When to Call a Plumber: 11 Signs of Plumbing Emergencies

May 11, 2023

What is a plumbing emergency, exactly? 

Plumbing emergencies include any plumbing situation that causes ongoing damage to your home or leaves you without the water service you need for everyday tasks. While most plumbing emergencies seem to occur without warning, several small signs can appear over time to warn you of impending issues. 

Understanding these signs of when to call a plumber can help you prevent some of the worst plumbing emergencies, like water leaks, sewer and toilet backups, or frozen pipes. Knowing the most common signs that your home is headed for a plumbing emergency can prompt you to take action before the situation grows out of control.

11 Reasons to Call a Plumber

Here are 11 reasons to call a plumber, each reason is a sign that you’re about to have a plumbing emergency:

  1. Burst Pipe

This common emergency can cause large amounts of water to flood your home, causing damage to its infrastructure and your valuables. It is imperative to contact a 24-hour plumber like YES! to make repairs immediately if you experience a burst pipe. 

While you are waiting for the plumber to arrive, you can minimize the damage as much as possible by turning off your main water supply and removing valuables from the area of the flooding. Keep in mind that you may need further repairs after your plumber fixes your pipe, (such as water remediation services) depending on the amount of damage.

Where Is My Home’s Main Water Valve?

In the event of a plumbing emergency, one of the most important tips to know is how to shut off your home’s main water valve. Knowing where the main water shutoff valve is located can help save you from a major plumbing disaster, and help buy extra time until a plumber arrives.

  1. No Water 

An obvious time to call a plumber is when you have no water at all. Not only is it an emergency for you personally, but the lack of water can be a sign of frozen pipes (depending on the weather), an undetected leak, or unknown clogs.

If you’re experiencing this problem, the best move is to call YES! at 844-216-9300. Not only so you can have access to water and normal daily life, but to catch bigger problems before they cause damage. 

  1. Drop in Water Pressure

If the water pressure in your home has dropped without explanation, it might be due to leaky pipes. Over time, copper plumbing pipes are prone to pinhole leaks caused by the minerals in your home’s water. 

While these leaks may not cause obvious signs of water damage that are visible in your home, water loss due to several small leaks can rob your fixtures of the water pressure you’re expecting. Especially if the problem has grown worse over time or you know that your home’s plumbing is several decades old, it’s time to contact a plumber regarding low water pressure. If weakened or leaky pipes are allowed to remain in place without repair, it can lead to larger leaks and broken pipes that require an emergency plumber to address.

  1. Clogged Drains

In some cases, a clogged drain can be easily fixed with a plunger. However, if you have a drain that is backing up and water begins to rise, call an emergency plumber before you have a flooding incident. 

Another reason to call a plumber quickly is if you have multiple drains that are clogged, especially drains that don’t get much use. This can be a sign that you have a clog in your sewer system that could cause significant damage if it is not addressed quickly.

Should You Call a Plumber for a Clogged Sink?

Calling a plumber for a clogged sink depends on the severity of the clog. If you’ve tried unclogging the sink through traditional means and nothing is working, then it’s time to call professionals like YES! 

Additionally, if you have to consistently unclog your sink, then it’s time to call a plumber. 

  1. Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet is an unsanitary disaster no one wants to face. If it happens in your home, call a plumber right away to minimize the damage. Before the plumber arrives, turn off the water supply to the toilet. Even if a simple block in the drain is the cause, it is best to have a plumber deal with an overflowing toilet so you can be sure the issue does not repeat itself.

  1. Hot Water Is Rusty

The quality of your hot water reflects the condition of your water heater and the health of your hot water supply pipes. Rusty or metallic-tasting hot water is typically due to sediment buildup inside your water heater, which occurs as minerals precipitate out of the water and build up inside the tank. 

This sediment affects the efficiency and longevity of your heating elements and water heater tank, putting them at risk for failure. 

  1. Toilets Are Making Funny Noises 

Gurgling or bubbling toilets are often one of the first signs of a developing sewer line problem, which means it’s time to call a plumber. Because your toilets drain directly into your sewer line, they are typically the first appliances affected by a clog or tree root invasion of the pipe. 

A sewer line clog is not a matter you can handle on your own, and ignoring the issue will only allow the clog to grow until it eventually blocks the line completely. Full sewer line blockages can result in sewage backups that cause extensive water damage and expose your family to potentially hazardous microorganisms. 

  1. Water Leaks

Leaks are not only annoying and can cause higher water bills, but they’re also a sign that something is wrong. Sources of water leaks can come from rain/flood water, leaking pipes, or poor insulation. All of these are huge problems that can cause major damage to your home. 

Not to mention, all the extra water can lead to mold, wood swelling, and electrical problems.

