Plumbing Tips from an Avid DIY-er

Awakened By A Plumbing Leak? 3 Steps To Help First-Time Homeowners Get Back To Sleep

After a long day of unpacking, painting, and arranging furniture, most first-time homeowners just want to take a relaxing shower and snuggle into bed for a night of blissful sleep in their new home. But when an unexpected plumbing leak occurs, the night can suddenly become a night of anxious activity, instead of pleasant dreams. If you are new to home ownership and worried that you won't know what to do when a plumbing leak occurs, this 3-step guide is sure to help. 

Find the water shut-off valve and close it 

Leaks can quickly cause serious damage to a home, including both deterioration of building materials and the potential for harmful mold and mildew growth to occur. To avoid these potentially expensive problems, homeowners will want to stop the flow of water in the leaky pipe as quickly as possible by finding the shut-off valve and closing it.

Most modern home plumbing systems now include a shut off valve on the water supply line at each point of use. On sinks and toilets, these are usually in an easy to find location under the sink or behind the base of the toilet. Other places to look include: 

  • showers - look for an access door or panel on the wall behind the shower
  • washing machines - behind the appliance 
  • built-in dishwashers - under the sink, look for the water supply line that goes to the back of the dishwasher
  • refrigerators - behind the appliance, usually near the floor

If no shut-off valve can be found for the point of use nearest where the leak is located or the leak cannot be easily located, homeowners can temporarily shut off the water supply to the entire home by using main shut-off valve located where the water service enters the home, often in the basement of the home. 

Apply a temporary patch 

Once the water has been turned off and any moisture has been removed from the area where the leak occurred, homeowners may be able to apply a simple patch to the plumbing pipe as a temporary measure until a permanent fix can be made. To do this, homeowners can use a commercially available pipe leak repair kit or use a square of material from an old bike inner tube and two adjustable hose clamps. Wrap the inner tube material tightly around the pipe and use the clamps to hold it securely in place. This type of patch is best suited for repairing simple pipe splits or small holes until they can be addressed in a more permanent way. 

Keep the name and phone number of a reputable emergency plumber in your phone

Shutting off the water supply and applying a DIY patch are just temporary measures that will still need to be dealt with later. Instead of putting off addressing the problem, a better plan is for homeowners to find a reputable emergency plumber in their area and keep their number handy. Then when an emergency plumbing issue occurs, homeowners will be able to address the problem immediately. Click here for more information.