What is considered a plumbing emergency?

plumbing and water damage in house

Is a clogged toilet a maintenance emergency?

What is deemed an emergency in any scenario can vary from person to person. For some of us, it could be running out of coffee and for others, it could the DVR didn’t record that football game. Then there are those that the entire house would have to be engulfed in flames before they felt they had an emergency. In this piece today, we’re going to discuss when the right time to call an emergency plumber

We will review what is and isn’t a time to get emergency plumbing help and when a plumbing emergency repair is needed and when something can wait until the next business day. Why would you wait until the next business day if you can get an emergency plumber today? Because plumbers charge overtime. Anything after 5pm and before 8am, on a holiday, or a weekend is considered an emergency and the hourly rate is often doubled or tripled, plus parts. 

If you’re the one that just flushed it and your waste isn’t backing up and overflowing to the floor, yeah, that may be a clogged toilet emergency. In the world of plumbing, no, it is not a reason to call an emergency plumber. Unless there is only one toilet in the house, this could change the outlook. 

Your toilet is no doubt an important part of your home, it gets used every day. When the only toilet in the house is clogged, most of the time, it will unclog itself. Toilets haves a natural system where there is internal pressure in the tank that work with gravity, so in most of the time, it will take care of its own clog. Do not keep flushing it hoping for better results!  Give some time and before long, you’ll hear the toilet flush itself own through, clearing the bowl. 

If you were to call an emergency plumber service, they will likely walk you through some things to try, such as plunging the toilet. If you do not have a plunger, it is worthwhile to make that investment (under $5) and have it on hand.

However, there are times that a clogged toilet doesn’t unclog itself or keeps getting clog after clog.  This could indicate more than a clogged toilet issue, something like the sewer line could be clogged, or even broken. Emergency plumbers will advise homeowners to have a routine of pouring a mixture of one cup baking soda with two cups of vinegar in the toilet bowl. 

The mixture will break down blockages so that they can flush on through to the sewer pipe. If you don’t have those items on hand, you can use two cups of dish liquid which may loosen the blockage and allow it to flush on through. 

However, if none of these steps are working, you definitely need the services of a professional plumber, hopefully you can wait until business hours to avoid that additional cost for overtime for an emergency plumber. A professional plumber will be equipment with the proper tools that get to the source of the clog and get your toilet flowing again. This may require replacing damaged or old pipes, or other types of repairs, like the sewer line. 

Is a leak an emergency?

There are particular signs that make it clear you need an emergency plumber. Such a sign would be if the plumbing problem can cause damage to your home or has placed you and your family in danger. A good rule of thumb is if you can contain the problem can in a bucket or temporarily thwart the problem until an emergency plumber arrives, like the next day, then you do not have an emergency plumbing issue. Some plumbing emergency examples would be: 

  • Damaged or leaking water pipes
  • Hot water not adhering to the water heater settings
  • Bathroom or kitchen sink overflowing 
  • Water heater leaking
  • Sewage backing up in drains, showers, toilets, or tub
  • Water pipes frozen 
  • Water pipes shaking or vibrating
tightening a hose or fitting

What is not an emergency?

Because we depend on our plumbing to be at our beck and call, it can be too easy to go into panic mode when something isn’t working right. Yes, it can be inconvenient, but calling for an emergency plumber can be costly.  

Before you dial that number for an emergency plumber call out to help, ask yourself this question: Does the benefit of an emergency plumber service outweigh the potential expense, or can it wait until normal business hours? Here are some examples that is not a true emergency plumber worthy issue:

  • Your Inconvenienced: If you can use a wrench yourself to temporarily fix the issue, then wait until normal business hours to make that emergency plumber request.
  • A Risk of Danger: Does this plumbing issue pose a risk of danger to you, your family, or your home? If you have a gas leak, sewage waste is coming into your home, or there is cause for concern of a fire or poisonous carbon monoxide, by all means call an emergency plumber service.  
  • Future Development: A plumbing problem may not be putting you or your family at risk right this minute, but if it isn’t taken care of soon, how quick can it become a health or safety issue? Or if your plumbing system becomes unusable at all, don’t wait days to call a plumber. 

How long do emergency plumbers take?

There is no set time frame for an emergency plumber service call because of all the potential problems that they may need to address. For instance, an emergency plumbing and drain problem could be addressed inside the house within an hour. 

However, if the problem is under the house or in the sewer line, this could require digging, trenching, and maybe jackhammering the foundation. Those type of repairs can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. 

Hopefully, our article has clarified for you what should constitute making an emergency plumber call and when it is something that can wait. Calling a plumber for an emergency when it isn’t deemed an emergency upon their arrival isn’t the same as calling 911. If you feel it is an emergency, it is your home and your bank account, by all means, make that call. For your plumbing emergency needs, call (661) 347-4478 today.