Emergency Plumbing 101: Recognizing and Preparing for Crisis Situations

Plumbing issues rarely come at a convenient time. For emergency plumbing needs—like a burst pipe spewing water inside your drywall or a toilet backing up in your bathtub—it’s critical to be able to schedule immediate repair. But sometimes it’s more difficult to determine whether a plumbing problem qualifies as a genuine emergency. Read on for some tips and tricks to ensure you’re prepared the next time you need plumbing help.

What Is Emergency Plumbing?

When talking about “emergency” plumbing situations, there are two kinds: (1) during business hours; and (2) after business hours. If you encounter a plumbing issue during the day, it’s important to call and schedule a repair with your preferred plumbing company as soon as possible. You may even want to build relationships with two different plumbing companies to ensure you can always snag a spot on the schedule even on short notice. 

If you’re experiencing a plumbing issue after-hours, you’ll want to assess the situation before calling the emergency plumbing line. Because no plumbing company is open 24 hours a day, after-hours repairs usually involve an answering service and are far more expensive.

Some plumbing companies that offer after-hour emergency service may charge a minimum fee just to come out, even if the ultimate repair isn’t that expensive. Even if a company doesn’t have a specific minimum-billing policy, since many offer commission-based pay, plumbers may be incentivized to pad the bill. 

Preparing for a Plumbing Emergency

Because of the heightened cost after-hours, these types of plumbing services are best utilized only when waiting until morning just isn’t a realistic option. Fortunately, most plumbing issues can usually be temporarily handled by following a few guidelines. Below, we’ve categorized these guidelines into three main areas of concern: water, sewer, and gas. 

Water: If you don’t already have water shutoffs to your home or building, have your preferred plumber install some. This lets you immediately shut off the water supply if a pipe, toilet, or other appliance is leaking and causing damage. You can then wait until the morning to assess and call for assistance.

Sewer: For sewer emergencies, keep a plunger and a small auger on hand to help you take care of any clogs on your own. Other sewer issues may involve unpleasant odors (or sounds), but they can usually wait until business hours. 

Gas: A faint gas smell generally indicates a small leak. These leaks can seem scary, but they generally don’t require same-day repair. Call your plumbing company first thing the next workday morning to schedule service. If you have anything bigger than a minor leak, the better bet is to contact the gas company to shut off the supply before calling a plumber. 

In Closing

Plumbing issues are often stressful, but they don’t need to be. By using the tips and tricks above, you can help keep even the biggest problems in check until you’re able to have your plumbing company take a look.

At North East Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we don’t offer after-hours service, but our reliable technicians offer limited weekend on-call hours for a one-time fee. Since our technicians aren’t paid on commission, they offer you exactly the repairs you need, with no hidden fees or padded costs. Visit our website to learn more about the services we offer or schedule plumbing service.


Call: 210-658-0111