Finding Plumbing Issues Early

When To Call An Emergency Plumber

by Chris Bowman

Although most plumbing problems seem like an emergency, very few actually require the immediate services of an after-hours emergency plumber. The following guide can help you decide whether you can wait or whether you need to call the plumber right away.

Sewage Backup

A sewage backup in your home is always an emergency. In most cases, there is little that you can do to stem the flow of sewage coming up in your drains. The raw sewage isn't just gross; it also poses a real health hazard. A plumber can quickly locate the cause of the backup and work to stop it before it destroys your home. Once the plumber fixes the problem, you will need to fully sanitize the area that was exposed to the raw sewage.

Gushing Water

A small leak can usually wait until normal business hours; you can simply place a bucket under it or shut off the water to the affected fixture until the plumber arrives. If you have a large leak, such as water gushing from a supply line, you may need emergency help. First and foremost, see if you can stop the leak simply by turning off the shutoff valve to the affected area. For example, if the leak is in the bathroom, you may be able to handle it temporarily just by shutting off water to that bathroom. If the shutoff valve doesn't stop the gushing or if you must turn off the water to the whole house to stop the problem, then it is time to call an emergency plumber.

Overflowing Toilet

You can generally stop an overflowing toilet by shutting off the water to the toilet tank. You can then clean up the mess on the floor, shut the toilet lid, and ignore it until your plumber's normal business hours. The one exception is if this is the only toilet in your home. In this case, you will need to contact an emergency plumber right away so that you can get your bathroom working again.

Landscape Flooding

Flooding in the landscape typically means one of three things -- a broken sprinkler line, a broken water main, or a broken sewer line. If the issue is a sprinkler line, simply shut off the water supply to the sprinklers until you can schedule a repair. Water main and sewer line breaks are more severe, though, and will only worsen if you wait. In this case, you need to bring in an emergency plumber right away so they can fix the problem quickly.

Contact an emergency plumber if you can't wait for a repair.