What Is a Plumbing Emergency?

August 12th, 2020

Knowing whether or not your plumbing problem is an emergency or whether it can wait isn’t always easy to figure out. And as funny as those movie scenes with bathtubs falling through the ceiling are, it’s a situation you never want to find yourself in!

Water that isn’t flowing properly or in the right direction, even a trickle, can cause significant damage to a home before you realize the problem was serious. For this reason, emergency plumbing services are available 24-7 year round to answer calls from homeowners who need immediate or after hours service. These emergency on-call services come at a premium cost, however, and homeowners certainly don’t want to pay extra for emergency service if the problem could have waited until their plumber was back on duty during regular business hours.

Do I need emergency plumbing services or it can wait?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help decide whether or not you should call an emergency plumbing service or whether you can wait for regular business hours for a plumber:

1. Is the plumbing problem actually yours?
As simple as it sounds, the first question you should ask yourself once you have identified a plumbing issue in your home is “is this my problem?” Water in your basement could be coming from a neighbour’s house or a broken municipal line on the street. A leaking water heater might be rented and have a maintenance number to call.

Of course any water damage in your home will need to be dealt with right away, but before calling in an emergency plumber, make sure that you are the one responsible to cover the expense. If it is not your responsibility to pay for the problem, contact those who are immediately so that the source of your water damage can be stopped and cleaned up as soon as possible.

2. Is it actually a plumbing problem?
Another obvious but often overlooked question to ask when you find unwanted water in your home is “Is this really a plumbing issue?” A soggy carpet or water marks on the ceiling doesn’t necessarily mean you have leaky plumbing.

Believe it or not,we’ve been called to homes just to discover the source of soggy ceiling drywall came from an unsealed water bottle in a school bag that leaked through the foyer floor. If you find water in a place it shouldn’t be, take a breath and do a little super sleuthing yourself before dialing for a premium emergency plumbing visit. (But rest assured, even in these situations, we don’t judge and are just as relieved as the homeowner that there isn’t a serious issue!)

3. Can the water overflow be stopped?
The most common reason to call a plumber for an emergency plumbing call during off hours late at night or on a weekend is overflowing water. If you can quickly identify the source of the water and are able to turn off the water supply to effectively stop the overflow from getting worse, you might be able to wait for regular business hours to make an appointment with a plumber.

It is still a good idea to check with the emergency plumbing service to get their advice about the urgency of the situation because blocking water flow can cause too much pressure and result in a burst pipe and further problems.

Common valves to shut include:
• toilet valves – located below your toilet on the small pipe that supplies water to your toilet tank
• sink valves – located under the sink on the pipe that supplies water to the faucet
• hot water tank – located at the top of your hot water tank on the pipe that supplies water to the tank
• main water valve – this valve is often located in the basement near your indoor water meter and is responsible for the flow of water from the municipal water supply into your home. Don’t forget to look under the stairs if you’re having difficulty finding it!

4. Can your plumbing problem wait?
If you have stopped the overflow of water and are confident that you aren’t causing a dangerous back-up of pressure, ask yourself whether or not you need to have access to that water supply right away or if you can wait to call the plumber during regular business hours.
• Do you have a different toilet that you can use after closing the valve on the one that is leaking?
• Can you use a different sink if one has a leaking pipe and has been turned off?
• Do you need hot water from your hot water tank or can you heat the water for dishes and washing for a few days?
While we are used to the luxury of immediate hot and cold water in our homes, be sure to weigh your own limits when it comes to cost vs. comfort for minor plumbing issues.

That being said, if it is a cold winter day and you have NO water coming into your house, don’t wait it out. Frozen pipes need to be dealt with by professionals and won’t resolve themselves when the weather warms up.

When in doubt, never hesitate to contact the plumbing specialists here at Plomberie Richard et Fils. We are always happy to answer your questions and provide you with a quote.

We offer a 24/7 emergency system

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