Are you living on your own for the first time? Have you been researching everything that you'll need to do now that you're renting or owning a place of your very own? If you're renting, the landlord may want you to call him or her if there are any plumbing issues that crop up, such as with a clogged toilet. But sometimes the landlord or property manager can't be reached or you're the homeowner and have nobody to turn to. For these reasons, it's a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of how to handle plumbing situations. Fortunately, the basics are not difficult and you should have a good understanding in practically no time at all. Some things you'll need to do now include the following.
Find and test shut-off valves: If you're living in a single-family home, you'll have a single shut-off valve outside and then each individual fixture is also going to have its own shut-off valve. Regardless of which situation you are in, it's a good idea to locate and test each shut-off valve. If something breaks or overflows, being able to turn off the water to that area while waiting for the plumber can mean the difference between a messy but doable cleanup and a flooded home that needs professional assistance to remedy.
Have a list of emergency numbers: When renting, your first call should almost always be to your landlord or property manager to notify them of the situation. Should it be an emergency, you'd of course dial 911 instead. But if you can't get in touch with anyone or the home is owned by you then you should have the number of a plumber or two in the area. Since some plumbers don't handle emergency calls and some plumbers specialize in things like HVAC systems or water heaters/boilers, it's a good idea to have multiple numbers at the ready to be able to handle whatever comes up.
Prepare cleaning supplies: For things like overflowing toilets or burst pipes, a handful of paper towels just isn't going to cut it. Even if you prefer using a stick mop with a cloth wipe on the end, it's a good idea to have a regular mop and bucket just in case. You may also want to keep a few dirty or worn-out towels on hand as well. While he or she won't do it on purpose, a plumber can wind up tracking dirty water through your home if you don't take steps to prevent that from happening.