DIY Plumbing Guide: How to Prepare Your Home for a Water Outage

Proper Preparation is Essential to any DIY Plumbing Project

It may be natural when you are preparing to carry out a DIY home plumbing project that your mind is focused on the precise mechanics of the project itself, rather than subsidiary concerns. You will be calculating what steps are necessary and in which order if the job is to be done in an efficient, timely and effective fashion. While it is important that you approach the project in this way, there are other factors which it is necessary you take in to account. One of those factors is the fact that it is extremely likely you will be required to switch off the household water supply while you undertake the work. Arrangements will consequently have to be put in place in the interim if you are to prevent your water outage becoming a water shortage.

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A notepad and pen should be used to record your water requirements and storage ideas
A notepad and pen should be used to record your water requirements and storage ideas

Establishing Your Home's Likely Water Requirements

When you are planning your water requirements for your home during your plumbing job or project, it is fair to say that some of them will be obvious. There are, however, some ways in which we automatically use water every day without thinking about it and these activities could cause you to be caught short in mid-project. Remember, once the water is off and you have begun the work at hand, it is very likely that turning the water back on again - even briefly - will not be an option before the completion of the job.

Take a few minutes, therefore, to tour your home and ask any other family members present for their input to ensure you do not neglect to take something in to account which may cause you inconvenience at best later in the day. Carry a notepad and pen with you on your tour, jot down your water requirements and chosen storage method in each instance and simply cross them off the list as you take care of each of them in turn.

Watering plants prior to starting your project should take care of them for the duration
Watering plants prior to starting your project should take care of them for the duration

Have You Watered the Plants Today?

If you have plants in your home that need watering on a daily basis, it is a good idea to take care of this before you switch the water off. You should also think about outdoor plants which may also need water and any plants which you have in a greenhouse. Filling up all watering cans is another recommended action, just in case your water is required to be off longer than expected.

Take care of any washing up which remains outstanding
Take care of any washing up which remains outstanding

Have You Done the Washing Up?

Any dishes which are used during your plumbing project should be set aside and taken care of later. You do not want to be wasting valuable stored water washing dishes. It is a good idea, however, to take care of any washing up which is required before you begin, perhaps even in the sense that it may be in your way while you are working and prove to be an inconvenience you just don't need.

Washing machines and similar appliances should be emptied prior to starting a DIY plumbing job
Washing machines and similar appliances should be emptied prior to starting a DIY plumbing job

Electrical Appliances which Use Water

It is likely that you will have some appliances in your home which use water in their normal operation. Examples of these appliances would be washing machines and dishwashers. It may seem obvious that these appliances should not be used while you undertake your plumbing project but it is also important to ensure they are emptied before you begin. Especially where your plumbing project will affect the normal drainage of these machines, it is not a good idea to undertake your work while they are full of water. You may also want to consider ensuring the power cable for the machines is unplugged.

Large soup pots hold a lot of water for drinking purposes
Large soup pots hold a lot of water for drinking purposes
Empty plastic drinks bottles can be washed out and filled with drinking water
Empty plastic drinks bottles can be washed out and filled with drinking water

Fresh Drinking Water Should be Stored in Abundance

The likely duration of your project will determine how much water you will be required to store beforehand, in all respects. You should remember, however, that things can happen which cause a plumbing job to take considerably longer than anticipated. It is vital therefore that you ensure you store plenty of water which is safe for drinking purposes before you switch off the water supply. Empty plastic drinks bottles and even large soup pots can be used for this purpose. Do rinse out the plastic bottles in the first instance and ensure that any pots which are used for this purpose are covered with their lid.

You may wish to consider purchasing bottled water for use while the water supply is off but this is an expense which you really don't need and in most instances should be unnecessary.

Pets need water too while you are working on your plumbing project
Pets need water too while you are working on your plumbing project

Don't Forget your Four Legged Friend!

It may not just be human members of the household who will require drinking water during the period of your plumbing work. Dogs, cats and other animals will also require clean, fresh drinking water. Fill your pets' drinking bowls with fresh water prior to switching the water off and be sure to take their requirements in to account when calculating how much fresh drinking water you are going to be required to store.

Cooking anything which requires boiling or poaching in the middle of a home plumbing job is an unnecessary waste of water
Cooking anything which requires boiling or poaching in the middle of a home plumbing job is an unnecessary waste of water

Plan the Family Menu to Comply with a Water Outage

It is amazing how much water we often use for cooking, aside from that required for the washing up. If one or more meals is going to be prepared in your home during your plumbing work, try to ensure the menu is planned not to include boiled, poached or steamed components. The simple act of boiling potatoes can use up a lot of water which could later be required for drinking purposes.

Filling the bath tub with water allows for manual toilet flushing and limited washing facilities
Filling the bathtub with water allows for manual toilet flushing and limited washing facilities

What's Your Bath Tub Doing During Your Plumbing Work?

If the plumbing job you are undertaking is in your bathroom, this option will clearly not apply. If, however, the only affect on your bathroom will be the water outage, fill up your bath tub with cold water to be used as a makeshift toilet flusher. Place an empty bucket in the bathroom and when the toilet is used, pouring a bucket of water in to the bowl does exactly the same job as your flush system. It is amazing how many toilet flushes you can achieve from a bath tub full of water!

Can you think of anything else which should be done prior to starting a DIY plumbing project?

Thank you for taking the time to read through this page and I hope you have found it useful. If you can think of anything else which should be attended to in relation to water requirements prior to starting a DIY home plumbing job, feel free to share the details with other readers in the space immediately below.

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9 comments

Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks very much, Steph. Nice to see you around.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Awesome work, Gordon!! Although I don't visit HubPages as often as I would like, I can always rely on you for excellent, well-written and informative articles. Rated this one up as useful. I hope that people looking to prepare for a water outage will find your great tips very useful. Best, Steph


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

@ Paradise7 - Thank you Paradise7. I am glad you think these tips were useful and definitely hoped that would be the case. Hopefully, you won't need them - but if you do, I hope they make an unpleasant experience easier for you. :)

@ K9 - Ah, K9, you make this Scotsman blush, my friend - and that's not easy! Thank you for the visit and comment and I am grateful for your expert approval! Your proven expertise on this subject is amazing! :)


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

Gordon you never disappoint me. This is spectacular and a well deserved win offered by the HP staff indeed! I think this hub is spot on when it comes to being prepared for plumbing projects. Planning around the project makes such perfect sense, and the "flushing" consideration you offer is stunningly brilliant in its simplicity! We so often forget to plan for the most important, yet taken for granted necessities of our water rich lives. Thanks for a unique and useful Plumbing Guide. Once again I find myself well impressed with your work.

HubHugs my friend!

K9


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

Definitely useful and something most of the other people writing about plumbing topics didn't think of. Thanks!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks, Simone. It seems you are perfectly placed to know the possible consequences of failing to plan properly in this way! :)


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Yeah, this is seriously useful! I lived in some housing that had several water outages and since I didn't prepare properly, I was seriously inconvenienced. I'm glad you've made this guide, but I only wish that I had known these common sense things earlier, hehee +_+


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thanks, Robin. I'm glad you liked it. The bath tub tip is definitely one that should be followed where possible :)


Robin profile image

Robin 5 years ago from San Francisco

This is a great guide! I have never thought of filling up the bathtub to use for toilet flushings, very smart! Thanks, Gordon!

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