What to Do in a Plumbing Emergency

Jan 24, 2024 | Education, Resources

Life has a way of surprising us, and sometimes those surprises come in the form of plumbing emergencies. Whether it’s a burst pipe, a malfunctioning water heater, or an unexpected flood, the ability to navigate through these crises calmly and effectively can make all the difference. In the face of a plumbing emergency, knowing the right steps to take can mitigate damage and pave the way for a swift resolution.

At Service by Scott, a family-owned and operated full-service plumbing and maintenance company in Woodville, Texas, we understand the urgency and stress that plumbing issues can bring. With over 30 years of dedicated service to Tyler County and neighboring areas, our licensed professionals have seen it all. In this guide, we share our expertise to empower you with the knowledge needed to tackle plumbing emergencies head-on. Because being prepared is not just a motto for us—it’s a commitment to ensuring your peace of mind in any plumbing situation. Welcome to “What to Do in a Plumbing Emergency,” where your readiness meets our experience.

What to Do in a Plumbing Emergency

Shut Off the Water Supply

Emergencies demand swift action, and when it comes to plumbing mishaps, the first line of defense is shutting off the water supply. This immediate response can significantly mitigate damage and buy you valuable time until professional help arrives. In this section, we’ll guide you through the crucial steps of shutting off the water at its source and targeting specific water outlets.

Shut Off the Water

The main water supply is like the heartbeat of your plumbing system, and locating its shut-off valve is paramount. Typically, you can find this valve near the water meter or where the main water line enters your property. Once located, turn the valve clockwise to shut off the water flow. This action will prevent further water from entering your plumbing system, giving you control over the situation.

Cut Individual Water Valves

While the main shut-off is your go-to, some emergencies may be localized to specific appliances or fixtures. In such cases, individual shut-off valves for sinks, toilets, or appliances can be invaluable. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these locations beforehand, making the process smoother when every second counts. Remember, stopping the flow at the source is the initial step in regaining control during a plumbing crisis.

Assess the Damage

In the aftermath of a plumbing emergency, taking a moment to assess the damage is a critical step toward a strategic and effective response. Understanding the extent of the situation not only helps you communicate more effectively with professionals but also allows you to implement immediate measures to minimize further harm. In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of evaluating the aftermath of a plumbing crisis.

Assess the Situation

Begin by surveying the affected areas. Identify visible signs of damage, such as water pooling, dampness, or discoloration of walls and ceilings. Look for any potential hazards or safety concerns, especially if electrical outlets are near the affected areas. This initial assessment sets the stage for a more informed response and ensures that you prioritize actions based on the severity of the situation.

Soak Up Excess Water

Armed with towels or a mop, start soaking up any standing water. This proactive step aids in preventing water damage to your property and belongings. Pay special attention to areas with carpets or wooden flooring, as prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to structural issues. By addressing excess water promptly, you contribute to minimizing the overall impact of the plumbing emergency.

Turn Off the Water Heater

During a plumbing emergency, one component that demands immediate attention is the water heater. Whether it’s a malfunction, a leak, or a burst pipe, turning off the water heater is a crucial safety measure. Locating the water heater’s emergency shut-off valve should be a priority. This valve is typically located on the water heater itself. Once identified, turn the valve clockwise to cut off the gas or electricity supply, depending on the type of heater you have.

By doing this, you not only prevent further damage to the water heater but also eliminate potential safety hazards associated with hot water. In the case of a gas water heater, be cautious and follow manufacturer guidelines. Turning off the gas supply externally may be necessary. For electric water heaters, simply switch off the corresponding circuit breaker. This decisive action not only aids in damage control but also ensures the safety of your home during a plumbing crisis.

Empty Your Pipes

In the aftermath of a plumbing emergency, attending to your pipes is a critical step to prevent further complications and potential damage. Emptying your pipes involves clearing drains and removing excess water from the plumbing system, contributing to a more effective resolution. This section will guide you through the essential steps to ensure the thorough emptying of your pipes.

Open Drains and Clean Up

Begin by opening all drains in your home. This includes sinks, tubs, and showers. Clear any debris or blockages that may have accumulated, facilitating the drainage process. Use a plunger or drain snake if necessary. Additionally, ensure that all plumbing traps are free of obstructions to allow water to flow freely.

Once drains are opened, focus on cleaning up any remaining standing water. Employ towels, mops, or a wet vacuum to absorb water from affected areas. This proactive approach aids in preventing water damage to your property and minimizes the risk of mold or mildew growth.

By systematically emptying your pipes, you not only address the immediate aftermath of the plumbing emergency but also pave the way for a more efficient and lasting resolution.

