Plumbing Survival Guide, Household Water Leaks

Plumbing Survival Guide: Shielding Yourself from Nightmares

Picture this: You’re hosting a dinner party, and as you’re preparing a feast, you notice a slow but steady drip from beneath the sink. Panic starts as you realize the drip is becoming more of a stream, and you can’t find the source. Frantically, you open cabinets, peer behind cleaning supplies, and move pots and pans to locate the elusive leak. Alas, the shut-off valve has vanished into thin air. Water is now pooling on the floor, threatening your carefully planned evening. Your plumbing survival guild could provide much-needed knowledge on your plumbing system.

You wish you had a better understanding of your plumbing system, wishing you could confidently locate and stop the leak in its tracks. As you fumble through the chaos, you vow to empower yourself with plumbing know-how to prevent future disasters and be the hero of your household in plumbing emergencies. Don’t wait for a plumbing crisis to strike. Embrace the power of knowing your home’s plumbing and appliances. This understanding can be your superhero moment when unexpected issues arise. Be proactive and ready to tackle plumbing problems—become the hero of your household!

Big B's Plumbing - Your Plumber for Life!

The Ultimate Valve Quest: Part of Your Plumbing Survival is to Locate, Identify and Conquer Your Shut-Offs

Let’s start by creating a plumbing survival checklist – basic items you can’t overlook. Remember our earlier topic: get acquainted with your shut-off valves. Knowing their locations and functions is important when facing plumbing issues. For instance, you might need to turn off the water for a simple faucet change or a toilet upgrade. You typically find these valves in the garage, utility areas, or outside walls, often recognizable by their back-and-forth moving handles, commonly called “ball valves.” Some older homes might still have the wheel-type gate valves, often colored red, reminiscent of the rockstars in plumbing’s history.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the specific shut-off points for individual fixtures like sinks, toilets, and appliances. Knowing these can help isolate problems without disrupting the entire water supply to your home.

Water Woes? Learn How to Pinpoint and Stop the Flow of Water

Locating the shut-off valve requires familiarity with your home’s layout. You’ll find it near where the water supply enters your home, usually in the utility room, garage, basement, or an exterior wall. In some cases, it might even be in the crawl space. To identify the shut-off valve, look for a wheel-type gate valve or a lever-style ball valve. The gate valve often appears as a wheel that turns clockwise to shut off water flow, while the ball valve has a lever that you rotate perpendicular to the pipe to stop water flow.

Handy tip: When you’re away on vacation, consider turning off your water to prevent unexpected issues while you’re gone.

Plumbing Tips Find Your Shut Off Valve and Avoid the Plumbing Survival Nightmare

Using Your Water Meter to Halt Water Leaks in Their Tracks

It’s beneficial for homeowners to know about their water meter and how to turn it off. The water meter is like a special gadget that helps track how much water you use in your home. If there’s ever a problem with your plumbing, like a big leak or something that breaks, knowing how to turn off the water using the meter can be super significant. Your plumbing survival will include checking for household water leaks. Many water meters feature a round or triangular dial called a leak indicator. To test for excess water usage, follow this easy technique:

1. Shut off all water sources in your home.

2. Wait for a short while.

3. Examine the dial on your water meter.

4. If it remains stationary, everything is likely okay. If it’s still in motion, there’s a chance you have a water leak that needs attention.

Recognizing Cleanout Access Points: Your Plumbing Survival May Depend on it

Knowing where the cleanouts are in your plumbing system can be a real help. Cleanouts are these access points in your plumbing that make it easier to fix clogs or do maintenance. They’re usually small, round lids or caps, sometimes with a square shape, found along your pipes’ route. These spots act like entry points for plumbers to reach inside the pipes when there’s a blockage or if they need to inspect or clean them. Finding these cleanouts can be a lifesaver if you ever have a clog. They’re often near the main sewer line or where pipes bend or change direction. Knowing their locations can save time and hassle when you or a plumber needs to sort out a blockage or do any maintenance work in your plumbing system.

Do You Know How to Turn Off the Gas? 

Acquiring the expertise to deactivate gas in your home isn’t just a practical skill—it’s a safety measure that can avert plumbing catastrophes. Understanding how to turn off the gas supply might seem daunting. Still, it’s a fundamental aspect of household safety—gas-related issues, whether leaks or appliance malfunctions, can swiftly escalate into major emergencies. Therefore, mastering the art of shutting off the gas supply is akin to holding the key to preventing potential disasters. With this knowledge, you gain confidence and the ability to swiftly respond to situations that could otherwise turn into a plumbing survival nightmare.

Gas Meter

Safely Turning Off Gas: Step-by-Step Meter Deactivation

For those needing to deactivate their gas at the meter, these steps will guide you. However, you can call 911 or your gas company’s HOTLINE if you smell gas. It’s the safest way, but evacuate your home before using any devices.

Locate the Main Gas Valve

Find the main gas valve, you can locate it near the gas meter. You’ll need a crescent wrench. However, Many gas companies permit homeowners to turn off the gas at their meters and even offer safety instructions for doing so.

