As a home or business owner, it can be difficult to determine what truly defines a plumbing ‘emergency.’ Sure, there are some obvious signs that plumbing services are necessary, but when it comes to urgency, estimating potential risks and structural damage can be difficult unless you’re a professional. Before you call an emergency plumber, there are a few questions you should be asking yourself. Here are just a few important considerations to keep in mind before you call emergency commercial or residential plumbing services.
If there’s a leak involved, can it be temporarily stopped?
Leaks are among the most common household plumbing issues: About 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water or more per day. Even if you have a minor leak, you shouldn’t ignore it — a leaky faucet that drips twice per minute will waste over one gallon of water in a week. But to determine whether an emergency plumber is truly necessary, consider whether you can access the main shutoff valve and temporarily stop the cause of the leak. If it’s already caused substantial damage or can’t be stopped, you should definitely contact some sort of emergency plumbing services.
Is the problem your responsibility to resolve?
If you find that you can’t solve the problem, even temporarily, think about whether or not it’s your responsibility to fix. There are some circumstances in which it may not be your problem, for example, if you’re renting an apartment. In this case, maintenance should be handled by the landlord or property manager. In other cases, you can call your utility provider to see if the problem affects other homes besides yours.
“In some cases, the emergency may not be something you can fix, especially if you can’t locate the source. In this situation, call your water company and utility provider. They’ll be able to tell you if the problem affects more than just your home, or if you need to deal with it yourself. Issues with city water supplies, for example, will be fixed by city employees at no cost to you,” writes Doug Bonderud on Angie’s List.
Ultimately, thinking about these two questions alone can help you determine whether emergency plumbing services are truly necessary. Of course, if you have doubts, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and consult a professional.