It’s not always clear when you need to call an emergency plumber. When water is flowing from your ceiling or you’re up to your knees in it, it’s pretty obvious you’re in an emergency situation. Other times, you could have a plumbing situation going on but it might not look like an emergency until it is too late. It’s always better to be prepared when in an emergency situation. Find out when you need to call an emergency plumber and the best way to get in touch with one.
What is an Emergency Plumber?
Much like the name suggests, an emergency plumber is a plumber that is equipped to help you in an urgent or emergency situation. Water can quickly and drastically damage a home, so it’s important to call an emergency plumber as soon as possible when you’re in an urgent situation. For best results, it’s a good idea to have a list of emergency contacts on hand so you know who to call when disaster strikes.
When To Call an Emergency Plumber
Knowing when you need to call an emergency plumber means you need to know what an emergency looks like. A plumbing emergency can best be defined as a situation where you find water damage with an undefined source. You do not need to be underwater to qualify for an emergency. Here are 7 times that you should call an emergency plumber.
Rushing water with or without an immediate source is most definitely a plumbing emergency. Flooding can happen for a number of reasons. Usually it’s the result of a burst pipe, clogged sink or toilet, or similar issue. The biggest problem you will face is the damage that can be done to your home while its flooding. Not having a pro come out to solve the problem will result in more water damage to your home and the potential for it to flood again. If your home is flooding, have an emergency plumber come out to not only stop the flood but to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
2. Burst or Leaking Pipes
One of the common causes for house flooding is a burst or leaking pipe. Whether it causes a flood or not, a burst pipe is a job for an emergency plumber. Before you call your emergency plumber, immediately turn off the water in your home via the main shut-off valve. This will help lessen the water damage to your home. If water saturates drywall or flooring, it can cause irreversible damage, so it’s important you act quickly and call an emergency plumber. They will be able to locate the defective pipes, repair or replace them, and check the rest of your plumbing for any further issues or damages.
3. Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are common in Canada with our harsh winters. When below freezing temperatures hit, the water inside pipes on the outside of our homes freezes. As the water turns to ice, the pipe can burst as a result of the expansion. Frozen pipes can cause water to stop flowing inside our homes meaning you cannot flush your toilet, take a shower or even have a glass of water. If your pipes are frozen it’s important you call an emergency plumber and do not try to thaw the pipes yourself. This could result in further damage to your pipes and home, so it’s always best to call in the pros.
4. Overflowing Toilet
A clogged toilet is one thing. An overflowing toilet is an emergency. To ensure you get this potentially messy situation taken care of as soon as possible, you will need to call an emergency plumber. The cause of your overflowing toilet could be something simple or it could be more significant plumbing issues. While you wait for your plumber to arrive, be sure to shut off the water on the toilet and tell anyone else in your house to avoid flushing it as this will only make things worse.
5. Sewage Smells
If you notice an unpleasant smell to your water when you turn on a faucet, this is a cause for concern. A sewage smell means there is probably something wrong with your sump pump, septic system or other plumbing. If your sewer is backing up it’s only a matter of time before the excess water finds its way into your home. If this happens, you will not be able to use your toilet, sinks or showers until the sewer line is fixed. Be sure to call an emergency plumber to deal with these issues. Do not attempt to fix it yourself as doing so can be very hazardous to your health.
6. Clogged Drain
Drains are used daily and as a result, they often get clogged from grease and food scraps. While a clogged drain may not seem like a big deal, it can turn into an emergency if not addressed. When your drain begins draining water slowly or not at all, you should call a regular plumber to address the situation before it gets worse. If you wait and notice your drain starts to back up and water starts filling your sink, you need to contact an emergency plumber. This could be the sign of a sewage backup or other larger problem.
7. Hot Water Heater Issues
If you notice a leak in your hot water heater, you could have an emergency on your hands. First, check the drip pan to confirm the leak is coming from your water heater. If it’s empty, you can call a regular plumber to come take a look. If you discover the leak is coming from your unit, immediately shut off the cold water line (there is usually a large valve above or on the side of your heater). Then, turn off the water to your home and turn off the heater itself.
The biggest issue with a leaking water heater is that there is no way to contain that much water. You could have a huge mess on your hands if the leak is not addressed. This is why you need to call an emergency plumber as soon as you notice the issue. In addition to a potential flood, a broken hot water heater means you will only be able to take cold showers and wash your dishes in cold water. An emergency plumber will be able to fix your unit and get the hot water flowing again.
Steps to Take in a Plumbing Emergency
It’s normal to panic in an emergency. That’s why being prepared ahead of time will help you take action and minimize damage to your home. We recommend having an emergency plumber’s contact info ready to go, so you don’t have to search for one while simultaneously dealing with a flood. Take the time now to research companies and write down a couple of phone numbers so you’re prepared should anything ever happen. Once you have a phone number, follow the below steps if you’re in a plumbing emergency.
Step 1: Shut off the water – The best thing you can do in a plumbing emergency is to stop the water supply. Note that most water valves need to be turned clockwise to shut them off.
Step 2: Call a pro – Once the water is shut off, call the pro you’ve already selected and let them know about your emergency. They will be able to tell you what to do next, including any steps possible to help the problem before they get there. If they tell you to leave your home due danger, be sure to listen and go to a neighbours’ home and wait for their arrival.
Step 3: Turn off water heater – This step only applies if you have a water heater and are experiencing a major emergency. Turn off your water heater to help prevent damage to the unit, including overheating and bursting. If you have a gas water heater, be sure to shut off the gas first.
Step 4: Address small leaks – If you can identify small leaks that are not too dangerous, you can put old towels and buckets near them to help with any further water damage. Take note of the spots with leaks and be sure to tell your plumber about them when they arrive.
Prevention is always the first step in protecting your home. Now that you know about the different plumbing emergencies that could happen in your home, you need to be prepared for them. Take the time now to browse HomeStars for plumbing companies in your area. Write down a couple of different phone numbers and keep them in your contacts in case of emergencies. Hopefully, you’ll never have to contact them, but in case you do, you’ll be prepared.