12 Dec Tips for avoiding or mitigating plumbing emergencies
Flooding, freezing and foul smells are the main types of plumbing emergencies. Here are some tips to avoid the worst but remember that it is always recommended to use the services of a professional to limit the damages.
To staunch water flooding out of a broken pipe, shut off the main water valve.
Water and electricity are a deadly combination. Stay away from leaking or flooded water if there is any likelihood that it has come into contact with an electrical circuit.
If you can reach the switchboard without touching the water, turn off the household power switch and disable the circuits.
Use of a pump
Plug an electric pump into a socket that’s equipped with a safety switch, if possible. Don’t use a gas- or diesel-driven water pump inside, as it will build up hazardous fumes.
Wear rubber boots and gloves if the leak is in a drain line or has been contaminated with sewage. Thoroughly disinfect an area after it has been cleaned and allowed to dry.
When a washing machine or dish-washer overflows, build a dam around the spillage with beach towels or other large absorbent materials. This will confine the water, making it easier to mop up.
A strong smell of sewage from a fixture in a bathroom, kitchen or laundry room may indicate that water in the trap in the waste pipe has dried up. Pour some water into the floor drain and wait to see if the smell goes away. If it doesn’t, you may have more serious problems. Call in a licensed plumber immediately.
If very low temperatures threaten to freeze pipes, leave the taps trickling a little bit until the weather warms up. Take the wind-chill factor into account when deciding if the temperature will fall below freezing.
Frozen pipes are best thawed gently. A hair dryer set on “High” will do the trick. Don’t use a heat gun or, worse, a propane torch. They will melt the ice quickly but, just as quickly, they will convert the water to steam and could blow the pipe apart.
Start thawing the ice in a frozen pipe from the side closest to a tap, so the ice melt will have somewhere to drain. (Make sure you open the tap first, of course.) Gradually work your way from the tap side back into the frozen area.
Jackie Beaudoin, Leclerc Insurance and Financial Services
Source : Yellow Pages