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How to Handle Common Home Emergencies

Whether you just purchased your home or have lived in the same place for years, accidents happen. You cannot control when your waterline bursts, but you can prepare for problems before they happen. By taking the following steps, you can prevent these problems from causing major damage and save money on repair costs.

 

Furnace Failures in the Middle of Winter

If your furnace dies on you during the winter, call an HVAC company right away. Service Specialities offers same-day emergency service after hours and weekends.

You also need to check to make sure that your furnace is not leaking natural gas. Manufacturers add a sulfuric compound to natural gas so that you can easily smell it. If your home smells like rotten eggs, you need to immediately leave your house and call the gas company right away.

Sometimes, a furnace will stop functioning because of a simple problem like a tripped circuit breaker. You can adjust your thermostat and reset any tripped breakers to see if these steps turn the furnace back on. If these techniques do not work, you need to wait for the professionals to arrive.

While you wait, find ways to stay warm. A wood-burning fireplace or space heater can help. You can add extra layers and gather everyone into the same warm room to conserve heat.

If your home does not have any heat, your pipes could freeze. You can use space heaters for your pipes or wrap them in newspapers for insulation. If you make one of your faucets drip slightly, the running water will help prevent frozen pipes.

 

Burst Pipes

Ideally, your home stays warm enough to prevent any pipes from bursting. Pipes are more likely to explode if they are in an exterior wall or an unheated area of the home. If a pipe bursts, you need to turn off your water main immediately. Then, open a faucet to relieve any pressure in the system. As you wait for a plumber to arrive, you can start removing any water with mops. You should also turn on the heat to prevent other pipes from freezing.

 

Leaking Water Heaters

A small leak can quickly cause a significant amount of damage. Look for the source of the leak. If the water is coming from beneath your water heater, it might not be from the appliance. Use a paper towel to wipe up the water. If you cannot figure out where the leak is coming from, you can return in a day or two to see if there is more water in that spot.

Once you determine that your water heater is leaking, turn off the water to your tank. A gate-style valve involves turning the valve clockwise. With a ball-style valve, you have to turn the handle 180 degrees. If the valve is the problem, you can turn off your home's water main instead.

You should also turn off the power to your tank. For a gas water heater, you should find your thermostat and turn the switch off. For an electric heater, you need to go to your breaker panel and turn off the breaker for the water heater. After the electricity and water are turned off, wait for a professional to repair the water heater.

 

Power Outages

During a power outage, you should disconnect any appliances so that they are not affected by power surges. You should also keep your refrigerators and freezers closed so that they remain cold for longer. While a generator can provide you with power, you need to use it safely. Only use a generator outdoors where the fumes can dissipate safely.

 

Sewage Backups

If your sewage backs up, keep children and pets away from the area. Then, check your sinks, toilets, and waste pipes for blockages. If you can clear the blockage, clear it. Otherwise, you should call a plumber. You should not use your sinks or toilets until the obstruction has been removed because a clog in the mainline will cause water to back up into your basement or bathtubs. If the wastewater is near electrical sources, you will need to turn off your electricity.


Bottom line: Service Specialities, serving Chantilly and surrounding communities, is your one-stop resource for your HVAC and plumbing needs. Call (703) 991-0909 to schedule an appointment.

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