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How to Handle a Plumbing Emergency in 9 Steps

Plumbing emergencies can strike your Fort Collins home without warning, turning a calm day into chaos. Your automatic response may be to panic, but there’s no need to lose your cool. Whether it’s a burst pipe or a clogged drain, knowing the right steps can make all the difference. Here are nine practical steps to take during a plumbing emergency.

Step 1: Shut Off the Water

Your first move should be to stem the flow of water to prevent further damage. For general plumbing emergencies, locate the main water shut-off valve and turn it clockwise. This valve is often located near ground level on the street side of your house. You might also look near the water meter or hot water heater. If you can’t find it, the valve might be buried in a water meter box near your property line.

If a specific appliance is affected, such as a toilet or washing machine, locate the valve on the wall behind it. Then, turn the valve clockwise. Once the water has stopped flowing onto the floor, you can think clearly about what steps to take next.

Step 2: Assess the Damage

Don’t rush to fix things on your own. Instead, carefully assess the situation to determine if it’s something you can handle yourself or if it warrants calling an emergency plumber. Check for visible damage and avoid using electrical appliances near standing water to prevent electrocution. In fact, you may want to shut off the electricity if the water damage is widespread.

Step 3: Implement Small Fixes

If you feel confident, you can address small issues yourself, such as applying pipe tape to temporarily patch a minor leak until a professional plumber arrives. For a clogged toilet, try clearing the obstruction with a flange plunger. All you need is forceful downward pressure, followed by an upward pull, a few times in a row. Of course, a stopped-up drain may start flowing again with help from a plumbing snake.

Many Fort Collins homeowners wonder if it’s safe to clear clogs using chemical drain openers. While this may seem like a simple solution, professionals don’t recommend it. After all, chemicals damage pipes when used excessively. They also introduce hazardous materials to the local water supply. So stick to a plunger or plumbing snake, and if you still can’t clear the clog, call an emergency plumber for help.

Step 4: Contact an Emergency Plumber

If the situation is beyond your expertise, don’t hesitate to call a plumber. Licensed professionals have the knowledge, tools, and experience to perform any plumbing repair required. Look for an emergency plumbing service provider that’s open when you need them, and explain the situation clearly so they can arrive prepared to tackle the problem.

Step 5: Keep the Area Dry

To minimize water damage and mold growth, remove excess water with towels, mops, or a wet/dry shop vac. Set out buckets or trash cans to catch dripping water, and keep yourself and others away from the damaged area. This isn’t merely about safety; it’s about not making the problem worse. For instance, treading on wet carpet might lead to further water damage or staining. Steer clear, and wait until a plumber arrives for further instructions.

Step 6: Remove Items from the Affected Area

Relocate personal items to grant your plumber clear access to the affected area. Now is also a good time to move pets to a secure location so they don’t become a nuisance while the plumber works.

Step 7: Gather Information

Documenting the damage is more than a precaution; it’s a tool that can aid your speedy recovery. Taking pictures of the damage and writing down what happened conveys valuable information to your insurance company and the plumbing repair team. This way, you know everyone involved is on the same page.

Step 8: Contact Your Insurance Company

If the water damage is extensive enough to warrant filing an insurance claim, reach out to your provider to learn about your rights and responsibilities during a plumbing emergency. Some policies only cover certain situations, so it’s essential to understand your policy clearly before plumbing repairs commence. Once they do, hold onto all invoices and receipts. Then, provide all the information you’ve gathered to your insurance company to ensure a smooth claim process.

Step 9: Learn and Prevent

Plumbing emergencies may be a huge inconvenience, but they’re also learning opportunities. Understanding what went wrong and why it happened helps you take steps to prevent future incidents. Regular home inspections, adhering to proper usage guidelines, and attending to minor issues as soon as they appear all help stave off major problems.

Request Emergency Plumbing in Fort Collins

Properly handling a plumbing emergency requires calm, decisive action. With the right approach, you can minimize water damage and get back to normal before long.

When an emergency strikes in the middle of the night or on a holiday weekend, turn to Allen Service. We’re available to help 24 hours a day, with prompt response times for residents in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, and the surrounding areas. Our team boasts over 60 years of experience, a dedication to customer satisfaction, and quick resolutions for a wide array of plumbing problems. Don’t wait for a small issue to become a disaster—contact Allen Service at 970-484-4841 and find peace of mind with our trusted plumbing expertise.