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Emergency plumbing Tutorial by Portland Oregon plumbers


Emergency Plumbing Help - What to do where there is no plumber

Emergency Plumbing Plumbers Portland Oregon

You may not know the frustration of an emergency plumbing until you wake up in the morning to a totally blocked toilet or you face the nightmare of a burst pipe. Proper home maintenance can reduce the risks and costs of an emergency plumbing. You do not want to “pay through the nose” for a problem that could be avoided using basic plumbing tips. I have highlighted things you can do in times of any plumbing emergency as well as simple home maintenance tips every homeowner and or tenant should know to avoid emergency situations. Learn to be calm in all emergency situations – burst pipes, frozen pipes, totally clogged drains/toilets or leaking gas. And never escalate the tension that’s already built up as a result of the emergency. Alert all members of your family of the situation, and then take the following steps:

Emergency Plumbing Guide

Ruptured Pipe:

If you have a burst pipe, first you want to prevent water passing the point of the leak. To do this, turn off all stop valves/cocks that control water supply to that pipe.  If there is no internal valve, turn off your home’s main water valve immediately. If the escaping water cannot be controlled immediately, open all cold water taps so that the pipework and storage system drains quickly. DO NOT TURN ON HOT WATER TAPS.  Turn off the central heating system and, if it uses a solid fuel boiler, allow the fire to die out. Switch off any electric immersion heater. Call a professional plumber.

Frozen Pipes:

If a pipe freezes, turn off the main water supply at the stop valve inside your home. Verify that the pipe has no splits if it runs from a storage cistern and is not controlled by a valve. If you found any splits, empty the cold water storage cistern by opening the cold water taps and flushing the WC. If you know how to, you could siphon the water from the cistern with a hose pipe.  If the pipe has no splits, carefully thaw the pipe with a hair dryer, or with towels soaked in hot water. By heating the pipe slowly, you are preventing the pipe from breaking. Attention -  There may be splits that are not easily noticeable. It is recommended to contact your plumber. Be sure to turn off any heat source as leaving this on can cause a high risk if any part of the hot water system is frozen.


Verify that the pipe has no splits before you start thawing. Never thaw a pipe that has a split.

Never heat the pipe with a torch, as it could start a fire

Never use a naked flame to thaw a pipe.

Always start thawing a pipe at the end nearest the tap.

Water Heater Over- Heating or Steaming:

If steaming water flows from a hot water faucet, first turn off the gas or electric supply to the heater.

Open all the hot water faucets to relieve the overheated hot water heater.

Keep the faucets running until cold water flows from them.

Call a professional plumbing contractor for possible plumbing repairs.

Clogged Drains/Toilet:

If you ever find yourself in a situation where your toilet, kitchen sink, laundry line, bathtub, shower or any plumbing appliance becomes totally clogged, turn off the faucet or appliance that flows into the drain. Try to unclog the drain using a plunger. Do not attempt to use a snake or other plumbing tools if you are not trained to use them. Never use a chemical drain cleaner to open a totally clogged drain.  If your toilet overflows, you should stop the flow of water by reaching inside the toilet tank and pushing the tank stopper down into its valve seat. Hold it until the tank fills and the water stops. Next, turn off the shutoff valve underneath the toilet or turn off the main water shutoff valve.  Remember to never use a chemical drain cleaner if your toilet is totally blocked.  Consult a trained plumber instead.

Attention!  Drain cleaners contain harmful chemicals and should be stored and disposed of properly!

Leaking Gas:

If you ever smell gas around your house, turn off the gas supply at the meter using the control valve.

Never ignite a naked flame or strike a match or any naked flame for that matter.

Never touch any electrical appliance, light switches included.

Open doors and windows to allow proper ventilation.

Warn house occupants of the danger.

Call a professional for plumbing repair.

Plumbing Maintenance to Avoid Emergency Situations

It is highly recommended that you have your plumber do a regular maintenance check, to ensure your plumping equipment is working properly. This is a sure way of keeping plumbing and heating costs low all year round. You and each member of your family needs to know the location of the shutoff valve for every fixture and appliance, as well as the main shutoff valve for the house.  Find out where your stop valve is located on the incoming water supply or ask your plumber on his next plumbing service. When this is located label it and inform every adult member of your family. Check occasionally that it is working. Locate all drain valves on your plumbing systems. These can be used in an emergency to empty your water and central heating systems. Ensure that the storage system and exposed pipes are properly insulated, particularly in the roof space or attic. In very cold weather take special care to prevent water pipes becoming frozen. If you have a storage cistern in the roof space, it’s a good idea to leave the hatch open. Heat from the house will help to keep the cistern and pipes from freezing. Inspect your cold water storage cistern /tank  regularly and, if it is metal, make sure it is not corroding.  If you noticed any corrosion, never hesitate to call a professional plumber. Have your central heating boilers and other heating appliances serviced by a professional plumber every year. Dripping taps or continuously running overflow pipes are a sure sign that your plumbing system requires maintenance. A plumber’s service is highly recommended in such a situation to avoid a major plumbing emergency.

Plumbing Rules By Top Plumbers

Never place non-food items in the garbage disposal. Candy wrappers, cardboard, and paper towels should be disposed of properly in the trash.

Monitor children around garbage disposals to avoid injury, and to ensure they do not put any unwanted materials into the garbage disposal.

Avoid trying to stuff large food items in the garbage disposal. Whole pieces of vegetables, and large fruit pits should not be put down the garbage disposal.

When using the garbage disposal, help it along by pouring water down the drain with the waste. This can avoid simple clogs.

Clean your shower drain after every shower. Remove all hair and dirt from the exterior of the shower drain. Consider purchasing a shower strainer to place in your drain. The strainer will prevent dirt and hair from going down your drain and creating clogs.

Lastly, every parent, homeowner, property manager should pass these rules to every house occupant.


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This article is powered by Portland Plumbing Plus – Portland Oregon emergency plumbers; because we care for your safety.


Sewage Backing up Into House or Yard

BACKGROUND: We have a septic system. Sewage was flowing out into the yard. The clean out was found to have the cap missing, which was replaced. Once the cap was replaced, the sewage began to back up in the house. When we would wash dishes, sewage would bubble up into the bathtub, the toilet would not go down, the bathroom sink would drain slow and gurgle. First plumber ran snake, said it was not clogged by us, but that the piping was laid wrong. Next plumber dug up where piping runs to septic tank, said there was grease clogging, also another fitting (? I don't really know proper terminology) was broke off--so said it wasn't draining right.
QUESTION: How long would it take for grease to clog system enough to back it up? We have lived here two years and never put grease down drain. Could this be from previous inhabitants? System has not been serviced since we've lived here, could that be problem? thank you

Sewage backing up into your yard or house does not have a direct relationship with "how long it would take for grease to clog system enough to back it up". In your situation, there are two most common causes of the back up. The first possibility is that your "out-going line/lines is/are clogged", and the second is that your "outlet baffle on the out-going side of your sewage tank is clogged" or "not functioning properly"

To determine what's responsible for the blockage, your "Distribution Box" (D-box) needs to be dug up. If the distribution box is dry, then know that the blockage is in the outlet baffle. And if the Distribution Box is flooded, then the out-going pipe/pipes connected from the Distribution Box and leading to the...

Read full answers for Sewage Backing up Into House or Yard

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