Your home is your castle, but sometimes you can feel like you’re living under siege from the piles of bills, property taxes, and upkeep. But some things are genuine emergencies, and it helps to be prepared ahead of time so you know what to do. Quick reactions save lives. And while we’d never discourage you from calling Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning for 24/7 emergency HVAC and plumbing repair, there are times when other actions, and other phone calls, need to come first. Here’s how to deal with three especially urgent home emergencies.
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Slab Leaks and Burst Pipes
Signs of a Slab Leak
Slab leaks occur when pipes leak water into the surrounding soil, undermining soil, foundations, and structures. Puddles of water, cracks in slabs and foundations, water bills that have no relation to your water usage, soil depressions, and sinkholes are signs of a slab leak.
Signs of a Burst Pipe
Oh, you’ll know. Trust us.
What to Do with Slab Leaks and Burst Pipes
Slab leaks are usually slow to manifest, and the damage may show slowly if at all. It’s important to call for slab leak repair at the first sign of trouble. For a burst pipe, your first step should be to locate your water main and shut off the water as long as it’s safe to do so. If the flooding is extreme — and especially if there’s anything electrical in the vicinity — call your utility company for an emergency shutoff first to eliminate the electrical hazard, then address the water, then call Ace Plumbing.
Signs of a Gas Leak
Natural gas has no odor on its own, but gas suppliers use additives to give gas a rotten egg smell. So if you smell rotten eggs, or if you hear a hissing sound near a pipe, fitting, or appliance, odds are that you’ve got a leak.
What to Do if You Have a Gas Leak
Two words: get out. You, your kids, and your pets should evacuate the premises immediately before you do anything else. Don’t try to pinpoint the source of the problem. Don’t call the gas company or dial 911 from inside the house (even the smallest spark, like turning on a light, or the tiny charge from your phone, can ignite gas). Important though it may be, gas line repair is a secondary priority right now.
Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Signs of a Carbon Monoxide Leak
Unlike natural gas, there’s no additive for carbon monoxide. It’s odorless, so the first signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are issues like severe headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, confusion or disorientation, blurred vision, and extreme fatigue. Prolonged exposure can lead to death.
What to Do if You Have a Carbon Monoxide Leak
Here again, your first priority is to evacuate. Don’t second-guess it. You don’t know the concentration of the carbon monoxide, how long you’ve been exposed, or the damage that’s been done. The longer you wait, the longer you’re putting yourself and your loved ones in danger. Wait ’til you’ve gotten to fresh air, then dial 911; you’ll need prompt medical attention.
An Ounce of Prevention…
The best way to deal with these problems is to head them off before they start.
- Inspect your plumbing regularly. Insulate pipes and areas like basements and crawl spaces that are prone to temperature swings, and make sure your pressure regulator is in good working order.
- Have your hot water heater serviced, and get home heating tune-ups, regularly. Gas and CO leaks often arise when equipment is poorly maintained.
- Educate your family — especially children — on the warning signs above, and what to do if there’s a problem.
- Never use generators, camp stoves, grills, or kerosene heaters indoors.
- Always be sure to change batteries (including backup batteries, where applicable) in CO detectors and smoke alarms.
Good news: many of these problems can be prevented with some diligence. Better news: you’ve got help, and it’s just a phone call away. Call or click to get plumbing and HVAC repairs in Sacramento from the professionals at Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning.