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Water Emergency? What to Do Until Help Arrives

Whether it’s a burst pipe, a water heater mishap, storm water or sewage backflowing into your basement, few situations are more unnerving than watching a massive amount of water pour into your home. Even a small leak is nothing to snort at.

So, you have flooding inside your home, you’ve made the call and the plumbing and water damage restoration team is on the way… but what do you do until help arrives? Here are some tips from Roto-Rooter’s plumbing and water cleanup experts:

  • Safety first. If you don’t feel safe in the house, get out! There could be a danger of slipping and falling, not to mention electrical hazards.
  • Shut off the main water supply valve immediately. Obviously, it’s good to know ahead of time exactly where the shutoff valve is located.
  • If it’s safe to do so, turn off the electricity to flooded rooms. Do not walk or wade through water to reach the breaker box. You could be shocked or worse.
  • If you can safely get to your sump pump, and the electricity is still on, check your sump pump to see if you can get it operating. Pull up on the float switch and check to see if the electrical cord or a foreign object has prevented the float switch from turning on. If your basement is flooded, a working sump pump is the fastest way to get the water out.
  • If it’s safe inside, start removing excess water by mopping and blotting the floors. Be sure to wipe water from wood furniture to keep it from getting damaged – and prop up wet upholstery and cushions for drying.
  • Create a barrier between soaked carpet and furniture legs (use a margarine container or lid, aluminum foil, wood blocks, etc.). Make sure there are no books, magazines, rugs or other colored items that can “bleed” on the carpet.
  • Don't use the TV or household appliances and don’t use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. If a room’s ceiling is sagging, don’t go in!
  • Do NOT use your household vacuum to remove water. Only use an approved wet/dry vacuum to extract water.
  • Get the air circulating. Use ceiling fans (but not if the ceiling is wet) or A/C in the summer to begin the drying process.
  • Put family heirlooms, art and other pricey objects in a safe, dry place.
  • Hang wet fabrics and leather items out to dry.

Of course, it’s best to research plumbers/water restoration experts ahead of time – that way, you’ll have a phone number on hand before an emergency ever strikes!

What to Do to Reduce the Chance of a Future Flood

  1. Replace your sump pump every five years. Roto-Rooter provides this service.
  2. Install a battery backup sump pump or have one installed by Roto-Rooter. These units will continue to pump water out of your sump pit if your primary sump pump fails or if there is a power failure.
  3. Move valuable personal belongings off the floor and onto high shelves if you use your basement for storage.
  4. Schedule a preventative maintenance cleaning of your sewer pipe, especially if it is old or has a history of clogging.