How to handle plumbing emergencies in rental property is this week’s maintenance tip from Keepe, the on-demand maintenance company.
If you manage rental property, you and your tenants are bound to experience plumbing emergencies at some point. The problems can include broken pipes, gas leaks, blocked drains, faulty taps and tenant-caused issues that can lead to plumbing disasters.
Being prepared and knowing what to do when this happens is your first step to reducing damages and repair costs.
While having a professional plumber on call is the most important factor for having your plumbing issues promptly fixed, here are the steps you should take to minimize damage in a plumbing emergency.
Examples of plumbing emergencies
Plumbing emergencies in rental property are those that require immediate action now, especially when your tenants call, such as:
- Clogged sinks, toilets, bathtubs or shower drains
- Leaky faucets, toilets, water heater, hoses
- Broker water lines
- Burst or frozen water pipes
- Sewer system backups
First steps to take in plumbing emergencies in rental property
Turning off the water supply is the first step, as the most common plumbing emergency in residential rental housing is water leaks or water flooding an area.
Do you know where all the water shut-off valves are? Many times a property manager may not even know the main source of a water leakage. It could be sewage water or domestic water leaking into your rental from another source.
Find your shutoff valves ahead of time so you know where they are when you need to quickly shut off the water. The valve could be in the building somewhere or out by the street.
Sewage Backups: Call a Professional Plumber
Sewage backups usually happen when there is something wrong with the sewage pipes under your foundation. Tree roots can sometimes lead to a blockage, or an incorrect installation may lead to serious problems.
If you see a pool of brown smelly water in your yard, the first thing you should do is to shut off the water. Don’t try to fix a sewage-related problem yourself; you could expose yourself to harmful bacteria. Call the water utility company or septic company, who will send a trained professional to investigate and fix the problem.
Overflowing Toilets: Turn off the Water Supply
A clogged toilet can quickly overflow when flushed, leading to unsanitary issues and immense water damage. Caution your tenants about paper towels, tissues, wrappers and even baby wipes, all of which can all easily clog your plumbing and cause toilets to overflow.
Your first step is to find and turn off the water-supply valve beneath the toilet tank to prevent more water from entering the bowl. Then, deal with the clog or call the plumber.
Broken Water Heater: Flush the Water Tank/Call a Professional
As a water heater begins to malfunction, your tenants may experience water that’s too cold or too hot or has a strange color or odor. Having a professional flush the hot-water tank may solve color and odor problems as well as improve the heater’s efficiency. If you notice a leak, it may be time for replacement.
Acting fast can save your rental property from major damage and prevent any significant costs.
Keep your emergency plumber’s contact number close, and be prepared with these essential steps to avoid damage during a plumbing emergency.
Best of all, be sure your tenants notify you immediately when there is a plumbing emergency, as the longer they wait, the more damage to your property.