwdriver to open the valve.

Steaming or Scalding Hot Water

This is a sign that your water heater has overheated.

    1. Turn off the gas or electric to the water heater.
    2. Open all of the hot water faucets to relieve the water heater. DO NOT turn off the cold water to the water heater.
    3. Let the water run out of the faucets until the water flows cold.
    4. Turn off the faucets.



Frozen Pipes

Examine the pipe around the area of the freeze to make sure there are no splits in the pipe and that any fittings near the freeze are not pushed apart.

If you see any damage, shut off the main water line to the house and call me at 801-613-7379.

If you don’t see any damage, then you are safe to try thawing the piping.

Open the faucet closest to the freeze. If the freeze is inside a cabinet, open the cabinet doors to allow room air to circulate.

Do not use a torch or any type of open flame! It is best to allow the pipe to thaw slowly by warming the space where the pipe is located.

If this is not possible, such as in an unheated crawl space, you may use a hair dryer set on low heat to warm the pipe. It’s important to move the hair dryer over a large area of the pipe and not to concentrate the heat on one small area. Doing so can cause the pipe to burst. However, do not use a hair dryer or any type of electrical device if the area near the frozen pipe is wet or may become wet when the pipe is thawed.

Once water is flowing through the faucet, allowing the water to run full stream until the pipe is completely thawed. Then, allow the faucet to trickle a stream of water to prevent the line from freezing again until the weather warms.

Leave cabinet doors open and investigate the cause of the frozen pipes. Seal any cracks, add insulation and/or allow for room air to circulate in the problem area to prevent future freezing.



Leaking Faucet

Locate the shut-off valve under the faucet and shut it off. Do not use a wrench to force the valve! This will most likely do more harm than good. If the valve will not turn or it will not shut off completely, you may need to shut off the main water valve to the whole house.

Most fixtures’ shut-off valves are seated in the fully closed or fully open position. It is not unusual for water to drip out around the stem while you are opening or closing the valve. Once you have completely opened or closed the valve, this dripping should stop.

Once the water is off, if you are comfortable in making the repairs, repair the faucet with the proper parts. If you do not know how to take the faucet apart to repair it, call JBK Plumbers. Experimenting with faucet repairs often causes irreparable damage.



Leaking/Running Toilet

Remove the lid from the tank and inspect the chain to the flapper to make sure that it hasn’t hung up on something preventing the flapper from seating completely. If the flapper seems to be seated, pull up on the float to see if the toilet stops running.

If either of the above solves the problem, monitor the toilet for a few days to make sure it does not happen again. If the above steps don’t solve the problem or if it happens again, shut off the water under the toilet and call me801-613-7379.



Jammed Disposal

Most disposals have a reset button on their bottom. If your disposal is not running at all, first try pushing the reset button. If it still doesn’t run, look on the bottom of the unit to find the location to insert an Allen wrench.

Insert the wrench and turn the wrench both directions to break loose the item that is causing the jam. Using a pair of tongs (never use your hand), remove the item from inside the disposal. Push the reset button again and turn on the disposal. If the disposal still does not run, call me801-613-7379 to inspect the unit.



Plugged Drain

If the drain is draining slowly and not completely plugged, you may try a chemical drain cleaning agent like Liquid Plumr®. If the drain is completely plugged, do not use a chemical drain cleaner. Instead, try to open the drain with a plunger. If the plunger works, then you may choose to add a chemical drain cleaner. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions. If the plunger does not work, call JBK Plumbers or a drain cleaning contractor.

Whether your plumbing emergencies are residential, commercial, or industrial, we are as close as your telephone. After hours? Don’t worry. Our after-hours call service will quickly direct your call to us! Call 801-613-7379, JBK Plumbers.