Emergency Water Leak Guide: What To Do And Not To Do in a Water Leak Emergency

Keep this emergency water leak guide handy.  Waking up to or coming home to a flooded house is a clear-cut definition of a disaster.  In the middle of all that panic, it’s easy to forget the water leak dos and don’ts. We’ve put together a handy list to help you in case you find yourself in this unfortunate emergency.  Keep it in a safe place.

The most common cause for tragic flooding like this is a plumbing leak. Usually, this type of leak is the result of sudden plumbing failure, but in other cases the leak has been there for awhile, but gone unnoticed. What results is extensive water damage to your property and keepsakes.

But how could a plumbing leak go unnoticed? They can be hidden behind the walls or in the ceiling. Even when noticed, it can be difficult to identify the true source of the leak. Wet blotches appearing on the walls or ceiling is a sure sign that there’s a leak that needs fixing. Unusual dripping or hissing sounds in any part of your house can be another indication of leaks. 

If you suspect a leak or if you find yourself in a flooding emergency, call a plumber ASAP to help prevent further, larger damage. In the meantime, here’s a list of tasks you can do to address an emergency water leak before it brings more damage to your home.

What To Do During An Emergency Water Leak

The tools and pipe parts you can use in an emergency water leak

1. Turn off the main water source

The first step in any emergency water leak situation is to turn off the water. Find and turn off the main shut-off valve for your home. This is a control tap that allows shutting off the water supply from the city to the house.

Every household commonly has an external shut-off valve that is located outside of your property, usually in the front yard. 

In some cases, a home may have an internal shut-off valve, although it is not common. If your home does have one, common locations to look for it are:

Once you’ve located the valve, shut it off.  Then, release the pressure on the water pipes by opening your kitchen and bathroom sinks’ faucets in full. Let the water run until it becomes a trickle, and the hissing or dripping sound also subsides.

If the valve is stuck, you may use a pair of pliers or a wrench, but don’t force it if it’s too hard to turn. Always keep the area where the valve is located clean and clutter-free so it’s easier to access during an emergency water leak.  

Also, in some cases, the main valve may require a specialty tool to shut it off rather than a regular wrench or pliers. It is a good idea to check out your valve and be sure you have the correct tool on hand in the event of an emergency. Keeping a flashlight stored near the tool is also a good idea in the event your emergency happens at night.

2. Shut off any electricity supply

If the leak is somewhere near an electrical power source or appliance, proceed to the circuit breaker box and switch off the electricity supply. You may also want to cut off any electricity supply to the lights and sockets just to be safe.

3. Call your local flood damage experts.

Although none of us ever expect to be in this situation, it is a smart idea to find a company that you can trust in the event you do experience flooding in your home or business. Calling these experts early can help limit the extent of the damage. 

Water damage professionals are equipped with powerful water extractors and moisture detection equipment to quickly get you back on the path to regular day life.

If you live in the greater Southwest Riverside County and surrounding areas, Five Star Restoration is loved by their customers and offers immediate response any time of day or night.

4. Mop up standing water

A flooded floor is very slippery and also damaging to the floor itself.  If you’re floor mop is not handy, grab anything that can absorb standing water. Allowing water to stand can damage hard floors, carpets, baseboards, and drywall. 

To help save time, also bring a bucket to wring water into so you don’t have to go back and forth between the kitchen and the flooded area. If you keep a shop vacuum at home, it also works well for removing standing water.

5. Speed up the drying process by airing it out

If there are windows in the flooded area, open them to aid in the drying of the floor. You can also use portable fans to speed up the evaporation of any moisture left on the floor. 

6. Secure contents and assist persons with special needs

In cases of severe flooding, try to secure any important documents and equipment if you have the ability to do so.  Move them to a safer and higher place. 

If you have anyone at home who has special needs, assist them as soon as possible. If it is not possible, inform the emergency responders about their location.

What Not To Do During An Emergency Water Leak

woman exposing mold during an emergency water leak
There are a few key things NOT to do during an emergency water leak

1. Avoid turning on the water supply until the leak is addressed

Turning on the water supply will increase the chances of the leak getting worse because of the pressure in the pipes. In any leak situation, is it smart to wait for a professional opinion from a plumber before turning the water supply back on. 

2. Be careful with DIY options.

There are some plumbing issues that may be easy to fix yourself, however, DIY plumbing can be risky. 

Some leaks and situations might seem minor but indicate even bigger concerns and damage, so it is best to have a professional conduct a thorough inspection of the plumbing system in your home. 

If the leak has been ongoing for a while already, there is the possibility of unseen damage or mold in the walls of your home. Exposing such growth could be detrimental to you and your family’s health and should be addressed as quickly as possible.

3. Don’t stay in the area if it’s too dangerous

In cases where there is severe flooding, it is best to vacate the area and call the emergency hotlines. Don’t go back to the building until it’s been cleared and marked safe.  

Some emergency water leaks are caused by additional issues such as an activated fire sprinkler, broken windows or skylights, construction projects, or water main breaks. 

When calling a plumbing service or emergency services, provide your name, telephone number, leak location, severity of the leak, and if there are people or any equipment that may be in danger due to the flooding.

4. Don’t assume dryness

Even if the floors seems dried on the surface, don’t make the assumption that all materials are thoroughly dry. 

Water seeps quickly through joints in wood flooring, grout in tile, and padding in carpet as well as underneath baseboards and cabinets. It then soaks quickly into drywall and insulation. 

These are all very hard areas to confirm moisture levels and if left alone can begin developing mold as quickly as within 24-48 hours. A visual inspection can only show a small portion of the full picture.

Emergency Water Leak Guide - Five Star Restoration is Here to Help

woman calling water damage restoration company while holding an umbrella during an emergency water leak
Experiencing an emergency water leak? Five Star Restoration has you covered

Here at Five Star Restoration, Murrieta’s top local water damage restoration company, our certified team of experts responds to your emergencies 24/7 and without delay. Even better, our initial inspection doesn’t cost you a thing. We work well with all insurance companies, supporting you through the claim filing process and providing and coordinating all necessary services to restore your home to pre-loss condition. 

Our goal in a very stressful situation is to do all we can to make the leak cleanup and restoration process as straight-forward, efficient, and stress-free as possible. 

At Five Star Restoration, “Five Star Service Every Time” is our motto and we look forward to providing you with Five Star service whenever you need our help to restore your home or business!

For more information about water leak dos and don’ts, or for other questions or emergencies, call us today at (951) 368-2227

Tags: emergency water leak guide, emergency water leak, water leak do’s and don’ts, water damage repair, water damage restoration

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