Evidence in your home that suggests a leaky pipe shouldn't be ignored. Immediately upon realizing that you're dealing with this problem, it's a good idea to call a plumber — this is even true if you notice the issue outside of business hours, as many plumbers are available 24 hours a day. After you make this phone call, there are a number of things that you can do to minimize the risk of damage to your home. Here are some steps that you should take.
Collect the Water
One of the challenges of dealing with a leaky pipe is that it can be hidden from sight between the floors of your home. When this is the case, the usual symptom will be a water mark on your ceiling and even a drip of water from the ceiling. When you notice this problem, respond quickly by collecting the water — you might even wish to do so before calling the plumber. Gather the largest bucket or tub that you can find and put it directly in the path of the dripping water. Keep an eye on the water level in the receptacle, as you may need to dump it out at some point.
Identify the Likely Culprit
If the water is leaking at a considerable rate, it's a good idea to shut off your home's main water supply valve immediately. This will prevent more water from flowing into your pipes and through the leak. The downside to shutting off the main water supply is that you won't have water from any of your fixtures. Another idea is to try to identify the likely culprit of the leak. Visually inspect each of your plumbing fixtures near the leak; for example, if the water is dripping from the ceiling directly under an upstairs bathroom sink, you can likely shut off the sink's water supply instead of the whole house's supply.
Deal with the Damage
Once you've called a plumber, positioned a receptacle to collect the dripping water, and turned off the water supply, it's time to deal with any visible damage that the water has caused. Use towels and a mop to soak up any water pooled on the floor, and consider moving furniture or decor items that have either become wet or could become wet due to the standing water. Open the windows in the affected room to allow the air to aid in the drying process and consider plugging in a dehumidifier to help soak up the moisture.
For more tips on dealing with a surprise leak, talk to a plumbing contractor like Thompson Plumbing & Pump Service Inc.