As a new homeowner, you may not know what to do when the unforeseen happens. Knowing what to do in a household emergency can save valuable time and may even reduce expensive repairs to hidden damage.
From plumbing disasters to leaky roofs, household emergency tend to occur at the most inopportune times. Waking up to a flooded kitchen because the dishwasher leaked, or coming home from work during a rainstorm to find a puddle forming in the dining room, to having sparks leap from the outlet you just plugged your new lamp into, household emergencies require specialists that are available at odd hours. Having easily accessible contact information can save you valuable time during the emergency (you might have trouble searching a browser for help if you have no power).
NOTE: an emergency repair company may not be the same one you use for installing new faucets and fixtures or putting on a complete new roof. These on-call experts know how to stop the damage from getting worse and make immediate repairs. This list is not exhaustive, but includes:
- 24-Hour Plumbers: locate a couple different emergency plumbers (in case one is already responding to another call) and make certain they can deal with leaky or burst pipes, plugged toilets and other plumbing disasters.
- Emergency Roofers: Rather than reroofing your home, or even finding the actual cause of the leak, an emergency roofer will immediately place a protective cover on your roof until the bad weather has passed to stop additional damage. Once the weather improves, they will inspect the roof to determine the actual cause and propose a more permanent repair solution.
- For electrical or natural gas emergencies, your local utility provider will have specific instructions. In general, however, if it is an electrical emergency, switch off the breaker to that location in your home so that power is no longer going to it. Contact your utility and follow their instructions. You may need to hire an emergency electrician, but start with your power utility first, as they may have emergency procedures to take care of you.
- The same is true for gas leaks. If you smell weak gas in your home, open the doors and windows to air it out. Check for an extinguished pilot light (in a water heater, fireplace or your stove). Switch the pilot knob to the OFF position. Wait for all of the odor to dissipate before relighting the pilot. If you are unsure of how to relight the pilot, call your gas company for assistance. If you don’t know the source of the leak, or if the odor is strong IMMEDIATELY remove all family members and pets from the house. DO NOT us a telephone inside the home. DO NOT use a lighter and DO NOT switch on any lights. Call the gas utility from a cell phone OUTSIDE or from a neighbor’s house.
No matter where you live, natural disasters and weather emergencies can happen at any time. Learn where the nearest shelter is if you live in a flood or tornado-prone area. If you live near the ocean, get a map for the tsunami evacuation routes for your neighborhood. Turn on the emergency weather alert app on your smart phone to get advanced warning of emergencies. The American Red Cross has free apps that give addresses and information on the nearest shelters to your location and other disaster information.
If you need assistance locating shelters or have other questions about your neighborhood, your real estate professional can guide you.