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Plumbing Emergency Tips

A burst pipe

In a plumbing emergency, taking little steps, can make your plumber’s job easier and prevent massive damage to your home.  Knowing what to do can prevent thousands of dollars in additional water damage.

We can think of two reasons you read about the steps to take in a plumbing emergency:

  1.  You’re experiencing a plumbing emergency right now. If that is the case, call our 24/7 emergency number at the top of this page. Then finish reading the article and spring into action.
  2.  You know you can never be too prepared. Memorizing these tips now can save you precious minutes if a plumbing emergency ever strikes.

Whatever your reason, we’ve got you covered. Before you call the plumber, these are the steps to take. Steps to ensure the quickest, least expensive, and most complete repair.

Read on for the plumbing emergency steps you need to know.


When the damage is localized, go right to the source. You can shut off the water at the individual appliance and seriously limit the damage.

You just need to know where to look. Emergency damage to a specific appliance results from very old sinks and toilets or ill-advised DIY attempts.

Toilet shut off valves

A toilet

These valves typically sit just behind the toilet, where the toilet tank connects to the water line. You can see them clearly but you’ll need to crouch down to use them.

No special tricks. Just turn clockwise until the water stops flowing.

Quick use of the toilet shutoff valve can also prevent a clogged toilet from overflowing.

Sink shut off valves

Find this valve in the cabinet or cupboard under the sink itself.  The particular sink shut off valve in the picture doesn’t require any special technique—just a clockwise turn.

Using the kitchen shut off valve is necessary to fixing your garbage disposal — just be sure to also shut the electricity off too!

Contact us to leave dicey garbage disposal work to the pros.


In a true emergency, this is the silver bullet. When water is pouring from a burst pipe, cutting an individual toilet or sink won’t help. You need to shut off water to the entire house.

Not only can cutting the flow of water limit the damage, it can save your plumber time. In an emergency situation, this is one of the first steps he or she will take.

Where to find it?

Your Whole House Shutoff Valve sits beside your water meter. More often than not, it’s located in your basement. If your house doesn’t have a basement, your whole house shutoff valve is likely located in a first floor utility closet or cupboard.

Whole house shutoff valves sometimes require a wrench to operate. If that’s the case, we suggest leaving one near it at all times.

This particular shutoff valve, located in a cupboard under the main stairs, features two separate valves. Either of the valves can be used to stop the flow of water. Once again, a clockwise turn seals the pipe.

Emergency shutoff valve

Used in serious disasters, your whole house emergency shutoff valve eliminates the flow of water to your entire house. Find it in your basement or a utility closet.

Some emergency shut off valves don’t have a circular knob, but a crank. Pulling the handle clockwise once should do the trick.

Before they go on vacation, prudent homeowners often shut off their water using the whole house shutoff valve.


Limiting water damage is the most crucial step to take. Less damage means ultimately less risk of mold, less property damage, and ultimately, less expense for you to cover later.

Shut off the Electricity

Just like knowing how to shut off the water enables your plumber to get to work right away, shutting off the electricity can be crucial too.

Since water proves such a deadly conductor of electricity, cutting the electricity can be a crucial first step of a major plumbing repair.

However, if there is a chance water has damaged your main panel, putting you at risk for an electric shock don’t touch it!

Run the Faucets— in the case of a burst pipe

If a pipe bursts, the remaining water is going to exit one of two places: either out the hole or out through the faucet.

Leave water an option that will cause the least damage.

Open the Windows and Doors—Depending on the Season

The same principle as leaving a rainstorm-soaked pair of sneakers outside to dry. Opening your windows and doors can help dry leaking water and prevent mold.

Protect your valuables

If water is cascading from the ceiling, and you can’t stop it, salvage anything—and everything you can— Take your big-ticket valuables outside, starting with electronics and furniture. A plumbing disaster will be expensive regardless, but you’ll appreciate not having to re-purchase absolutely everything.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Ocean County: YOUR PLUMBING EMERGENCY RESOURCE

At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing we handle plumbing emergencies—that’s our specialty.

Think the emergency advice we gave you is helpful, just wait until you see us in an actual emergency.  We’ll take the stress out of the stressful situation, and we’ll get your life back on track—guaranteed.

If you want more information about preventative maintenance to ensure you never experience an emergency, check out our protection plans.

Contact us if you have a plumbing emergency. We’re available 24/7 every day of the year!