Manage the situation until FlowFix plumbing arrives

When you have an emergency plumbing situation, you can take certain steps to minimise the damage to your home and property before your emergency plumber arrives and, at the same time, cut down on your plumbing cost.

Remember, any time water is leaking, especially in copious amounts, it’s an emergency and water damage is sure to follow. While perhaps not an emergency, even a small leak can cause plenty of damage and waste many litres of water if left unattended.

In the case of leaking water, trace the source of the water as best you can. Feel walls to see if they are wet. Check your flooring, especially if you have carpeting, to see how wet it is. Look all around the outside of your home for large amounts of water. Listen to see if you can hear water flowing. If you see or feel large amounts of water, you have an emergency.

The Toby

what to do in a plumbing emergency

Shut off the water to your house, as described below, as soon as you identify a troublesome leak, and immediately call FlowFix Plumbing. It’s important to know where your main water shut-off valve, called a Toby, is located and how it works. It’s in the Toby Box, generally located at the boundary of your property, that sits between the council water main and your private water pipe. It normally has a blue or black lid and may be under a metal cover. Simply lift the cover and turn the handle of the toby until the water is turned off. A Toby may also be known as a stopcock or isolated valve. Ask your plumber to show you where it is and how it works, if you don’t already know.

Burst Pipes

Your top objective until the emergency plumber arrives, is to stop water flowing out of the hole in the pipe. Locate the main shut-off valve to your house in the Toby Box, and close it. Turning off the shut-off valve will close the water supply to the pipe and fixtures and therefore stop the flood. If you have a pump, close the valve on the pump or water tank, and turn off the power to the pump.

Next, turn on the hot and cold water taps to release the pressure and quickly drain the trapped water and steam from the pipes. This will stop the leak from causing further damage to your house. After taking these steps, phone FlowFix Plumbing for assitance. Use towels to soak up escaping water in your house, and if water has leaked near your electricity switches, cables or appliances, switch them off at the mains.

Leaky Plumbing Fixtures

Close the shut-off valve that controls the leaky fixture. Check the fixture’s trap for debris, hair, soap scum and food particles that might obstruct its opening and cause overflowing of the fixture. Contact FlowFix Plumbing for effective plumbing repair.

Frozen Pipes

When the water inside a pipe or a tap freezes, not only can water not flow through it, but it expands, causing it to crack or even burst, which means once it thaws, it presents the risk of flooding. The first step is to close the main shut-off valve in the Toby Box. If the pipe has not split yet, thaw it with hot water bottles from the end of the pipe nearest to the tap. Thawing must be gentle, never with a naked flame, to avoid thermal water expansion; it can also split the pipe. As a preventive maintenance measure, make sure your pipes are appropriately insulated during the cold months.

what to do in a plumbing emergency
Frozen pipes could burst and lead to a flood

Blocked Drains and Toilets

Try to lift the obstruction by means of a plunger or to clear it with a plumber’s auger. If such efforts fail to dislodge the clog or if the problem persists, call in FlowFix Plumbing for help. You could also consider upgrading your toilet.

The Emergency Plumbing Response

With a plumbing emergency, FlowFix’s first job is to assess the situation and minimise the potential damage to your home. Once the immediate situation is under control, we will discuss your options and suggest the most appropriate and cost-effective repair. In most cases, we will be able to fix the problem immediately. However, for larger or more complicated jobs, the work may have to be completed at a later date.  

For a plumbing emergency at your home, or to learn more about our maintenance and preventative services, call Colette on 027 234 5454 or email her at admin@flowfix.co.nz