Is a clogged drain an emergency?

kitchen sink with a clogged drain

Identifying Plumbing Emergencies

Today, we take indoor plumbing in our homes for granted, but even by 1940, only half of the homes had indoor plumbing. By today’s expectations and standards, we must wonder what and when homeowners determined they had a need for emergency plumbing repair. The plumbing emergency examples of today are probably different than they were in 1940.

Plumbing emergency examples of today would be any of the following: 

  • A flooding risk because of a busted pipe, failed sump pump, a backed-up sewer line, or a broken shut-off valve can all create an emergency plumbing repair need. Flood damage can leave a home at a safety risk and structural damage risk if left unattended. 
  • A sewer backup can create a health hazard for incoming water even though the sewer line is for outgoing. When the sewer line is backed up, it can crossover to the incoming and contaminate the water source making it an emergency plumbing repair job needed. 
  • Not having any running water can be a safety issue because you cannot bathe, cook, clean, or use the facilities without running water, making it feasible for emergency plumbing repairs. 
  • Busted water pipe risk facilitates emergency plumbing repair for frozen pipes, faucets, and/or spigots. These frozen components can burst when the frozen water expands, and the pipes crack. Then as the water thaws, the water will flow from the cracks, putting your home at flood risk inside and outside. 

Is a small leak an emergency?

No, but it shouldn’t be forgotten or ignored either. Over time, a small leak can cause a lot of structural damage in addition to increasing the water bill. If you’re unable to do your own repair, wait for a business day during normal business hours to call a plumber if none of the above descriptions fit the situation. Save your money for emergency plumbing repair phone calls for an actual emergency.

Do plumbers come at night?

Yes, there are plumbers that offer 24/7 service calls, including in the middle of the night, on a holiday, or on a weekend. They will assess the issue and problem you’re having and either provide a permanent fix or temporary fix if they need additional parts not available at that time. An experienced plumber will offer advice and suggestions on how to avoid the issue or problem again along with advice hot to clean up any water in the aftermath of the emergency plumbing repair. 

How long does it take for an emergency plumber to come out?

It can vary based on where you live, the surrounding area, and how many other emergency plumbing repair service calls they have ahead of yours. Most emergency plumbers arrive within 30 minutes, but it can take up to 2 hours. 

Should I call a plumber for a running toilet?

Well, that depends on how handy you are with basic tools and the understanding of the tank’s internal parts. There are many different moving parts inside the tank and several problems can happen. The following are issues best left to a professional plumber but keep in mind, that the rates for emergency plumbers will be as much as three times their normal rates. If the problem can wait till a business day during business hours, you should: 

Water Around the Toilet Base: If water is accumulating around the base, mop it up and then leave some paper towels there to see if any more water leaks. If the front of the toilet stays try, but water is behind it, check the connections and make sure they are tight. If there is still water leaking from the base, the wax ring needs to be replaced and while it isn’t an emergency plumbing repair, it should be replaced by a plumber. 

Running Water: If the water keeps running inside the tank or the bowl after a flush, it is probably the tank ball not setting on the valve seal correctly. This is often something you can adjust yourself, but if that doesn’t stop the running water, call a plumber. 

close-up of an overflowing kitchen sink with a clogged drain

Closing Advice 

As a homeowner, it is important for the stability of your home that you know ahead of time, how to find an emergency plumber and when to call an emergency plumber. By scheduling routine plumbing maintenance with a plumber, you can have their number on your speed dial and not be in a panic to find a plumber for your emergency plumbing repairs. 

It is also important that you know what to do in a plumbing emergency, starting by knowing where the main water shut-off is located and having access to that valve. When you have a toilet or sink overflowing, knowing where and how to shut the water off is key to minimizing the damage that flooding can cause.