How to handle a plumbing emergency

When you experience a plumbing emergency, and water is spewing and spilling all over the place, it is hard to know ahead of time exactly how you should react. This uncertainty shows tenfold when you have never experienced this type of emergency before and you have never read or been taught what you should do when something like this happens. When this happens in the workplace, be certain to inform your supervisor and get ahold of maintenance as soon as possible. Depending on where you work, this type of repair may fall directly on your shoulders.

During a plumbing emergency, the first thing that you should do is cut off the water supply to whatever type of appliance or pipe that is not working properly and allowing the water to escape. This can be a major inconvenience if all of your water supply has only one main shutoff, which is why I always suggest that all buildings that have running water should have some type of water distribution block that allows water to be cut off from individual lines without having to interrupt the water service for the rest of the building.

Once the leak has been stopped since the water has been shut off, it is now time to diagnose the problem and correct it. If the problem is a broken pipe, then that section of pipe must be removed. You must then install the unbroken pipe and adhere the two pipes together. This is typically PVC pipe and you will have double female connectors on both ends of the newly cut pipe. This will all be sealed with PVC pipe cement, which will take time to dry and no water can be run through that line until you are certain that this has occurred.

If the problem is with an appliance, you must begin by looking at the area where the water was leaking. If the item is completely broken, it needs to be replaced. Oftentimes you can fix the leak by simply turning down the pressure to the appliance, or by replacing an O-ring or gasket that has failed over time.

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