What to Do When You Have a Plumbing Emergency

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Tired of life’s little surprises? Picture this: It’s a quiet evening, you’re finally unwinding after a long day, when suddenly, drip…drip…gush! Your peaceful haven is now a watery battleground, and you are teetering on the brink of plumbing Armageddon. 


While your home’s plumbing is generally reliable, there are many potential issues that could cause a minor inconvenience and others that will have you rushing to call a 24-hour emergency plumber. Here’s a list of the most common issues and what to do about them:

Plumbing Inconveniences


These are the types of problems that don’t require a search for “emergency plumber near me” and can usually wait until morning. Make sure to stop using the affected fixture until it’s repaired. This will help prevent a major catastrophe from occurring.


Clogged Drains—Clogs in sinks, toilets, or drains can cause water to drain slowly. When the drain is completely clogged, wastewater can start to back up and overflow. This can become a serious issue if water starts to pool on the floor. It can create unsanitary conditions and potential floor damage. You can try to clear the clog yourself with a plumber’s snake, drain cleaner, or plunger.


Leaking Fixtures—While a consistent faucet drip, leaky dishwasher, or toilet may not be a major emergency, over time, water damage can infiltrate cabinets and floors requiring significant structural repairs.


No Hot Water—If you suddenly lose your hot water, it can disrupt your daily routines and be a symptom of a bigger problem. Check your water heater first. If it is an older model, the pilot light may have gone out and need re-lighting. If you notice a large puddle of water underneath, you’ll want to contact a plumber soon to replace it.


Water Pressure Issues—Sudden drops in water pressure can indicate a problem in your community or in your own plumbing system. Check with your town’s water authority. If there are no issues in your area, a plumber will need to investigate the problem.

Plumbing Emergencies


These are the types of situations that require a clear head and quick action. Rather than panicking, it’s important to mitigate the problem to reduce damage. Let’s look at the things that will require a same-day plumber to resolve the emergency.


Ruptured Pipes—Even if you don’t see a rush of water coming from the wall or ceiling, a burst pipe can release gallons of water and compromise the structural integrity of your home. Watch for water stains, dripping, or bulging spots on walls or ceilings. These can indicate a hidden pipe leak. Immediately shut off the main water line and contact an emergency plumber as soon as possible to repair or replace the burst pipe.


Sump Pump Failure—Before your sump pump stops working entirely, you may notice symptoms such as strange noises, vibrations, shutting on and off frequently, or continuous running. If you have a complete failure, especially if you live in a poor drainage area, your basement is at risk of flooding. Standing water can lead to dangerous mold growth and potential health concerns. Request a same-day plumber to replace a sump pump before it stops working. If you’re already experiencing flooding, bring in a professional plumber immediately.


Sewer System Backups—This is extreme health hazard that requires a fast repair. Cracks in underground pipes, flushing products other than tissue, and tree roots can cause breaks and blockage to your sewer pipes. Sewage odor, lawn flooding, and water backups in your toilet and sinks are tell-tale signs that you need an emergency plumber fast.


Gas Leaks—You may not think of gas leaks as a plumbing problem, but gas leaks can occur in pipes connected to appliances such as water heaters, stoves, and furnaces. In addition to the potential safety risk of fire or explosions, carbon monoxide poisoning can be life threatening. While carbon monoxide is odorless, natural gas has an additive that smells like rotten eggs. If you smell gas, get out of the house immediately, call 911, and get the appliance repair done as soon as possible.


What You Can Do


Handle minor leaks by shutting off the water to the fixture, wrap with tape, or check with your local hardware store for a temporary solution. Bigger water issues may require you to turn off the main water line to the house. Use buckets to collect water, push rags into leaking pipes, and do whatever you can to stop the flow of water. Stay safe—keep away from electrical sources and risk of electrocution, leave the house if you feel there is a potential for fire, explosion, or carbon monoxide poisoning. Call for reinforcements; with the help of an emergency plumber, you’ll resolve your issues quickly.

Let Puls Handle Your Plumbing Emergencies


Plumbing problems can be stressful and expensive to handle. When you experience a plumbing emergency, life can get even more complicated. Puls has designed protection plans with you in mind. Three levels of coverage are available in easy-to-budget membership plans, that provide peace of mind for unexpected breakdowns and emergencies—Appliance Protection, Systems Protection, and Puls Whole Home.


Unlike other home warranty service agreements, the Puls program offers extra benefits such as discounted pricing, extended 90-day warranty, priority scheduling, free device checks-ups (to watch for potential problems,) an easy claim service, same or next day service, a fully vetted and skilled technician network, and no service fees.

Save thousands of dollars in repair costs by enrolling in a Puls membership plan. Don’t wait another day in protecting your home against major plumbing (and other) emergencies. Download the Puls app today, select a plan that works for your home and budget, and never worry about handling plumbing emergencies alone again. For a limited time, save 15% off your next home service appointment when you join Puls+.

Debbie D.
Debbie Dey is a professional writer with over three decades of experience in residential construction. Her background gives her a wealth of knowledge about all kinds of home improvement projects, which she enjoys sharing through her writing. She has been a Puls staff writer since 2018. In her free time, you can find her relaxing by the water or cruising with her husband in their sports car.
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