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When is a Plumbing Problem an Emergency?

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Plumbing problems are not always visible or known to a homeowner and are only uncovered in certain situations. Sometimes when renovating your bathroom, plumbers might discover serious problems like a broken plumbing trap, a leak hidden behind a wall, or a severely rusted pipe. Any plumbing problems that are not fixed can lead to major damage and the growth of mold spores. Fix the problems when you find them before they get worse, cause serious damage, and cost a lot of money.

As much as we might not like it, clogs, leaks, and other plumbing issues don’t always happen during regular business hours. They often happen at night or on a weekend when your cost for after-hours service calls will be a lot higher than if you call for service during regular office hours. How can you tell if a problem is serious enough to warrant the cost of an emergency visit?

Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide if the issue can wait to be fixed or if it needs an emergency repair:

  • If your toilet or sink is broken, do you have another one you can use? If the answer is yes, you can wait.
  • Are you able to shut off the water valve for a minor leak? If you can, you can wait.
  • Is water leaking in your basement that you can’t stop? If you can’t stop it, you need to call for emergency repair.
  • Are you pipes frozen and are you concerned they will burst? If yes, you should call a plumber immediately

Burst pipes can cause tremendous damage to your home. If you know or suspect that a pipe has burst you should make an emergency call to a plumber. There are professional plumbers in all areas, even in Dandenong, Australia here: https://www.fixitrightplumbing.com.au/plumber-dandenong/.

How can you tell if one of your pipe bursts? Water seeping out of walls or seeing water flooding into your basement is a clear indicator that a pipe has burst. In addition, if you turn on a faucet in your home and no water comes out, it might indicate a burst pipe too. These are emergency situations that require a call to a plumber immediately.

Dripping Faucets

Dripping faucets can be really annoying. If you let it continue leaking for an extended period of time, you will notice a higher water bill. This is an easy fix for someone who is a little handy. It might be as simple a fix as replacing the washers. If your faucet has been leaking for a long time, it is possible that the valve may be corroded or worn out. In this situation, you might need to call a professional but it is not an emergency situation.

Clogged Sinks

It is very common for hair to collect in your bathroom sink or shower. Even though this can be irritating, it is usually easy enough to fix with common products on the market that are drain cleaners. This does not require an emergency service call.

Gas Leaks

A gas leak can be very dangerous and is a definite emergency situation. A natural gas leak, in particular, can lead to fires and explosions. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so even if you aren’t sure if you have a gas leak, you should still call a plumber immediately.

Running Toilets

Simply jiggling the handle of a running toilet will often fix it temporarily. If it continues or happens more often, you can also replace some parts of the flushing system. Toilets often keep running when:

  • The flapper valve no longer fits correctly
  • The float is not balanced
  • The fill tube might have come loose

There will be times when the toilet is running for different and more complex reasons. If you try the simple fixes and it doesn’t work, you should probably call a professional plumber, but it is usually not an emergency situation.

Minimize the Damage While Waiting for the Plumber to Arrive

A few things you can do while waiting for a plumber to arrive are:

  • Make sure you know how to turn off your water heater
  • Know where the main water shut-off valve is located so you can turn the water off
  • Cover a crack in the pipe with duct tape as a temporary solution as you wait for the plumber to arrive
  • Keep a plunger handy to unclog toilets

Plumbing problems are always aggravating and often inconvenient. It is important for you to have a general idea when you need to make that emergency service call.


John Miller is a home improvement and design expert who loves sharing what he has learned throughout his career on various online media and websites.

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