How to: deal with 4 common home emergencies

There are a few problems every home owner dreads, but there's no need to hit the panic button if they happen to you.

Step one: call an emergency tradie. Then, while you're waiting for them to arrive, take a few steps to stay safe and reduce the chance of permanent damage.

1. Leaking roof

Try to pinpoint the source of the leak, and use a container to collect the water.

Next, remove all nearby electrical appliances and switch all general power outlets off until the leak has been resolved. To avoid permanent damage to furniture and soft furnishings, move them out of the way or, if they are too heavy, cover them with plastic sheeting and towels.

When the professional roof repairer arrives, they can repair the roof to prevent ongoing damage and give you an assessment of the overall condition of your roof to help prevent future leaks.

2. Broken hot water system

No hot water, strange smells or leaks could mean your hot water system is broken.

After you've called an emergency plumber, turn the water off at the tap by the hot water system. Next, disconnect the electricity by flicking the hot water switch in the fuse box. Finally, open a hot water tap to relieve water pressure in the system.

3. Burst pipe

The two main signs of a burst pipe are an unwanted puddle of water or a dripping sound coming from within a wall cavity or ceiling.

If this has happened to you, firstly move any electrical items safely out of the way. Next, find your water meter and turn the tap off to stop water supply to the whole property. Find your hot water service and turn it off, then turn on both your hot and cold water taps to drain them completely.

When you speak to the licensed plumber, explain the location of the pool or dripping water and let them know of the steps you���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ve taken. They���¢�¯�¿�½�¯�¿�½ll advise you over the phone of any further steps to take.

4. Blocked toilet

It's no surprise that a blocked loo is one of the most feared household emergencies. After all, it's also the most difficult mod con to live without!

While there are lots of things that could be causing the blockage "such as excess toilet paper, foreign objects, or children's toys " the most likely culprit is, well, poo. The most useful thing to have on hand is a sturdy plunger. In most instances, sucking the blockage out is the best way to budge it.

Andrew Anderson for NRMA Emergency Home Assist