Plumbing Emergency Tips
Edward J. White, Inc. is committed to providing exceptional service. You can always rely on us to assure your complete satisfaction. You can handle some plumbing emergencies on your own. Our plumbing emergency tips will help you know what to do in emergency situations as well as help you decide when you need to give us a call!
Because the first thing you should do in any plumbing emergency is shut off water, gas, or electric lines that feeds the fixture, appliance, or part of the house that is causing the problem, it is important to familiarize yourself with the location of all 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 Edward J. White, Inc. We'll install the tags that clearly label each valve.
Leaking or Broken 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 that the main water line comes into your house
Leaking Water Heater
- Turn off the cold water line that feeds your water heater. This valve should be directly above the water heater. If it does not shut off completely, turn off the main shut-off valve to the house.
- Turn off the gas or electricity to the water heater.
Gas Water Heater - The gas 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 this 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 screw driver to open the valve.
Steaming or Scalding Hot Water
This is a sign that your water heater has over-heated.
- Turn off the gas or electric to the water heater.
- Open all of the hot water faucets to relieve the water heater. DO NOT turn off the cold water to the water heater.
- Let the water run out of the faucets until the water flows cold.
- Turn off the faucets and call us to inspect your water heater’s thermostat and pressure relief valve.
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 us. If you do not see any damage then you are safe to try to thaw the piping.
Open the faucet closest to the freeze. If the freeze is inside of 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 is important to move the hair dryer over a large area of the pipe and not to concentrate the heat on one small area of the pipe. 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, allow 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.
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 fixture 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, 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 Edward J. White, Inc. “Experimenting” with faucet repairs often causes unrepairable damage.
Remove the lid from the tank and inspect the chain to the flapper to make sure that it has not hung up on something that prevents 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 do not solve the problem or if it happens again, shut off the water under the toilet and call us.
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 does not 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 the inside of the disposal. Push the reset button again and turn on the disposal. If the disposal still does not run, call us to inspect the unit.
If the drain is draining slow 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 manufacturers’ directions. If the plunger does not work, call Edward J. White, Inc. 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 quicky direct your call to us! Call (574) 289-6351, Edward J. White, Inc.
Thank you so much for coming out so quickly to take care of a leaky ceiling pipe in the basement. Not only was the problem solved but we were able to leave for a weeks vacation that night with one less worry!- Gwen M.
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