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Quick-Fixes For Emergencies

Emergencies can, and do, happen at anytime and without warning. This page is intended to provide you with "band-aid" fixes until you can get permanent solutions for the causes of your emergency.

Roof Leaks
No Electricity
No Heat
Pipe Burst
Broken Window
Basement Flooded
Switch or outlet arching or sparking
Electrical Service Panel arching or sparking

Roof Leaks
You can tell you have a leak when you see water stains on the ceiling or an obvious leak. Obviously, roof leaks can lead to serious damage. If your home has an attic you may be able to patch the leak from the inside. Otherwise, you'll have to climb onto the roof. If your roof is steep or wet, do not attempt the repairs.

1) Locate the leak (easier said than done)
2) Fill the hole with roof cement

If the water has built up in the attic, use a nail or a screw driver and punch a series of holes into the ceiling drywall. This will allow the water to drain and thereby reduce the chance that the entire ceiling may collapse.

No Electricity
Before you start playing with the fuse box, verify that your home is receiving electrical service. Do this by making sure your neighbors have electricity. If no brown out is occurring, then check your service panel. Make sure your main fuse or breaker in not blown or tripped. If you are experiencing a partial loss of electricity, check each fuse or breaker individually.

If, after replacing your fuse or tripping your breaker, it blows or trips immediately, then you probably have a bad circuit somewhere in your home. Unplug all appliances, lamps, clocks, phones, etc. and turn off all lights. Replace fuse or reset breaker. If your fuse blows again then you probably have a wiring problem that could be a fire hazard. Leave it alone and contact a professional. Otherwise, plug in each appliance one at a time.

Look for any unsafe signs, (sparks or a frying sound is usually a good indicator) as you plug in each appliance. This should narrow the problem to either a receptacle or a problem with the appliance. If everything is still OK, try switching on the lights. If your lights cause your fuses to blow or breaker to trip call a professional.

No Heat
1. Adjust your thermostat
2. Check heating oil level, if applicable
3. Check fuses, breakers and emergency shut off switches
4. Check pilots for flames or ignition
5. If not resolved, call a professional

Pipe Burst
1. Make sure the water is shut off. If your home has a main water valve, then shut the water off at this point.
2. Using duct tape, wrap the burst pipe securely. Be aware, though, that the pipe will continue to leak until it is properly repaired.
3. Call a professional to schedule a repair job.

Broken Window
If the glass in the window is just cracked, then use tape to keep the glass in place as well as to keep the crack from spreading. However, if the glass is completely out, then cover the open window with plastic. Place cardboard behind the plastic to reinforce it.

Flooded Basement
Go to your main water valve and shut it off. Until you are certain that there are no electrcial hazards, turn off all electrical power supplies. Using a mop, wet/dry vacuum or a water pump, remove all the water from the basement. Assess the damage and make repairs as needed.

Switch or outlet arching or sparking (shooting fire)
Turn off main electrical power. Call electrician or make repairs.

Electrical Service Panel arching or sparking
DO NOT TOUCH! Call an electrician

Hammer Have your own home repair emergency? Visit our forum for some great advice.