There is nothing worse than hearing that dripping sound in the middle of the night pointing out an issue with your plumbing that should be fixed. But it’s hard to know just from the sound alone if you should leave the comfort of your bed and deal with the issue at once, or you could wait until morning.
Most people fail to assess the situation and opt to call for an emergency plumber, not knowing that they may end up spending more money than needed for a simple repair.
So, how do you know whether you have a plumbing emergency or not? Well, you simply ask yourself these 5 questions.
5 Questions to Help Determine a Plumbing Emergency
Do you need to use That Plumbing Right Now?
While some plumbing emergencies like a flooded basement can’t be ignored, many plumbing problems can wait until regular working hours.
A broken toilet or a clogged sink can wait until tomorrow, provided that you can give up on these fixtures until then. So, no matter how inconvenient it is to give up a toilet or a sink, those few hours of waiting will save you the money you’d otherwise spend on account of ”emergency”.
Can You Turn the Fixture Off?
If your issue is a minor leak in the sink or bathtub, this is not a plumbing emergency. The reason being you can shut off the water to that fixture at any time.
Search for a shut-off valve under the sink or behind the toilet. If you can’t ding it, you can always turn off the main water line if you suspect a more significant issue. The main water line valve can be found anywhere near your water meter, usually I’n the lower level of the house.
Similarly, if the leak proves to be a trickle, you can hold it off for a few hours by using tape or rubber bands and any other hardware tool.
What’s the weather like?
Believe it or not, when assessing a plumbing issue, you should always consider the weather outside. On a scorching summer day, not having access to water can constitute a health concern.
Furthermore, water heater issues on colder days also require a professional hand. And if it’s raining for days, call for a professional to determine whether the leak is, in fact, a plumbing issue or structural damage in your home leaking the rain in.
Will The Issue Cause More Damage?
The main problem with the plumbing problems is the amount of water that can suddenly fill your home. However, different issues mean different amounts of water and don’t need to worry about anything above slow dripping.
You can collect the dripping water with the bucket that should last you through the night. But if it doesn’t and you notice the bucked filling up quickly, your best chances are picking up the phone and search for an emergency plumber near me. If you don’t, water can cause quite a mess in your home, soaking your walls, ceiling, and ruining your floor for good.
Are You Responsible for Fixing the Problem?
Issues with the main sewer line, a blocked sewer, and the main water line don’t always happen because you did something wrong. There is the other side of these lines that falls under the obligations of your city.
So, any issue on their part of the line is theirs to fix, even if it’s causing you problems with your plumbing. Try contacting your local water company and see if they are aware of the problem in the public sewer line that is causing your issues. If so, they might send their plumber to fix the problem for free. Sometimes there is a chance a sewer line would require hydro jetting.
What Is a Plumbing Emergency?
- Ruptured Pipe: If at any point you notice one of your pipes is literally spraying water everywhere, turn off the main water valve immediately and move your furniture away from the water. Then, call an emergency plumber.
- Water Heater Failure: A smelly and dripping water heater making strange sounds is a clear sign you need professional help. Traditional water heaters can cause expensive damage, while tankless ones packed with electrical components can become even more dangerous.
- Major Leaks: Any leak from the washing machine, overflowing toilet, and even gas line leak are considered an emergency.
- Sewer Line Backups: If you notice your toilet making gurgling noises or water filling your bathtub when you flush the toilet, it means your sewer line is clogged. A clogged sewer line can end up returning all the wastewater into your home, so it’s safe to say this is one of those plumbing disasters you’d want to avoid. Another sign of sewer system issues is a smell reminding of rotten eggs, usually in lower levels of your home (basement).