It’s a law of nature and of home-owning: whatever can go wrong, eventually will. With a bit of preparedness and forethought, though, damage from household mishaps needn’t be disastrous. Here are 5 crises that commonly arise, and a few thoughts on how to handle them.
Whether it’s a broken radiator or a rusted-out drain outflow, a burst pipe can cause a lot of trouble in a short period of time. If water is gushing, close the valve closest to the link first, then shut off the main water valve into the house. Once you’ve turned off the main water supply, reopen the smaller valve and slowly drain any remaining water into buckets.
During a power outage, the safest course is to disconnect all appliances and electronics. That way, you’ll avoid damage from power surges when the juice returns to your home. Take great care using candles for illumination, exercising proper fire safety, and be sure to stock up on batteries and flashlights.
If your carbon monoxide detector sounds or you simply detect a gas odour, evacuate the house immediately. Once you’ve relocated to a safe location, call the gas company’s 24-hour helpline and ask them to send a technician to check your home for leaks.
Before you charge into a flooded basement to rescue your belongings, be safe. Turn off the circuit breaker to the house (or, if you can’t reach the circuit box, call your utility and ask them to do it for you). Wear thick waterproof boots and gloves to protect against toxic elements in the floodwater.
For patching a roof battered by storm damage, tarps nailed down with wood strips are the quickest and easiest fix. Just be sure to let any weather pass and take all precautions before climbing up—or even better, call a professional to do it for you, then arrange for more permanent patch-ups to happen as quickly as possible.