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When a home emergency hits, time is of the essence
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Home Emergencies that we can help with:
Blocked toilet, pipe, or drain
If your toilet and shower drains are blocked, then it’s probably to do with what you’re putting in there. Toilets in particular aren’t meant to take anything other than what comes out of you (and toilet paper), so put anything else in the bin.
Shower drains can get easily clogged with excess hair, which can be removed quickly and easily if you unscrew the drain cap or simply pull the hair out from the top of the drain. You’ll want to wear some tough gloves for this task.
Other blocked drains are also a nuisance, but you can often unblock a drain yourself relatively quickly and easily. If you can see the blockage – and you don’t mind getting your hands dirty – then put on some disposal rubber gloves and pull the blockage out by hand. If you can’t see the blockage, then bust out a toilet plunger to remove deeper blocks.
To get a little more scientific, pouring baking soda and vinegar into the drain can break down solid matter over time. Be careful about the quantity – you don’t want to burst or rust the pipe!
If that doesn’t work, then you might have to call a licensed professional to come out and do it for you.
Damaged roof, gutter, or downpipe
A damaged roof can be quite expensive, and should only be repaired by a licensed professional. If your gutter or downpipe is simply clogged, on the other hand, this is much easier to fix on your own.
The most obvious thing to look for is leaves. Leaves can build up in droves over time, blocking the waters access to your drainage. A ladder, plastic bag, and a brush can make short work of all of the leaves up there, and doing this semi-regularly can make sure you always get the most out of your drainage.
Holes can form in gutters through rust, eating through steel and causing water and grime to fall out into your yard. This is very cheap and easy to fix. All you need is a tube of roofing silicone. Apply a liberal amount of roofing silicone with a caulking gun a few inches either side of the hole, which should do the trick.
It’s vital to remember that unless you keep your gutters clean, your insurance claim for overflowing water, mould, or structural damage could be rejected.
Getting locked out of home
Perhaps the most embarrassing one in this list, 1 in 3 people of the 1,000 surveyed admitted to being locked outside, either by themselves or by someone else.
Of those, 19% got locked out while taking out their rubbish, 16% got stuck after a late night out, and rather hilariously, 17% got locked out by their own kids!
And to make matters worse, 10% of people who got locked out said they were wearing their pyjamas, underwear, or nothing at all. In the era of Snapchat and YouTube, this is one way you don’t want to go viral.
The most obvious step to make sure you don’t get locked out is to hide a spare key. Do not leave a window or door open while you’re out! You might as well leave a note welcoming all robbers in the area. Safe-ish places to stash a spare key can include:
- Inside a fake rock
- In an electrical panel protected by a combination lock
- In your work bag or school bag
- Some other place a burglar wouldn’t expect. This does not include:
- Under your doormat
- In a pot plant or the mailbox
- On a window ledge
- In the lock itself
Alternatively, you can give a spare key to your neighbour, as long as they are trustworthy.
Broken door or window
If you have a broken door or window, then chances are it wasn’t your fault (unless you were kicking the ball in the house). It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, as you need to get it fixed ASAP unless you want to invite thieves over when you’re not there.
Water leakages only cost hundreds of dollars to fix in the short-term, but if you don’t get them fixed right away, they can cause thousands of dollars in structural damage over the long-term.
So if you find one, it is generally a good idea to plug it and replacement the leaking tap or pipe as soon as you can. A replacement tap can cost anywhere from $50 up to a few hundred dollars, but try to avoid picking the cheapest tap you see.
Generally you’ll need to hire a plumber before too long if you have a water leak, but you can plug it temporarily until the plumber gets there if you have the right tools:
- Shut off the water value on that pipe (this may be under the sink).
- Wipe the pipe dry with a cloth and use a putty knife to put some putty or similar substance over the hole.
- Cover the newly plugged leak with rubber and tighten a clamp over it.
- Use water-resistant tape to cover the rubber and turn the faucet back on to make sure there is still no leak.
If there is a significant leak, then the chances are you’ll have to buy a new pipe. Unless you know how to do plumbing yourself, we recommend hiring someone experienced to do it for you.
Burst tap or showerhead
The last common household emergency on this list is burst taps and showerheads. Similarly to other less serious water leaks, you will need to have them replaced before long to avoid significant damage.
If there’s a full-on geyser coming out of the tap or showerhead, turn all faucets off and shut off the water to your building. If you are in a unit block and you aren’t sure whether or how to turn off the water switch for your whole building, phone your body corporate manager, building manager, or landlord.
Showerheads are very easy to replace for anyone with a decent idea of how to do a few handyman tasks.
Installing a new tap is a bit harder, but not impossible. There are some comprehensive instruction tutorial videos available on YouTube for all kinds of tap replacement situations if want to give it a go yourself.
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