WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF PLUMBING OR ELECTRICAL EMERGENCY
1. If you lost a power or lights in one of circuits in the electrical installation within your property.
That means :
1. The fuse in the fuse-box has blown out; or
2. The miniature circuit breaker (mcb) in the consumer unit has switched off because of overload or short circuit (fault).
1. In the first case you will need to determine which fuse is protecting
the circuit. If fuse-box is small enough and there are only few fuses inside, one for the
lights, one for power, one for shower, then it's simple, no lights, check the 5Amp fuse
(with white mark), no power, check the 30Amp fuse (with blue mark), no shower, check the
40Amp fuse (with red mark) etc. But when installation has more than one lighting, power
circuit, then try to find the notes on the fuse-box or on the fuse cover for the existing
block of fuses, which could be unscrewed with flat small screwdriver on the top side of
The notes could be under the fuses , made with the pencil or pen straight on the plastic or on the square pieces of paper glued to the plastic frame of the box e.g. "Lights", "Lights upstairs", "Power basement", "Ring Main sitting room", "Cooker" etc. When you found the fuse in question, take it out and look inside the ceramic tube with the small window (some times it's just a closed tube). If it's blown out, there will be no wire inside, just the pieces of that wire in the both screws on the ends. Then you need to find proper fuse wire in your property or buy it in the local shop (there are different sizes of wire - for 5A, 30A and 40A), unscrew the remains of old wire and remove them, put new wire inside the ceramic tube and screw both ends to the ends of the fuse body instead of the removed remains. Now push the fuse back into fuse holder (not upside down). Job done.
2. In the second case you find the mcb in question much easier than fuse. All mcb's will be usually in switched on position or handle up. MCB on faulty circuit will be in the OFF position, or handle down. Just put it in the on position or handle up.
If the problem with the fuse or mcb will remain, you need to call an electrician.
2. If you lost all the electricity in your property.
Firstly check your main switch in the fuse-box or consumer unit. It might be possible to
restore electricity with the main switch, pushing it into ON position. If it goes OFF
again, call electrician (or emergency 24/7 electrician outside working hours).
If your main switch is in the ON position and there is no electricity in the property despite that, check with your neighbours, may be they have the same problem, so you better postpone the call to emergency electrician, as it will be costly for you. Firstly you need to call your electricity supplier and talk to them about your problem. It could be common problem on the line outside your property, so electricity usually will be restored shortly.
In case of absence of any problem with the supply, but your neighbours have same problem as you do, then try to solve problem together with them, if they know what is the cause. If not, call your electricity supplier.
In case if supplier has no clue about the problem, get them to sort it out. And if no such problem in the neighbouring properties, perhaps the problem is in your premises electrical installation. In this case call an electrician (or emergency 24/7 electrician) depending on the time of the day - working hours M.-F. or outside.
3. If you have a flood in your property because of the burst mains water pipe.
You need to find the water mains stop cock and close it. Such stop cock should be located inside your property. Under the stairs on the ground floor or in the cupboard, constructed especially for this purpose and often to accommodate electrical intake or/and gas meter (sometimes it's common in old properties). Sometimes it could be even hidden under the floor near the entrance door with the hatch above. In rare cases there will be no hatch, so to stop the water in that case will be impossible. It'll be a bit easier if the floor consist just a floor boards, so they could be lifted with the little help of some tools, but these days people often like to replace floor boards with plywood covered with the real wood floor or ceramic/stone tiles, which you'll need to brake to get under the floor. Or in some cases old stacked stop cock will not operate. Only closing the water mains stop cock outside property could help in this case (located on the street normally), but be careful, if you brake it, you'll be charged by Thames Water or other supply company by substantial sum of money. You have rights to touch only the water pipework after that stop cock on your side as the owner.
After stopping the water or and especially if you could not do that, call emergency plumber straight away.
If you have a leaking water tap, stop water and call a plumber.
NOTE: To stop water which is coming from the water storage you need to operate stop cock, located in utility room or near water storage. It could be cold water storage in the loft, utility room or special cupboard.
4. If you smell gas.
1. Close the gas shut-off valve, which is located next to your gas meter. It could be
outside house in a box on the wall, from which the gas pipe is going into the property. Or it could be inside the property close to entry point of gas pipe - next to the door or under the stairs (sometimes in wicked places, such as inside one of kitchen units close to gas fed oven
2. Do not operate any electrical devices (do not switch them on or off, operation might produce dangerous spark).
3. Do not use open fire.
4. Open windows to clear the air inside the property.
5. Call 0800-111-999 - British national grid emergency phone line - or just 999, or your gas supplier company, you could find their phone number written on your gas bill (and perhaps it's safer to do this using mobile phone from outside a property).