What Qualifies as a Plumbing Emergency?

25 May 2022

When is it okay to call your plumber at 3am on a Sunday morning? (NEVER! Just joking 😆 ). You can and you should call your plumber if you have a plumbing emergency that cannot wait. So, what exactly is a plumbing emergency? Let’s dive right in to see what plumbers see as a potential emergency. 

Burst pipes 

Pipes can burst due to various reasons such as extreme cold temperatures, damage to the pipe or too much pressure. 

A burst water pipe in your property can cause all sorts of damage to your walls, floors, ceilings or belongings until water is shut off and drained appropriately from affected areas. When a pipe bursts, it can also cause electrical wiring exposed to water to short out electricity and increase the risk of fire caused by sparks.

Here’s how you can identify is a pipe may have burst – 

  • Fluctuating water pressure
  • Water looking off in appearance with corrosion and rust, turning it white or brown in colour 
  • Hissing, grinding or clanging noises from pipes 
  • Puddles forming near sinks 
  • Smelling rotten eggs caused from hydrogen sulfide in leaky sewage lines 

If you have a burst pipe or think you may have one, you should call your plumber right away to minimise damage to your property and to avoid any potential risks to the occupants of the property. 

Overflowing Toilet 

If your toilet won’t flush and the water is rising or overflowing, that constitutes as a plumbing emergency and you should call your plumber for help. But before you do that, you should turn off your toilet’s water supply – this will help the problem from getting worse. To do this, look for the water supply valve on the wall behind the toilet, and turn it off. 

Toilets can overflow due to various reasons from clogs, improper use to a damaged float mechanism. Regardless, this is a perfectly valid emergency scenario. 

Clogged Drains

While a clogged drain itself is not really an emergency, it has the potential to turn into an emergency in severe cases, where water supply is completely blocked off. This in turn can affect everyday activities and that’s a plumbing emergency. If that’s the case, you can call your plumber for further assistance. A clogged drain can also lead to an overflow which is equally problematic. 

Gas Leaks

In New Zealand, a majority of plumbers are also gasfitters and may be able to help you with a gas leak. If you have a gas leak, this is a major emergency that could potentially cause a fire, and you should call your gasfitter immediately! 

Here are some immediate steps you can take to minimise danger as well – 

  • Turn off your gas supply 
  • Turn off all gas appliances
  • Extinguish naked flames such as cigarettes, matches, lighters and open fires
  • Don’t turn electrical appliances off or on 
  • Ventilate the property 
  • Call your gasfitter to visit your property. 

Source: https://www.masterplumbers.org.nz/homeowner-info/tips-and-advice/emergencieswhat-to-do/

Backed-Up Sewage

A backed-up sewage is a serious health hazard that releases air-borne contaminants into the property, and can lead to symptoms like vomiting and fever – so it definitely qualifies as an emergency. 

If your sewer is backed up, you’re likely to notice a foul sewage smell seeping into your home or property. 

Another sign of a sewage backup is water backing up in the other drains. For example, water may come up in the kitchen sink whenever you flush the toilet.

If any of these happen, be sure to call your plumber right away. 

How much do emergency plumbers cost?

The average cost of hiring a plumber in New Zealand usually ranges from $78 to $135 per hour. However, this is usually during business hours. In a case of emergency, you can expect to pay an average of $135 to $650 depending on the nature of emergency, work involved, damage caused, etc. 

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