Being prepared ahead of time can go a long way towards mitigating the stress of an emergency plumbing situation Palo Alto households may find themselves in. We’ve prepared these five tips for emergency plumbing Palo Alto residents can use to reduce damage to their property as much as possible during a time of crisis.

If you’re experiencing a plumbing emergency right now and need immediate assistance, call us directly at (650) 583-3311 and we’ll send over a friendly plumbing professional to get your plumbing fixed immediately.

Tip 1: Have Buckets Ready to Collect Water
This may seem rudimentary, but having buckets ready to collect water in a plumbing emergency can actually make a huge difference. Using buckets to collect water from leak and then dumping the water in a safe location can help prevent water damage to your property and mitigate the mess.

Tip 2: Find the Main Water Shutoff Valve and Shut Off the Water
Cutting off water to the entire plumbing system of the property is one of the most important actions you can take during a plumbing emergency to prevent damage, and can be accomplished via accessing the main water shutoff valve.

While everyone in the household should know where the main water shutoff valve is ahead of time and know how to use it, if you’re uncertain where the main water shutoff valve is located, start by looking in the basement or the outside walls and utility areas of the home.

To turn off the water flow to the entire home, turn the valve clockwise. There may also be water shutoffs for individual fixtures or appliances that are causing the plumbing emergency, which you can also try, but the most sure-fire way to stop all possible issues is via the main water shutoff valve.

If you turn off the main water supply or water supply to your hot water heater, you’ll want to read the next tip for disabling the hot water heater. Once the water supply is off for the hot water heater, gas and pressure build up and can cause it to overheat or explode, so it’s important to turn off the gas or electricity to prevent damage and further problems.

Tip 3: Turn Off Your Hot Water Heater
There are a number of reasons to disable a hot water heater, including preventing overheating or rupture after the water supply has been cut off, or if you need to drain the unit. Turning off the gas or electricity safely is an important way to prevent electrocution or scalding during a plumbing emergency. If you feel uncertain about this, or are unsure whether or not it’s safe (i.e. if there’s a pool of water and potential electrical current exposure), call us and we’ll send an experienced plumber to assess the situation and get it fixed.

If you feel comfortable with proceeding, you can shut off the hot water heater by switching the circuit breaker for the water heater to the OFF position for electric water heaters, or twisting the dial at the top of the thermostat to the OFF position for gas water heaters.

Tip 4: Use Duct Tape and Rags Until You Have a More Permanent Solution
Duct tape is surprisingly versatile, and can cover many leaks until a more permanent solution is available. You can also use rags to soak up leaking water to help buy yourself some more time. Using duct tape and rags with a well-placed bucket below can actually help you buy a lot of time before a real fix is in place, helping to prevent water damage in the near-term.

Tip 5: Don’t Panic, Get Help from a Professional Plumber
Feel like you’re in over your head or simply need some help from a professional? Our experienced team of fully licensed plumbers has handled countless emergency plumbing calls and is happy to assist. We send over plumbers immediately during plumbing emergencies, and we’re always happy to help.

Give us a call at (650) 583-3311 if you’re have a plumbing emergency, or save our phone number in your mobile phone contacts or print it out and stick it on your fridge. Whenever your next plumbing emergency arises, you’ll be fully prepared ahead of time.