What to do in a plumbing emergency

The most important thing to do is DON'T PANIC.

Dealing with a burst pipe

  1. Turn off the stop-cocks (sometimes called stop-valves) one by one to isolate the leak.
  2. If this doesn't work turn ON all your COLD water taps so that the pipe-work and water storage systems can drain completely 4.It's really important that you do not turn on your hot water taps.
  3. The last thing to do before getting in touch with your plumber is to turn off the central heating system and electrical immersion heaters and if you use solid fuel in your heating system, let the fire die out.
  4. Get a recommended plumber to call round.
  5. If wiring has been exposed to the water, be really careful and make sure that you get a recommended electrician to fix it for you.

Dealing with a frozen pipe

  1. Turn off your mains water supply which you can normally find under your kitchen sink.
  2. If you can't find the supply valve in your home, check your garden or any pathway you have outside where it may be under a cover.
  3. If the frozen pipe isn't controlled by a valve and runs from a storage cistern, check that it hasn't split.
  4. If the pipe has split, empty the cistern by opening up the cold water taps and flushing the toilet or by siphoning the water from the cistern with a hose. Then call your plumber.
  5. If the pipe hasn't split, you'll be able to thaw it out using hot water bottles or an electric hairdryer.

Golden rules to follow for thawing frozen pipes

  • Always be careful not to thaw the pipe too quickly as this might cause the pipe to split. It might also expose a split that you hadn't noticed earlier and cause a heavy flow of water;
  • It's really important that when using the hairdryer option, the pipe hasn't got any splits in it as water and electricity is a dangerous combination;
  • Never use a naked flame to thaw a pipe;
  • Always start thawing the pipe at the end nearest the pipe.



Facing an overflowing toilet or a leaky pipe can be extremely daunting when we lack the proper knowledge on how to mitigate the emergency plumbing at hand until the plumber arrives to the rescue. With increasing water conservation awareness more and more people are inclined to learn the do's and don'ts of plumbing emergencies to be able to cut down water wastage in times of flooding and leaky fixtures.

Follow the do's and don'ts of emergency plumbing to save on water and money:


1. With leaky fixtures and burst pipes the first and sometimes only effective action to take is close off the water shut off valve. This action will close the water supply to the faulty fixture and stop the water wastage.
2. Insulate pipes that may be exposed to low temperatures to keep them from freezing and splitting up.
3. Gently thaw freezing pipes with a blow dryer but never with a naked flame to prevent thermal expansion of water that can also split open pipes.
4. As toilet leaks are more than often detected in a high water bill, inspect your toilets for any leaks on a periodic basis. Put several drops of food dye in the water tank and let it sit. Come back after an hour to examine the toilet - if you see color dye in the bowl then your toilet is leaking.
5. Try and clean out sediment accumulation in the water heater on a regular basis to prevent clogs that restrict hot water supply to the relevant fixtures.


1. Pour boiling water down the toilet unless you want the bowl to crack open.
2. Throw big objects, diapers, sanitary towels, toys down the toilets. Anything that is not tissue paper can clog the toilet's drain and cause plumbing emergencies from overflowing toilets to sewer backups.
3. Plant any shrubs and trees over sewer lines.
4. Throw fibrous material down the garbage disposer. Onion skins, celery, artichokes and more fibrous peels can clog the disposer's blades and cause motor burn outs.
5. Pour cooking fats, oils and grease down the kitchen's drain to avoid stubborn blockages.
6. Ignore a leaky plumbing fixture until it escalates into costly emergency plumbing situations that waste gallons of water and damage belongings.

Emergency plumbing troubles are a nuisance to handle. By adhering to the do's and don'ts of our plumbing we can reduce chances that a plumbing emergency will break out. Save on your money and on water by knowing what you can do and what you can't do in an emergency plumbing situation

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