Commercial Plumbing Emergency Tips
When a plumbing emergency occurs in your commercial facility, you’ll have only a short time to respond and get it under control. The following tips can help you prepare for, and quickly respond to, any plumbing emergency that happens in your building.
Have an Emergency Plan
- Prepare an emergency plan that makes it clear what should be done about a plumbing emergency in your commercial building. This plan should outline the steps to take to get the emergency under control, such as shutting off the water to the building. It should indicate who should be called about the emergency — plumber, building owner, building manager — and in what order. The plan should also include how to notify tenants about the problem and what all occupants of the building should do to respond to the emergency.
- If the personnel on hand can’t turn off the building’s water or otherwise get the emergency under control, call either your plumber or the manager responsible for making emergency decisions first.
- Let the water company know about the emergency if it involves a municipal water line, a city sewer, or main drains. It may be the local water company’s responsibility to fix the problem if it involves municipal supply lines or drains.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Your emergency kit should consist of several types of tools and supplies that will help you respond quickly to plumbing problems. The kit should include:
- A 5-gallon bucket: A heavy-duty bucket can serve both as a storage place for the other emergency kit items and as a container to catch water from minor leaks.
- Plungers: Include both a regular cup-style plunger and a forced-cup plunger.
- Tools: Include tools such as wrenches, a pair of slip-joint pliers, and at least one adjustable wrench. Other tools should include a hammer, a multi-bit screwdriver or several screwdrivers with regular and Phillips tips, and a set of Allen wrenches.
- Tape: Include at least one roll of regular duct tape, a roll of teflon sealing tape, and a roll of electrical tape.
- Caps: Include a few blind caps, or end caps, of various types and sizes to seal off the ends of pipes.
- Towels: Include some heavy-duty cloth or paper towels for soaking up water.
Know How to Shut Off the Water
Be sure you know the location of the main water shut-off valve for the building. Check this valve as part of annual maintenance to ensure it is working properly.
Know where the isolation valves for plumbing fixtures and equipment are located. This allows you to shut off the water supply to a leaking toilet, for example, without affecting water supplies elsewhere in the building. These valves should also be checked at least once a year to ensure proper operation.
Have Emergency Phone Numbers Handy
Make sure you keep a list of emergency phone numbers where they can be easily found. Contacts should include:
- Your plumber
- Local water company
- Building owner
- Building manager
- Facilities manager
- Maintenance manager
- Important tenants Take
Stock of Any Damage
Gather as much information about the emergency and the damage it has caused before calling your plumbing professional. A gushing water leak will be obvious, but some other types of problems may take some additional checking. Any information you can provide to your plumber during the initial emergency call will help him or her decide what will be needed to repair the problem.
Remember, too, that an assessment of the damage caused by the emergency will be useful when making an insurance claim. Note as many details as possible that could be useful to an insurance claim adjuster and keep written records of your observations.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on how to handle a plumbing emergency in your commercial facility, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!