Common home emergencies and what to do

2 Mar, 2023

Common home emergencies and what to do

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Whether you are living and managing your own home, or you have housesitters in to care for your property read on. In every home from time to time we experience some common home emergencies. But if it is the first time the incident happens to you it is good to be prepared. Read our article to learn the most common home emergencies and what to do about them.

It may be worth keeping a record of these actions and how you adapt them for your particular home for when housesitters are in charge of your property.

Common home emergencies and how to resolve them quickly

home emergencies
Issues can occur with domestic pipework no matter how new or old the installation

Photo by Abigail Lynn

All homeowners up and down the country take great pride in their property. However, it doesn’t matter how much cleaning and dusting you do to make the interior sparkle, there are home emergencies that can strike, which are completely out of your control.

Whether it’s a burst pipe, pest infestation, or a leaky roof, such emergencies can wreak havoc on your property and cause serious problems. Knowledge is power, so learning about the common types of home emergencies and what to do should you find yourself a victim of one can prevent extensive damage.

Burst and broken pipes

small wooden cabin in the snow
Leaking pipes can have many consequences

Photo by Adriaan Greyling

When the winter months arrive, temperatures can regularly dip below freezing. This means that your pipes are more susceptible to breaking or bursting.  Pipes can freeze up with the water inside solidifying and expanding, causing future issues. If you spot a leak, you must switch off your main water valve. This can normally be found near the boiler. Make sure that you switch it off straight away to prevent costly repairs.

Next, it’s time to call in the professionals.  Seek out a plumber in your local area who can assess your pipes and take action. To prevent pipes from bursting or leaking again, there are several tactics you can try out. These include knowing where your stop tap is and checking to see if it works regularly.

Also, keep your home as warm as possible, even if you’re out. This is because pipes freeze when it’s cold and you can avoid some home emergencies in cold weather.

Overflowing toilet

It’s not a job that any homeowner wants to tackle. But, we’ve all found ourselves with an overflowing toilet once or twice in our lifetime.

There are numerous causes of an overflowing toilet.

Whether something has been flushed down there that should not have been, or perhaps it’s even to do with the size of your stool, whatever has caused the toilet to overflow, you’ll find it will stop running and cause major problems.

To begin, you should switch off the valve found at the back of the toilet near the wall, which will stop the flow. Make sure to mop up any water too, before it causes serious damage. Next, look for issues with the fill tube and float. If you cannot find the root cause of the problem, you should contact a plumber for assistance.

Boiler breakdown

The purpose of a boiler is simple – it keeps you and your loved ones nice and toasty. When it’s freezing cold outside, your home needs to stay warm and cosy. Unfortunately, boilers can breakdown when you least expect it, which can have serious consequences.

There are signs to look out for which could indicate your boiler is malfunctioning. These include leaking water, a strange smell, and delays in heating.

If your boiler is playing up, it’s time to consider getting it fixed or replaced entirely. Obviously, this job is going to cost money. If you’re worried about how to foot the bill and haven’t got the best credit score, you may want to look into a bad credit loan. Sunny explains bad credit loans in detail. They are a broker service who can help you obtain bad credit loan quotes.

Ceiling leaks

Have you looked up at your ceiling and noticed a water leak? If so, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye and think the problem will go away on its own. A ceiling leak could indicate there’s something serious going on in your roof. If your ceiling is dripping, you can temporarily manage water damage by gathering plastic sheets or buckets under the leak.

Next, climb into the loft space to pinpoint the cause of the leak. One of the most common causes of this is a broken pipe.

If you’re unable to establish the cause of the leak, it’s time to call up a roofer. They can look for signs that signal your roof needs repairing. This may include cracked tiles or missing shingles. Water can easily seep into your loft space if your roof isn’t up to scratch. You may find you need to replace the roof altogether.

Gas leak

If your carbon monoxide detector is going off or you simply detect a gas odour in your property, you must vacate the premises immediately and call the National Gas Emergency Service. On your way out of your home, it’s important to leave any windows and doors open. This allows natural gas to vent outdoors.

A professional will visit your property and establish whether you have a gas leak or not. Common signs of a gas leak include the smell of rotten eggs, hissing sounds, dead or dying plants, and air bubbles outside your property. You can also experience physical symptoms such as breathing difficulties, feeling lightheaded, and fatigue. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, so you must take action immediately.

Kitchen fire

Most homeowners use their kitchen space every day. Inevitably, this makes kitchen-related emergencies one of the most common, especially when it comes to house fires. Kitchen fires are normally caused by leaving cooking food unattended, or housing combustibles too near to the heat source.

Steps to take in the event of a kitchen fire include pulling the plug out or switching off power at the fuse box. Other actions include smothering the fire with a fire blanket. If you’re unable to put the fire out, you must dial 999 straight away and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service.

Pest infestation

Mice and rats may look cute and sweet when they’re in a cage. But, it’s a whole other story if you have them roaming around your home uninvited! Pest infestations can occur regardless of where you live. Whether you’re in a major city or in a rural setting, the thought of having such creatures making your home their new territory can be too much to bear.

There are several signs to look out for which could signal a pest infestation. These include droppings, footprints, damage to equipment and property, and nests. If you notice a foul or unusual odour around your home, this could indicate you have unwanted guests too. Getting rid of pests alone can be hard work.

Thankfully, there are experts you can call in, like Simple Pest Management, to do this job and keep rodents well clear of your property.

Power outage

When the lights come back on you may find a surprise or two

Photo From Marwool

Should your power go out, check to see whether nearby properties and streetlights still have power. If their lights are on, check your breakers. During a power cut, you should get in touch with the electricity Distribution Network Operator who covers your area.

You will be advised of steps to follow during a power cut. These include turning off all electrical appliances that should not be left unattended, especially if the power comes back on. Also, leave a light on so you know when the power outage has been sorted out. If the power goes out during the night, make sure to keep yourself warm too.

Final thoughts on how to handle home emergencies

Unfortunately, home emergencies like those above can happen to any of us. Should one strike, taking action immediately is key. And if you have housesitters in place then you need to prepare them too so they can act on your behalf.

If you are travelling away from home for a holiday or extended trip then it is advisable to have someone resident like a housesitter. Housesitters can help to reduce any risks in the event of such emergencies.

While some home emergencies are just a real nuisance, others can be life-threatening. Therefore, being prepared and also knowing what steps to take to protect both your loved ones and your property is vital.

Further reading about housesitters

At we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

Top 10 tips for cat sitting

Dogs body language and how to read it – Top Tips

What is House Sitting?

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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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