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You and your location manager need to know the location of the shutoff valves for all fixtures and appliances, as well as the main shutoff valve for the house. View our Emergency Plumbing Procedures to better equip you and manager on duty the knowledge of how to handle a plumbing emergency.

If you have a plumbing problem and would like to speak to a certified plumber now, call us 24 hours a day 7 days a week - 800-235-4393

Anytime Plumbing Emergency Procedures

In a plumbing emergency, you'll need to stop the flow of water quickly. To do this, you and manager on duty needs to know the location of the shutoff valve for every fixture and appliance, as well as the main shutoff valve for the building, and how they operate.

  • If the emergency involves a specific fixture or appliance, first look for its shutoff valve and turn it clockwise to shut off the water to that fixture or appliance only.
  • The valve is usually located underneath a fixture such as a sink or a toilet, or behind an appliance, such as a clothes washer, at the point where the water supply pipe (or pipes) connects to it.
  • If the problem is not with a particular fixture or appliance, or if there's no shutoff valve for the fixture or appliance, use the main shutoff valve to turn off the water supply to the entire building.
  • You'll find the main shutoff valve on the inside or outside of your building where the main water supply pipe enters.
  • In cold climates, look just inside the foundation wall in the basement or crawl space.
  • Turn the valve clockwise to shut it off.
  • Professional Tip: If you need a wrench to turn the valve, keep a specially labeled one near the valve so it's handy.
  • If the main shutoff valve itself is defective and needs to be repaired, call your water company; they can send someone out with the tool that's required to shut off the water at the street before it reaches the valve.

A Leaking or Broken Pipe

  • Veterans will make temporary repairs to stop the leak and secure the building.
  • Turn off the main shutoff valve to prevent water damage.
  • Make temporary repairs to stop the leak.
  • The pipe will have to be replaced as soon as it's convenient to do so.

A Steaming Hot Water Faucet

  • Open all the hot water faucets to relieve the overheated hot water heater.
  • Turn off the gas or electric supply to the heater.
  • Let the faucets run until cold water flows from them (this indicates the water in the heater is no longer overheated). Close them.
  • Call Veterans to make any necessary repairs to the heater's thermostat and pressure relief valve.

A Faucet That Won't Shut Off

  • Immediately turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valve underneath the sink.
  • If there's no valve there, turn off the main shutoff valve.
  • Repair the faucet or, if necessary, replace it.

A Stopped-Up Sink

  • Shut off any faucet or appliance (such as dishwasher) that's draining into the sink.
  • Unclog the sink using a plunger or snake.
  • DON'T use a chemical drain cleaner if the fixture is totally blocked. Drain cleaners will only help a slow draining sink.