Emergency Plumbing Situations: What to Do Before the Plumber Arrives

Plumbing emergencies can strike when you least expect them, causing panic and chaos in your home. Whether it’s a burst pipe, a sewage backup, or a water heater failure, knowing how to handle emergency plumbing situations before the plumber arrives can minimize damage and stress. In this blog, we’ll explore essential steps to take when faced with a plumbing crisis.

Shut Off the Water Supply

The first and most critical step in any plumbing emergency is to turn off the water supply to the affected area or the entire house. Locate the main water shut-off valve and close it to stop the flow of water. This valve is typically located near the water meter or where the main water line enters your home. Turning it clockwise should shut off the water.

Drain Faucets and Appliances

After shutting off the water supply, open faucets and fixtures in your home to drain any remaining water in the plumbing system. This relieves pressure and prevents further water damage. Be sure to flush toilets and open taps both indoors and outdoors.

Turn Off the Gas or Electricity

If your plumbing emergency involves a gas-powered water heater or other gas appliances, it’s crucial to turn off the gas supply to prevent potential leaks. Similarly, if electrical issues are involved, such as a malfunctioning water heater or a waterlogged electrical outlet, shut off the electricity at the main breaker panel to eliminate the risk of electrical hazards.

Identify and Isolate the Problem Area

Determine the source of the plumbing emergency and try to isolate the affected area as much as possible. This can involve closing off individual shut-off valves for toilets, sinks, or appliances, or blocking off the area where a burst pipe is located. Isolating the problem can help contain the damage until the plumber arrives.

Gather Information for the Plumber

While waiting for the plumber to arrive, gather essential information that can help them assess the situation more quickly and accurately. This may include:

   – A description of the problem and its location.

   – Any unusual sounds or odors associated with the issue.

   – Any recent plumbing work or maintenance that might be relevant.

Remove Valuables and Prevent Further Damage

If the plumbing emergency has caused water damage to your home, take steps to protect your valuables and prevent further harm:

   – Move furniture and electronics away from affected areas.

   – Use towels, buckets, or mops to soak up excess water.

   – Place a plastic tarp or bucket of underactive leaks to catch water.

Call a Licensed Plumber

As soon as you’ve taken these initial steps, contact a licensed and reputable plumber to assess and address the emergency. Explain the situation clearly and provide any relevant information you’ve gathered.


Handling emergency plumbing situations before the plumber arrives is crucial to minimize damage and maintain your safety. Being prepared and knowing how to shut off water, gas, and electricity can make a significant difference in the outcome of a plumbing crisis. While you may not be able to prevent emergencies, you can certainly take control of the situation until professional help arrives, ultimately saving time, money, and your home from further damage.