How to Prepare for an HVAC or Plumbing Emergency

Apr 29, 2024Our Blogs0 comments

It’s a fact of life that at some point, you’re going to have an issue with your plumbing or your HVAC system. These can range from minor inconveniences to major emergencies, so knowing what to look out for and what to do when you notice something going wrong is important. Taking the right course of action without delay could save you a lot of money by minimizing the cost of the fix and preventing home damage.

The risks of an emergency

There’s a lot that could go wrong if you don’t adequately prepare for or address an HVAC or plumbing emergency in your home. The risk of property damage often accompanies these malfunctions; water damage, electrical fires, and possibly even structural damage could occur. 

There are also health risks associated with improper plumbing or air unit function. If your heating or cooling system isn’t working, you’ll have much less protection against the bitter cold of winter and the dangerous heat of the summer. And plumbing issues can lead to sewage backups that create unsanitary environments, exacerbating health issues or causing new ones entirely.

What emergencies often boil down to is huge bills for you! When things break, emergency fixes and parts replacements are unavoidable and can add up. Plus, subsequent property damage may not be covered by insurance, especially if improper operation or lack of care and maintenance for the equipment was a factor leading to the emergency.

How to prepare for and minimize emergencies

The single best way to prepare for an emergency and lessen the chance of an unexpected expense at an inopportune time is to have local HVAC or plumbing experts frequently service and update your equipment. Routine HVAC maintenance like the kind we provide will help spot the early signs of a future breakdown and has the added benefit of keeping your system working efficiently and effectively, increasing your family’s comfort while decreasing your energy costs. You can have the various components in your unit refreshed when they reach the end of their peak performance period, its moving parts properly cleaned and lubricated, and your ductwork inspected for any issues.

It’s worth having your plumbing fixtures, pipes and connections inspected routinely as well. Scheduled maintenance will cost much less in the long run than emergency calls and fixes. The aim here is to catch leaks, corrosion, or signs of wear early. Those are signals that the fixtures are starting to degrade and a major breakdown could happen soon.

That said, there are some minor equipment upkeep you can do yourself at home that will help! Be sure to regularly clean or replace your air filters (most filters last at most six months before they should be swapped out), keep outdoor units free of debris, and ensure all vents, registers, and units are unobstructed both inside and outside your home.

You should also inspect your water heater, pipes, faucets, toilets, and other fixtures for leaks. In some cases, you can handle those small leaks yourself if all it calls for is a tightening or a replaced gasket like the one in your toilet tank. Plumbing epoxy or putty can be used as a temporary seal to stop a small leak while you set up an appointment for experts to come out and make a more permanent fix. Monitor the water pressure in your home as well; an unexpected or sustained change warrants professional inspection.

In the case of a flood, electrical emergency, or potential gas leak, know where the shut off valves and switches are located in your home in advance. The main water shut off valve is usually located near your meter or where the main water line reaches your home; turning that off can stop the flow of water to your home so it can’t continue to leak or flood. The same is true for the main gas line valve; turning that off if there’s a gas leak is recommended to prevent more dangerous air from filling your home. And familiarizing yourself with your circuit breaker will help you identify and reset tripped breakers or stop power flow during electrical emergencies.

When to call in a professional

In some cases, it’s obvious when you need a professional like us to come in. If your basement is flooding or your HVAC unit won’t turn on, it’s hard to miss those things. But not all emergencies come with alarms blaring. When we talk about a plumbing or heating emergency, we don’t just mean something catching fire or flooding—we’re simply talking about an issue that needs to be addressed without waiting. 

The signs that you need to bring in an expert are often subtle. For example, if unusual sounds or smells are coming from your system or vents, that could signal a larger problem in its early stages. If some areas of the home are not heating or cooling consistently, there could be a problem with the system’s airflow. If your system is frequently cycling—turning on and off—this often indicates an issue with some component in the system. And if your energy bills are climbing without a change in your usage, that inefficiency is likely a sign that something has broken or is likely to fully break soon.

Similarly, if you experience a sudden drop in your water pressure, discolored or foul-tasting water coming from your faucets, or an odd odor issuing from your tap, call us in. Don’t drink that water—it could be contaminated. Other issue requires professional attention include unusual sewage odors, frozen pipes, or persistent leaks (even if a DIY solution can fix it, if these small leaks keep happening they could turn into larger leaks if the root cause is not addressed).

Do NOT attempt complex repairs yourself! Doing so could make the problem worse or cause entirely new issues; you could also void any warranty on your equipment or make it harder to file an insurance claim if you don’t bring in a professional. And most importantly, attempting to take on these repairs yourself could put you at risk of serious injury or even death.

The best way to prepare for a heating, cooling, or plumbing emergency is to call us and let us provide you with peace of mind! Our professionals are properly licensed and certified to perform the required maintenance, fixes, and installations you need to get your home back to normal. We can assess the problem, fix it quickly, and work with you on any warranties your current equipment has to lessen the financial impact of the emergency.

Don’t hesitate—contact us today. We pride ourselves on taking care of everyone in this community, and that means keeping emergencies at bay as well as providing quick and effective service if they do arrive.