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What to do in a plumbing emergency?

Thanks to modern plumbing systems most of us don’t give a thought to how the fresh water gets in or where the wastewater from our homes goes once we flush the toilet, take a shower, or turn on the washing machine. That is until problems start to occur. 

Unfortunately these issues often appear after hours or on the weekends when help is not so near at hand which is why it’s important to know what to do in a plumbing emergency. The team at Brisbane Plumbing & Drainage have put together a handy list of ‘what to do’ and ‘what to avoid’ when disaster strikes your home or business plumbing system.

Burst pipe

Burst water pipes can happen anywhere along the mains water line from the meter at the front of your property all the way to the pipes in the walls or ceiling of your home. The first sign of a burst pipe could be unexplained water bubbling up in the lawn or wet areas appearing in a wall or carpet. 

What to do if a pipe bursts?

If you suspect a pipe has burst on your property regardless of where it is turn the mains water off at the meter. The meter and mains tap is located at the front of your property near the border, it could be above ground or inside a meter box. This will stop the water supply to your home. 

Call an emergency plumber to repair the burst pipe.

Gas leak

Any suspected gas leak must be treated very seriously. If you think you have a gas leak in your home:

  • Turn off all gas appliances, including pilot lights
  • Turn off the gas supply at the meter valve or gas bottle
  • Open the doors and windows to ventilate your home
  • Call your gas plumber or gas fitter to find and repair the leak
Gas cooktop
Turn off all gas appliances including pilot lights

Do not:

  • Try to find the leak yourself.
  • Attempt to find the gas leak using a naked flame or lighter.
  • Operate any electrical equipment close to the gas leak which includes the use of light switches, phones, torches etc.
  • Use cigarettes, matches or a lighter near the leak.

If the leak is outside your home but between the meter and your house - turn off all appliances and disconnect the gas supply at the meter valve, avoid the area and call a licenced gas fitter. 

If the leak is on the street side of the meter - avoid the area and report it to your local gas authority immediately. 

Brisbane residents can report a natural gas leak to Australian Gas Networks by calling 1800 427 532.

Blocked sewer or toilet

A blocked sewer drain or blocked toilet can get very smelly and messy really quickly. If your toilet is clogged it’s important to avoid repeated flushing as this could just make the situation worse.

What to do if your toilet is blocked?

Please note - before you attempt to clear a blockage yourself remember that whatever is blocking the drain, or backed up behind the blockage, may come back up the drain or toilet and not along the sewer drain which can leave you with a very big stinky mess. If you are not prepared to deal with what may come back up it’s probably best to call your plumber.

  • If you have a plunger and the water level is still on the lower side you could use a firm plunging motion to see if you can dislodge the clog. 

What to avoid:

  • Using a drain auger or plumbers eel yourself - you risk damaging the pipes
  • Repeated flushing
  • Poking other items down the drain or toilet

No water

Losing the water supply to your home can be caused by a burst water pipe (see above) or an outage in your area. 

Check for scheduled outages or emergency works with your local water authority. Brisbane residents can check with Unity Water here - unitywater.com

Need help now?

The team at Brisbane Plumbing and Drainage understand that plumbing emergencies can happen at any time of the day or night, which is why our emergency plumber is on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week to respond quickly to all your urgent plumbing problems. Call 1300 616 203 now.

Also helpful - When to call an emergency plumber?

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