Every plumbing problem can feel like an emergency. Plumbing issues make it difficult to relieve yourself, cook meals, take care of your hygiene, and comfortably entertain guests. However, hiring plumbers after hours, on weekends, or on holidays can be significantly more costly than simply waiting for the next business day to arrive.

Although it isn’t always easy to determine which plumbing issues are urgent and which are merely inconvenient, knowing the difference is important. Following are several ways to know if you have an actual plumbing emergency in your San Jose, CA home.

You’ve Got Flooding, or There’s a High Risk of Flooding

If you’ve got one bathroom in your home and your toilet’s overflowing, try turning the water off and using a plunger. If the toilet can’t be fixed with a plunger, you can definitely consider this otherwise minor problem a plumbing emergency. After all, you can’t very well make your way to a local gas station every time you need to go to the bathroom.

However, when families have access to multiple commodes, having one fail may not be a big deal. You can temporarily turn off the water supply at the back of the offending appliance and then hang a handmade “out of order” sign on the door. Everyone can wait until Monday to use your home’s second or third loo.

Actual plumbing emergencies are problems that pose a threat to human health, that cause or will cause major property damages, or that prevent you from engaging in essential activities. Flooding is one such event.

If you’ve got a non-stop flow of water coming into your home from a burst pipe or a malfunctioning plumbing fixture, you’ve got an emergency. Getting a plumber on the job won’t just limit the amount of damage that your home sustains; it will also create a safe space for water damage restoration experts to get to work.

Keep in mind that water damage companies won’t start their services until flood waters have been stopped and the underlying issue has been identified and resolved. Restoring a home that’s still in the midst of a plumbing crisis is like providing smoke mitigation services while an indoor fire is still raging.

You’ve Got More Than One Clogged Drain at a Time

Under normal circumstances, a clogged drain isn’t an urgent issue. The cause is usually relatively simple. Perhaps someone dropped a toothbrush down the drain. Maybe there’s a massive accumulation of soap scum and hair. Problems like these can often be resolved with a basic drain snake and a seasoned plumber’s skilled hands and eyes.

However, when multiple drains in your home are clogged at once, this signifies trouble. You should call a plumber right away. This is the sign of an impending whole-house backup. It means that the waste that’s being routed out of your home isn’t making it to the sewer main. If this waste starts backing up into your drains due to continued plumbing system use, you and all other building residents will be exposed to black water. This is toxic flood water rife with biological and chemical contaminants.

There Are Issues With Your Water Quality or Your Water Supply

Water quality and water supply issues are big plumbing emergencies. If the water from your tap is discolored or smells funny, you should contact a professional as soon as you can. You can’t drink, cook with, or use this water any other way until its safety has been verified. If you turn on your tap and absolutely nothing comes out, this is an emergency too.

Water is essential. Not only is it necessary for drinking, but it’s also key for cooking meals, washing hands, flushing toilets, brushing teeth, and taking showers or baths. There’s very little that you can do in your home without it. Moreover, even the most robust bottled water stores can only go so far.

No matter how well-prepared you are for emergencies, it’s always best to have water quality and water supply issues resolved as soon as possible. This is especially true for households with small, active children. There’s nothing like having to irrigate someone’s eye, rinse off a cut or scrape, or perform other forms of first aid only to remember that you’ve got absolutely no clean, potable water on hand.

Your Pipes Are Frozen

Frozen pipes are a definite plumbing emergency. Not only do they prevent the flow of water into the building and the flow of waste water out of the building, but they also pose a very serious risk of pipe rupture. Burst pipes can be incredibly expensive to repair. Surprisingly, if frozen pipes are caught and mitigated by seasoned professionals, they may be salvageable. If you have frozen pipes on your property, the sooner you bring a licensed plumber onto the scene, the better the prognosis.

Sewage Is Backing Up Into Your Home

Don’t hesitate to call a plumber when raw sewage comes into your home. Whole-house backups are dangerous. Even the fumes and airborne germs from these events can make building residents sick. Just like floods, backup events can cause major property damage. As with floods, the necessary restoration services can’t get started until the plumbing problem is resolved.

Why Is It Important to Know What a Plumbing Emergency Is?

For some homeowners, plumbing problems are always an emergency, no matter how large or small they happen to be. For these consumers, having plumbing issues resolved is always worth the extra cost of hiring plumbing professionals after hours.

For others, it’s nice to know that certain repairs can be put off until labor rates are more reasonable and more service providers are available. However, saving money isn’t the only benefit of knowing when and when not to reach out for urgent help.

Some plumbing events have to be taken care of right away to honor the terms and conditions of home warranties and home insurance policies. Letting these problems fester, even for a day, could cause you to lose the protections that your warranties or insurance policies supply. For instance, if you have multiple clogged drains and don’t take action, you may be responsible for covering the costs of a resulting whole-house backup. This could also be true if you don’t take action to mitigate frozen pipes before they rupture.

It’s also important to recognize the inherent dangers of emergency plumbing events. Many homeowners confronted by black water for the first time don’t know they’re coming in contact with raw sewage. When you know that a plumbing problem constitutes an emergency, and when you understand the hazards involved, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself, other household members, and your pets. In some instances, recognizing a plumbing emergency for what it is can prevent illness, infection, property damage, and more.

At Plumbtree Plumbing & Rooter, we’re proud to provide top-rated emergency plumbing services to residents of San Jose, California and the surrounding areas. If you have a plumbing emergency on your hands, we have you covered. We also offer non-emergency services for drains, plumbing fixtures, sewer lines, water heaters, and gas lines. Give us a call today to set up an appointment.

Josh Gibson

Hi, I’m Josh. I’ve been around plumbing my whole life. When I was 5-6 years old my family built a home where I did a lot of the sanding of copper pipe and definitely some playing in the mud. Plumbing is a major part of my family as I am a fourth-generation plumber. The skills I bring to the job are a good technical knowledge of plumbing and code requirements. I am often complimented on my hands-on problem-solving skills.
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