What to Do in a Plumbing Emergency

Call In the Pros

When faced with a plumbing emergency, there’s no substitute for professional expertise. Calling in the pros ensures that the root cause of the issue is addressed with precision, preventing future recurrences. In this section, we’ll guide you through the crucial steps of reaching out to a licensed plumber, emphasizing the importance of timely and skilled intervention.

Contact a Licensed Plumber

While some plumbing emergencies may tempt the DIY enthusiast, it’s paramount to recognize the value of professional intervention. A licensed plumber possesses the knowledge, experience, and tools necessary to diagnose and rectify complex plumbing issues. As you reach out, provide a detailed description of the situation, including any actions you’ve taken thus far.

Timeliness is key when summoning professional help. Plumbing problems can escalate rapidly, leading to extensive damage if not promptly addressed. Service by Scott, with over 30 years of dedicated service in Woodville, Texas, and surrounding areas, stands ready to respond 24/7. Our licensed professionals are equipped to handle everything from slab leak detection and repair to water heater servicing, ensuring a comprehensive solution to your plumbing needs.

By entrusting your plumbing emergency to the experts, you not only secure a swift resolution but also gain peace of mind, knowing that the issue is being addressed by seasoned professionals committed to the well-being of your home or business.

Call the Water Company

In certain plumbing emergencies, reaching out to the water company becomes a necessary step to ensure a comprehensive resolution. This section will guide you through the circumstances that warrant contacting the water company and the steps to take to communicate effectively, safeguarding not just your property but also the broader water supply.

Assess the Need to Involve the Water Company

Not all plumbing emergencies require involvement from the water company, but specific situations may necessitate their attention. If the issue involves the main water line, is affecting multiple properties, or poses a threat to public safety, contacting the water company is crucial. Additionally, if the emergency is a result of a burst or damaged water main, their expertise and intervention are essential.

Call the Water Company

When you’ve determined that the water company’s involvement is necessary, contact them promptly. Provide detailed information about the situation, emphasizing the urgency and potential impact on the community. Most water companies have emergency hotlines or dedicated numbers for urgent matters. Be prepared to share your location, a brief description of the issue, and any relevant details to expedite their response.

Collaborating with the water company in specific plumbing emergencies not only aids in resolving the immediate issue but also contributes to the overall safety and well-being of the community. By taking this proactive step, you ensure that professionals with the expertise to address water supply concerns are informed and can respond promptly.

What to Do in a Plumbing Emergency


In the face of a plumbing emergency, swift and informed action can make all the difference. We’ve explored crucial steps to take when the unexpected occurs, from shutting off the water supply to calling in the pros. Remember, the key is to stay calm, assess the damage, and take decisive measures to minimize further harm.

By understanding how to shut off the water, assess the situation, and secure your water heater, you’ve empowered yourself to tackle plumbing emergencies with confidence. Emptying your pipes and calling the water company when necessary are additional steps that contribute to a comprehensive and effective response.

However, amid any plumbing crisis, one truth remains constant—professional expertise is invaluable. Service by Scott, with over 30 years of dedicated service, stands ready to assist you 24/7. Our licensed professionals in Woodville, Texas, are equipped to handle everything from minor repairs to major emergencies, ensuring your peace of mind in any plumbing situation.

Don’t let a plumbing emergency catch you off guard. When in doubt, reach out to Service by Scott. Your trusted partner in plumbing solutions, committed to keeping your home and business safe and secure. Contact us now for prompt and reliable service. Your plumbing peace of mind starts here.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I attempt to fix a plumbing emergency myself?

While some minor issues can be addressed temporarily, it’s advisable to call a licensed plumber for a comprehensive and lasting solution. Attempting complex repairs without the necessary expertise can lead to further complications.

How do I locate the main water shut-off valve?

Familiarize yourself with the location of the main shut-off valve in your home beforehand. It’s typically found near the water meter or where the main water line enters your property.

Is it necessary to turn off the water heater during a plumbing emergency?

Yes, turning off the water heater is a safety measure, especially if the emergency involves the water heater or hot water pipes. Follow manufacturer guidelines for gas and electric water heaters.

When should I involve the water company in a plumbing emergency?

If the issue involves the main water line, affects multiple properties, or poses a threat to public safety, contact the water company. Additionally, for burst or damaged water mains, their expertise is essential.

What should I do if I can’t locate the source of a plumbing emergency in my home?

If you’re unable to identify the source or control the issue, it’s crucial to call a licensed plumber immediately. Avoid attempting extensive investigations, as this could lead to further damage. Our professionals at Service by Scott are equipped to assess and address plumbing emergencies comprehensively, ensuring a swift resolution to the problem.