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Creating Your Home Utility Emergency Plan

Most homeowners rely on the comforts of their home utilities. When your HVAC system, electrical wiring, plumbing, and other utilities are running smoothly, it’s easy to take them for granted. When a problem does occur, you’ll want to be able to solve it as quickly as possible. By putting a home utility emergency plan in place that addresses the following issues, you’ll have a shorter downtime when essential systems in your house experience problems.

Keep a List of Contacts

When a problem occurs with one of your utilities, you don’t want to waste precious time looking up phone numbers and comparing companies to find the best service for your needs. Instead, look up reviews and get recommendations for companies and technicians you can trust to take care of repairs before you need them. In addition, note the contact numbers for your utility providers. Your list of emergency utility contacts should include:

  • 24-hour plumber
  • 24-hour HVAC service
  • Water company
  • Gas company
  • Electric company

Post this list in an easily accessible place (such as on the fridge) so you can quickly make a call in an emergency.

Locate Your Utility Controls

If an emergency does occur, you might need to shut off your utilities as quickly as possible to avoid damage to your home or for the safety of your family. That’s why it’s critical to know the locations of each of the following utility controls:

  • Breaker box/electrical fuse box
  • Heating fuel shut-off
  • Main water shut-off
  • Individual shut-off valves for toilets, sinks, and washing machine

Know how to use each of these controls. If any tools are required to operate them, such as a wrench, keep one nearby.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

One of the best ways to avoid sudden problems with your utilities is to have the main systems in your household maintained routinely. By checking for problems regularly and taking steps to improve efficiency, you’ll reduce the risk of more serious breakdowns later on.

Schedule biannual maintenance for your HVAC system to make sure it’s ready for the winter and summer seasons. This is one of the utilities you’ll want to have checked more frequently since it directly affects your comfort at home. Periodically, you might also want to hire a plumber and electrician to inspect the utilities for potential issues. There are also several home maintenance tasks you can handle yourself, such as keeping drains and gutters clear of debris, trimming trees away from the house, and replacing or cleaning air filters.

Set Aside Funds for Repairs

Home repairs can happen at unexpected times, and many are inevitable. Part of being a homeowner is dealing with repairs and replacements as the systems and materials as your home ages. Make sure you’re ready when the time comes by saving money in a fund specifically set aside for home repairs. You’ll be happy when you have money available to pay for a utility emergency rather than having to use credit or dip into other savings.

Don’t let a home utility emergency catch you off guard. Prepare for the unexpected with this list of planning tips.

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