What might seem like a minor annoyance from your faucet can be the harbinger of a bigger problem. So if you notice consistent leaking, you need a plumber ASAP—even if it means calling YES! at 844-216-9300 for an emergency weekend visit

  1. Water Heater Not Working

A wide variety of culprits can cause your water heater to not work properly, and your heater is sure to let you know there’s a problem—with a blast of cold water. 

Reasons your water heater isn’t working include:

  • The pilot light is out: If your water heater runs on gas, the pilot light could be out which leads to cold water. Follow the instructions on the water heater to reignite the light. If multiple attempts are unsuccessful, there’s a bigger problem. 

  • The breaker needs to be reset: If your water heater is electric, the solution might be as simple as resetting your breaker panel. If that doesn’t work, call a professional to prevent an injury. 

  • It’s old: The older a water heater is, the more likely it is to break down. If your heater is old and seems to stop working consistently, it’s time for a water heater replacement

  • “Sweating”: Sometimes a water heater seems to be “sweating,” which means it’s leaking. This can happen for many reasons, but you should take care of it immediately as it can lead to much bigger problems in the future.

  1. Water Stains

Not only are water stains ugly and can ruin the aesthetics of a room, but they’re also a sign that water damage has occurred behind the walls and ceiling. Water stains can also be accompanied by sagging ceilings, which could lead to a ceiling collapse. 

Water stains usually appear due to an unseen leak inside the wall or ceiling foundation. Call a plumber to come immediately to diagnose how bad the damage is, and take prompt action. 

  1. Consistent Sewage Smell

If your home smells like a sewage plant, something is very wrong with your sewage line. Sewage line problems require a professional because finding and uncovering them is complicated, even if the problem is as “simple” as a clog or a broken pipe that needs to be replaced. 

Don’t live with that awful smell and risk putting your health in danger. Contact YES! for an emergency appointment. 

Should I Fix My Plumbing Emergency Myself?

When it comes to plumbing emergencies, it’s best to call a plumber rather than try to fix a problem yourself. While some may think they are skilled at plumbing repairs, certain situations like a burst pipe or broken water heater need professional attention. When it comes to an emergency, this is a job for a professional. Trying to fix the problem on your own—especially when feeling rushed—could lead to larger plumbing problems, such as pipe breaks and severe leaks. All these issues lead to costly repairs and replacements. 

Call YES! at 844-216-9300 to send out plumbing technicians, as they are trained to make such repairs. They may also see and stop potential problems from occurring, such as noticing a vulnerable pipe or a problem with your supply line. Applying their professional expertise can prevent a plumbing emergency from occurring, saving you money in the long run. 

How to Fix an Emergency Plumbing Problem

When a plumbing problem occurs late at night or after hours, it’s tempting to call for emergency repairs. While it may be the solution to call someone immediately, pay the extra emergency plumber cost, and get the problem fixed, it isn’t always necessary. 

Before you call a plumber, determine the severity of your plumbing problem. For example, if you have a leak in your basement that spews water uncontrollably, you shouldn’t wait until business hours! 

However, if you have a broken toilet or faucet and can avoid using it until the morning, you may save yourself some money by avoiding fees that accompany an emergency plumber's cost.

What to Do Before Calling a Plumber?

In most cases, turning off your main water source before calling a plumber is best to prevent further damage. If you can locate any valves near where the issues are occurring, you should also close them.

It might be a good idea to turn off your water heater to prevent damage. Even if the problem isn’t with the water heater, the plumbing emergency could increase the risk of overheating or overflowing, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.  

You should also write down all the occurrences you noticed—noises, smells, water pressure, and changes. Next, call the plumber and share all the details you gathered so they can diagnose and fix your problem faster. 

Once you’re done with your call, start cleaning out the area, removing all furniture, cleaning products, and debris, and keep pets and kids out of the way. 

Other helpful tasks you can do to prepare for the arrival of the plumber include:

  • Clear a path outside: Make sure there’s a path to your door that is clear of seasonal debris and any kid toys or garden tools.

  • Control the leak: If you can find the source of a leak, try to contain it using pipe clamps, plumber’s tape, or towels.

  • Soak up the water: While you’re waiting for your plumber to arrive, try to sop up any excess water to minimize the risk of damage in your home.

  • Ventilate the area: If you notice the area has an odor, open doors and windows to improve ventilation

What Do Most Plumbers Charge per Hour?

A plumber’s per-hour charge depends on a variety of factors. Is this an emergency call, or are they working within business hours? Is this a simple problem, or will the repair require specialty tools? It’s best to call your plumber and ask for an estimate. YES! offers special offers, financing plans, and monthly service plans to help cover plumbing costs.

When in Doubt, Call YES!

Plumbing problems are complicated and, in very few cases, are solved with a quick fix. If you’re ever unsure if a plumbing problem is an emergency, check with your local plumbing technician at YES! We’re available for both emergency visits and regular appointments. Connect online with our friendly team or call us directly at 844-216-9300 to schedule service with a plumber.

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Last Updated: June 11, 2024