Prepare for Safety

Ensure proper ventilation and keep all ignition sources away from the valve, flames, or sparks.

Turn Off the Gas

Use a wrench to turn the valve to the closed or “off” position. Rotate the valve until it’s perpendicular to the pipe.

Verify the Shut-Off

Confirm that the valve is fully closed. Double-check by observing any gas-fueled appliances if they cease to function.

Stay Cautious

After turning off the gas, avoid turning it back on yourself. Wait for a professional technician from your gas company to inspect and address any issues before restoring the gas supply.

Following a major disaster, especially events like significant earthquakes, being cautious and making well-informed decisions regarding your home’s gas supply is crucial for your plumbing survival to prevent potential disasters. There are always concerns about the safety of natural gas, which is known for its high flammability and associated risks.

Discover How Gas Safety Practices Can Save You from a Catastrophic Plumbing Nightmare!

We recommend shutting off the gas line service at your meter solely if there are immediate and clear indications of a gas leak. These signs encompass:


While natural gas is odorless, gas companies add a scent called mercaptan, creating a noticeable “rotten egg” or sulfur-like smell during a gas leak.

Visible Gas

Seeing gas escaping from a gas line, valve, or appliance clearly indicates a gas leak requiring immediate attention to avoid a plumbing disaster.


A hissing or rushing sound emanating from a gas line or appliance can serve as an audible indication of a potential gas leak.

If you decide to shut off the gas supply at the meter, it’s crucial to understand the consequences. Only your gas company has the authority and expertise to restore gas service safely and accurately. Shutting off the gas at the meter effectively disconnects your home from the gas supply grid.

Dive into the Plumbing Survival Basics of Your Water Heater

A grasp of your water heater involves skills like lighting the pilot light and regulating temperature settings. Check out this water heater resource for detailed instructions on maintaining it yourself.

A well-maintained water heater can typically endure around ten to fifteen years and sometimes even longer with proper attention. When a water heater, especially one under eight years old, faces problems, repairs are often more suitable than replacements in most cases. It emphasizes the importance of consistent upkeep and timely repairs to extend the life of your water heater.

Get Your Garbage Disposal Back in the Game with These Professional-Grade Reset Tips!

Want to know how to reset your garbage disposal like a pro? First off, gently give that red reset button at the base a soft push. If it doesn’t stay down, don’t sweat it – wait about 10 minutes before giving it another go. And here’s a helpful hint: always ensure cold water is running before flipping the switch to “ON.” These quick and easy steps will have your garbage disposal humming like a bee in no time! But if you’re still having trouble getting it going, don’t hesitate to call the professionals – your friendly neighborhood plumbing contractor has your back.

You can also repair a jammed disposal by putting the appropriate-sized allan wrench in the slot beneath the disposal. The tool is also called a jam buster and comes with your disposal. However, most tools get lost over the years—the tool costs under ten dollars. Insert the tool and move the disposal back and forth; you may need to use some mussels to get your disposal moving again; it’s part of your plumbing survival. 

Safeguard Against Plumbing Issues: Monitor Water Pressure

Water pressure problems can be a real pain in the drain. A few culprits can cause this frustrating issue, such as the dreaded hard water build-up in your pipes, sneaky water leaks, a half-closed shut-off valve, or a pesky malfunctioning pressure regulator. These factors can contribute to that low-pressure drip-drip-drip that can drive us all bonkers.

But fear not, my fellow plumbing enthusiasts! There is an easy way to assess your water pressure and avoid potential disasters. Simply invest in a water pressure gauge, which won’t break the bank at under ten bucks. Attach it to an outdoor spigot, like you’re hooking up a garden hose, turn on the water, and voila! A desirable reading should be around 40-60 pounds per square inch (PSI). You’re in plumbing trouble if your gauge registers at 80 PSI or higher. High water pressure threatens the integrity of your pipes and appliances, so taking early action is advisable before it becomes harder to manage.

A+ Rated California Plumbers: BIG B’s Plumbing

If you need to be made aware of the components of your home’s plumbing system, we won’t judge you based on your lack of knowledge. Instead, we’re here to help! Understanding the ins and outs of your home’s pipes can give you a major advantage. It’ll help detect potential issues early on, saving you from costly repairs. And speaking of professionals, if you live in California and need an expert plumber, look no further than BIG B’s Plumbing. 

With over a decade of experience, we’ve served countless clients throughout the Inland Empire, from Lake Elsinore to Menifee to Temecula to Murrieta and all the surrounding areas. Our track record speaks for itself – we’ve got an A+ rating with The BBB and earned thousands of five-star reviews on Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business, and others. So don’t settle for less – if you require plumbing services, call the trusted team at BIG B’s Plumbing Company.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

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What People Are Saying...

I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
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Vill M

Found them on Google and they had good quality reviews. Made the call and set up the appointment for same day. Dispatch called me a few hours later to confirm our appointment and let me know that the technician Mathew was on the way. This was supposed to be an easy job once Mathew arrived. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Without hesitation or a sour look on his face, he dove deep into his van...
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Jeremy T

Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
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