Make the most of your emergency service!

It’s good to know that R&B emergency service is there when you really can’t wait.  You’re paying for us to come save the day so read about how to make the most of our visit.

Are you too cold or wet? We’ve got 24-hour emergency service at the ready!


If you can avoid having to make a call altogether, that’s always best. Here are two things to check before you pick up the phone.

  1. Has the wall switch accidentally been turned off?  Sometimes the furnace switches look just like a light switch and can be inadvertently toggled.
  2. If you’ve suffered a recent power outage, a power surge can cause some boilers to need resetting. If you know how to reset your boiler, try doing so and it may very well get you through until a regular service appointment can be scheduled.

When you DO need us, read about how to make the most of your appointment:

  • Know whether you have a furnace or boiler. Boilers typically (but not always) heat water that will heat via radiant baseboards or in-floor heating.  Furnaces blow hot air.
  • Is your water heater on-demand, or a tank?
  • Have the owners / installation manual and service records on hand – remember it should’ve been serviced every year!
  • Note any error codes before you reset anything and write them down for our technicians.
  • Know if the problem is throughout the entire house or just within certain zones
  • Do not try and give all this information to the answering service, save it for the technician when he arrives on site.
  • Do give the answering service the manufacturer’s name and if possible model number of the equipment that needs repair.


If you have water where it shouldn’t be, chances are you’ve got a burst pipe or a failed sump. (See last month’s blog on sump maintenance)

For the most efficient service, if you have a burst pipe, the first thing you should do is turn your water off. You’ll either need to shut off to the fixture or pipe that has failed, isolating just the one that’s leaking, or if you can’t you may have to shut down the entire house.  Knowing where your water shut-off valve is located is a must before an emergency – a lot of water can flow in the time it takes to wait for our emergency service person to arrive and close it for you. If they have to look for the valve, it can take even longer.  So:

Rule 1: Know where your shut off valve is for the house.

Rule 2: Know where your curb stop is.

A curb stop is the valve that will turn off the water between the city connection and your house.  If your home water main valve fails or the break is on your incoming water line, the water can be turned off at the curb (or where the municipal connection joins with yours).  In homes with mature gardens that haven’t had to access these, they can be hard to find.  And while you will be able to call the municipality to come and shut these off for you, looking for them and clearing them of overgrowth or other garden obstacles can take up precious extra time.

Rule 3: Clear the area.

Sump pump failures are a leading cause of flooding.  While there is very little you can do once things get to this stage to get started without us or prevent further damage, ensuring easy access to the area by removing any obstacles can speed up the process.

If your leak is from a water pipe, clear the area or empty out the cupboard where the technician will be working.  These may seem like little time savers, but they add up.  When you’re paying a premium for emergency service, you’ll be glad you did.

Rule 4: Don’t mark the minutes.

Paying extra for emergency service can cause some customers to want to see tools moving every minute.  Diagnostics is part tools & testing, and part thinking & waiting. They might even access a technical manual for your unit online.  This does not mean they are Googling your problem! Your R&B technician is an experienced professional who has completed years of schooling and on the job training as well as manufacturer training and will report to you the minute he has the information for you. The best thing you can do to help solve the problem quickly is to let him or her work.

While we know that having to make a call for emergency plumbing service is never ideal, we hope that by reading this, you have a better understanding of what you can do to minimize the stress of the situation and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the emergency services we provide. Regular maintenance or emergency, R&B Plumbing and Heating has you covered no matter the problem. Need free general plumbing or heating advice?  December is Ask An Expert Month where you can ask your question and look for the answer in our next newsletter.

Happy Holidays from your friends at R&B!