Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Plumbing 101: FIRST, Locate the Water Shut-off Valve

Draining a tank seems simple, but accidents can happen.

Today in the office, all heck broke loose. This morning, management decided to remove an old 1,000-gallon water tank (full of water) from the roof of our 100-year-old building.

Step 1: Drain the tank.
The contractor opened the valve to drain the tank into the rooftop floor drain. The tank drained. And drained. And drained some more.  The outbound water appeared to be in endless supply.

When the office workers on floors 1, 2, and 3 began to notice water was spewing up  from their respective floor drains, a faint voice down the corridor was heard to say “Houston, we have a problem.”

By the time lunch rolled around, all 6 floors of our building were catastrophically flooded.  It was a big, costly mess.

Step 2:  Identify the points of failure.
There were multiple points of failure on this seemingly simple job.

  • Neither management nor the contractor had a good grasp of the tank’s original use, which led to….
  • …a misplaced assumption that the tank was only “storing” water.
  • In reality, the tank was being “supplied” with water through a 4” water supply line.  As fast as the tank was draining, the water supply line was automatically refilling it.
  • Blueprints of the building’s piping were not immediately available, which led to…
  • …an inability to locate the water intake valve (a. k. a, the “shut off valve”).

Step 3:  Dry up the water + repair the damage
For the next 24-48 hours, our building is covered in commercial dehumidifiers and yellow “Caution” tape.  Every electrical/wiring closet is under constant monitoring (electricity, computers/servers and water are a bad combination). Carpets will need to be cleaned and/or replaced and the development of mold is now a concern.  The Flood of 2017 will be a water-cooler topic for months to come.

Water You Waiting For?  Before undertaking a seemingly simple water project, call a reliable plumber for a quick inspection.  An ounce of prevention is worth thousands of dollars in damage repair and insurance headaches.  Call Ray today, he’s terrific on the phone  (513-396-5300).  He and his team of professionals are available 24/7.  Visit our Deals! page for money-saving coupons (  Call today at (513) 396-5300, or Contact us to obtain a free quote on your plumbing project. From high pressure water jet cleanings to toilet, sink, or garbage disposal repair and installation, Ray’s team is top-notch.  We always come highly recommended and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for our expert quality of service.