Every now and then, things go terribly wrong and you’ll end up facing an emergency plumbing situation in your San Francisco home. We’ve put together this emergency plumbing survival guide so our San Francisco neighbors like you can make it through this stressful situation with the least amount of damage possible.

Keep in mind that the best solution to an emergency plumbing situation is professional help from an experienced, licensed plumber. If you need help, call us immediately at (650) 583-3311 and we’ll dispatch one of our expert plumbers immediately to help you get things fixed up as quickly as possible.

First, locate the emergency shutoff valve and turn off the water
If you’re having a serious emergency, you can prevent continued damage by finding the emergency shutoff valve for the house and turning off the water for the whole property.

The main shutoff valve is typically located either in the basement of the house, or along an outside wall in a utility area. Turn the valve clockwise to cut off the water supply to the home, which should stop any flooding or excessive leaking.

Knowing this ahead of time, before an emergency will also help you prepare for those situations where you might need to use it, so make sure you know the location of this valve and how to use it before you need it.

Keep in mind that if you do end up turning off the water via the main shutoff valve, you must remember to also turn off the hot water heater as explained in the next step.

Second, turn off the hot water heater
When you use the emergency shutoff valve to turn off the water, you also need to remember to turn off the hot water heater to prevent it from overheating and/or bursting due to pressure buildup.

In addition, it’s important to shut off the hot water heater before attempting other procedures like draining the water to prevent it from burning you.

There are also other situations where you’ll need to turn off the hot water heater, like if it starts malfunctioning or leaking, so it’s important to know how to do this in general. However, you may want to have professional like us perform the procedure if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself.

If your house is using a gas water heater, locate the pilot switch and turn the switch to the “pilot” position, or if your water heater has a dial at the top of the thermostat, you can turn that from the “ON” to the “OFF” position. At this point, the gas water heater should be disabled.

If your house is using an electric water heater, find the circuit breaker for the water heater and switch it to the “OFF” position to disable the water heater.

Third, grab some basic tools for cleanup
Grab a bucket, some rags, and duct tape if you have these items handy, to help collect water or soak it up, and temporarily patch up basic leaks. Though the water is shut off throughout the house, you may need to do some cleanup for the water that runs out of the system and that has already escaped.

Last, stay calm and call for help
Remember, our team of trained professionals is standing by and ready to help. We can get your emergency plumbing situation fixed immediately with our 24 hour service. Whether it’s a ruptured pipe or a hard-to-reach leak, our team has fixed just about every plumbing problem so we’re well equipped to get the job done. Give us a call at (650) 583-3311 and we’ll send someone over as soon as possible.