A plumbing emergency can be a catastrophic disaster, since water damage can permanently ruin many of your belongings and cause expensive home repairs. So you should know how to call a 24 hour plumber in an emergency, how to determine if you should call an emergency plumber, and what you should do until they arrive.
First things first.
Top Reasons To Call An Emergency Plumber
Not every emergency is a true emergency, and some can wait until the following business day to be resolved. You’ll want to make an assessment based on your needs before calling an emergency plumber. If you can do without hot water for a night, it’s best to wait until the next day to call. Emergency plumbing services should be reserved for true emergencies and often your plumber needs to obtain parts from local supply stores that might not be open.
However, there are times when you need to call a plumber and call one fast!
In Utah, frozen pipes are often the main culprit for burst pipes. A burst pipe will emit hundreds of gallons of water quickly, flooding your home and causing massive damage. You must call your plumber right away to get this resolved. Do not try to fix this issue yourself. Oftentimes, a DIY fix results in more expensive repairs that a professional has to fix.
Flooding or Risk of Flooding
Like burst pipes, flooding damages your home’s infrastructure and ruins belongings and valuables. Some flooding can impact your neighbors, and you may be found liable for any damage caused to them as well.
Extensive water damage from flooding can lead to secondary problems, like mold or electrical shortages which can lead to fire. These are drastic issues and should not be put off until later.
This nasty experience is a major health hazard, since pathogens and bacteria are now in your indoor environment. A sewer backup means you can’t use your bathroom facilities or have running water and is considered a major plumbing emergency.
Sometimes this emergency warrants a call to your public utility company that handles your sewer, especially if the problem is related to a mainline water break, service line break, sewer blockage, or sewer manhole problem. If so, they may offer 24 hour services to fix it. They may pay for repairs or may pay for remediation services.
However, diagnosing the cause of a sewer backup may be difficult without the services of a 24 hour plumber. This is an urgent reason to call us.
Hot Water Heater Outage
Cold, icy water isn’t always fun to bathe in and this may or may not be a true plumbing emergency unless hot water is something you depend upon for medical reasons. Going without hot water for any period of time is uncomfortable, so it’s best to call in a plumber as quickly as possible.
Your hot water heater may need to be replaced, or it may be a simple fix, such as lighting the pilot light.
Clogged Drains or Toilet Overflow
While this may not initially seem like an emergency, you should assess the situation. One clogged drain may not need the services of an emergency plumber, but if several of your drains are clogging at the same time, it may signal a greater problem brewing such as a sewer backup.
In this case, an emergency call to a plumber is important to prevent a more catastrophic situation. With a clogged toilet, it’s best to call an emergency plumber anyways since the water is not sanitary. The bacteria and viruses in a toilet are a health hazard and the problem should be managed by a professional. If you have another toilet in the house you can use in the meantime, however, this may be an emergency that can wait for regular business hours. If not, call us.
On the surface it may not seem like a serious issue, but discolored water should not be used for cooking or drinking. It could be contaminated by a sewer line, a broken pipe, or the pipes themselves may be corroding.
There are some workarounds to this situation so you don’t need to call a plumber in the middle of the night. Have bottled water on hand to use for culinary use, but you should still be able to shower and use the bathroom facilities.
High Water Bill
You might not be able to see the water or the flood, but if your water bill suddenly peaked with no explanation, it’s best to call us right away. That’s a signal that you have flooding going on somewhere and it could be causing extensive damage. We can help diagnose and mitigate this situation.
What Can Wait
Like we said, not all emergencies are emergencies, so if you can do without some comforts until the next business day, it’s best to do so. Here are a few things that can wait.
- Leaky sinks or appliances – turn the water off to the appliance and use another sink in the interim
- A single clogged or running toilet when you have others in the home that still work
- Installation of appliances
- Drain clogs that still drain slowly but are confined to a single area in the home
- Preventative services
- Remodel or building work
What To Ask When You Call A 24 Hour Plumber
Develop a relationship with your plumber before an emergency happens. You’ll have their number on hand quickly and if you have them perform maintenance services, they’ll already be familiar with your system. If the emergency is related to one of their repairs, you may be covered under their warranty.
Give Details and Your Assessment of the Problem
You may be tempted to pick up the phone at the first sign of trouble, but it’s best to do a quick walk-through of your home to determine if there are additional issues you haven’t noticed yet.
Tell your plumber exactly what is going wrong, where the problem is occurring, and if there are any co-occurring incidents. They will be able to give a better estimate over the phone, but will not be able to provide a final estimate until they arrive and do their own assessment.
Check Licensing, Certifications, and Insurance
If you don’t have a previous relationship with a plumber, check the plumber’s credibility online to see reviews and if the plumber is licensed and certified. Often, 24 hour “handyman” services are unlicensed people who really don’t have the expertise to handle a serious plumbing issue.
Also, make sure your plumber is insured. Any professional who enters your home to perform services should be insured to protect you from any damages they may cause to your home or as a result of their services. An insured plumber will warranty their work and the parts they use which can provide you with peace of mind.
Ask About 24 Hour Availability And Emergency Service Rates
When you call a 24 hour emergency plumbing service, you are paying a premium for their immediate attention. Be sure that you receive that attention in a timely fashion and find out what they expect their response and travel time to be.
Ask For Their Regular Rates of Service
You may have a situation that hasn’t veered into true emergency territory, but you’d rather have the problem fixed sooner rather than later. Knowing the difference between the emergency service rates and the regular rates may tell you that the immediacy of the service is well-worth the cost since you will have to pay regular rates anyways.
See If They Will Provide An Estimate
An estimate is just a guess based upon the information you provide. There may be larger issues or expensive repairs that are not immediately apparent. A plumber can only provide an estimate of the service, but that will likely not be the final cost. Describe the scenario the best you can and then ask if the plumber will give you a range of a best-case and worst-case situation as far as cost goes.
Speak Directly With The Plumber
Many 24 hour plumbers have an answering service. Ask to speak to the on-duty plumber before they send them out so you can get an estimate on the cost of service. They can also give you some advice on what to do to mitigate the situation until they arrive, which can save you in additional damages.
Steps You Can Take Until Your Emergency Plumber Arrives
Not all emergencies can be mitigated, but there are a few things you can do while your 24 hour emergency plumber is in transit.
- Turn off your main water valve – If the problem is rising water, flooding, or a burst pipe, then know how to turn off the main water valve into the house.
- Turn off water valves to sinks, toilets, appliances – If the problem is related to an overflowing, constantly running toilet or a flooding sink, then try to turn off the localized valve.
- Move valuables and furniture to a dry area.
- Check with your utility company. Most water companies have a 24 hour emergency line and see if the problem is due to a mainline or sewer problem.
- If the hot water heater has gone out, check the pilot light and also check the breaker box.
Call All Hours 24 Hour Plumbing
Under your emergency numbers for fire, police, and ambulance, have your All Hours Plumbing, Heating & Air number handy just in case you need us. We’re always available so please call us for 24 hour emergency plumbing services.
And remember, you can avoid most plumbing emergencies by scheduling regular maintenance of your system. We’re here to help you out.