Ask Angi: How to Deal With Emergency Repairs on Your Own

Burst pipes, overflowing toilets and power outages– surprises can be fun, but not when they come in the form of a home emergency. Now it might be your first instinct to call up an expert to do the repairs but some repairs are easy enough to do on your own.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, it’s likely you’re going to come upon an unexpected home issue or project, said Bailey Carson, home care expert at Angi, “It could be something really minor, like a shower rod that has fallen down, or it could be something major, involving a power or plumbing issue. It’s important to know what to do in the case of an emergency. If it’s something you can’t fix yourself, be sure to have a few pros’ numbers on hand, so you don’t feel like you’re starting from scratch.”

Broken pipes can mean leaks and even major water damage. Calling in a plumber for an emergency, especially during off hours can cost up to $200 dollars per hour as well as including materials and supplies. You can however, try to slow the water flow until normal business hours by shutting off the main water valve to your home. Just make sure the water isn’t leaking near electrical equipment; if it is, leave it be and call a pro right away!

“Clogged toilets can lead to leaks and water damage if left unresolved,” said Carson “Plus, they can be a real hassle if you need that toilet in use. Start by turning off the water valve behind your toilet bowl. This will prevent any overflow. Next, try a traditional plunger. If that doesn’t work, head to your hardware store to pick up a drain snake. If that’s still not solving the issue, it’s probably time to call in a pro.”

H-vac issues can be a horrible surprise especially if it happens in the middle of a snowstorm or heatwave. If your H-vac unit suddenly stops working, turn off your thermostat and check the power source to the unit and your electrical box. Resetting the outlet or a blown fuse can be a simpler solution to the problem. If those don’t work then it’s time to call in a local H-vac specialist to figure out what went wrong.

“If your power suddenly goes out, check your electric box and see if you’ve simply blown a fuse,” says Carson “It could be a really easy fix of just flipping it back on. However, if that doesn’t work, or you know the power outage could be due to weather, call your electric company to see how long they estimate before the power might be back. If it’s going to be a while, you might want to consider heading somewhere else. If you decide to stay home, make sure you have flashlights and candles on hand, and use it as a great excuse to eat all that ice cream in your freezer before it melts.”

There are a few tools that are helpful to have around in case of a home emergency. For cleaning up messes or leaks have a five gallon bucket, duct tape, rubber gloves and heavy duty rags on hand. To shut valves or tighten bolts have an adjustable wrench, slip joint pliers, screwdrivers and Allen keys in your tool box.

“If an emergency hits your home and you don’t know what to do, don’t guess, call a pro,” said Carson “Remember that the longer issues are left unresolved, the more damage they can cause, so don’t delay. By example, a simple leak can turn into flooding. If the situation is dangerous, definitely leave your home for somewhere safer before trying to handle it. However, if it’s not too dangerous, stay home and try to keep the issue under control until the expert arrives to truly fix the problem.”

Do you have questions about your home projects? Tweet them using #AskingAngi and you may get some tips in an upcoming segment!

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