What Constitutes a Plumbing Emergency?


Plumbing emergencies usually require you to call a plumber immediately so that you can resolve the issue properly. There might be a few plumbing issues that only require minor fixes that you can wait for, but emergencies can interrupt your routine and usage significantly.

It is, therefore, important to be aware of what constitutes a plumbing emergency so that you can take the next steps accordingly. You can go through some of these emergencies in detail below.

Pipe Burst

It is important to deal with bursting pipes as soon as possible. This is because they are likely to carry plenty of water in them which can then pour over into your house, leading to health issues due to the growth of mold.

This can also weaken the structure of your house in extreme cases. Pipe bursts can take place due to large amounts of internal pressure or even if something externally hits the pipes.

If the temperature outside is too cold, this can cause the pipes to freeze up and burst, leading to water spilling over everywhere.

If you notice this kind of burst, the first thing you should do is turn off the water supply to avoid too much damage. You can then call a plumber.

Sewer Back Flow

Sewer backflows can be quite troublesome to deal with and can lead to major issues in your house or building. This kind of backflow can take place due to sewage clogging up at a particular spot, causing the sewage to spill backward.

This sewage contains harmful elements such as bacteria and viruses. Backflow can cause these to enter the house and spread all kinds of diseases. They can also contaminate food items that you might unknowingly consume.

It can also be unpleasant to be around due to the foul smells that can spread around. Another sign of this kind of backflow can be water collected around the toilet or around the drains. This might also restrict your access to clean water.

Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet can prevent you from using the toilet completely until you manage to fix it. It can also be hazardous to health as it can spread bacteria and viruses all around the house while also pooling up the area around it. This can lead to contamination and the spread of diseases.

This kind of overflow can take place in case the drain pipes clog up due to the collection of waste materials. To deal with this, you should turn the valve off near the toilet so that no water can reach the toilet. You should then call a plumber to fix the issue.


Leaks can take place at any point in the plumbing system. These could either be due to cracks or gaps in the pipes or due to malfunctions in the water or heating appliances across your house.

You should prevent the leak from becoming too widespread so that you can avoid the build-up of mold and mildew as these could lead to health issues.

You can become aware of a leak if there is a bit of water around a certain fixture. Your walls might also appear wet, which could indicate an issue with the pipes.

Turn off the entire water supply through the main valve and then call a plumber to make the necessary repairs.

Here, you should also look out for gas leaks as these could be toxic and dangerous as well.

Water Heater Failure

It is possible for your water heater to suddenly stop working or work in a limited capacity. Several issues might arise in such cases. For instance, there might be leaks, sputtering sounds, vibrations, uneven or no supply of water and lots more.

In these situations, you should seek the plumber out as soon as possible as issues with the heating tank could interrupt your routine.

Sometimes, you might also notice dirty water coming from your water heater. This could mean that it has mixed in with wastewater or some minerals have collected inside the heating tank.

It is important for a plumber to come and clean up the tank thoroughly.

Lack of Water

A lack of water could prevent you from using any of the fixtures in your house. This could occur due to clogs, reverse flows or leaks at some points of the plumbing system. Whatever the cause, you should get it fixed immediately so that you can start using water for your basic needs again.

Before you call the plumber, make sure you confirm that the main water supply is not turned off. If it is on, the problem is most likely with the plumbing system itself.

Sump Pump Breakdown

Sump pumps are usually present in your basement or cellar so that they can collect incoming water and eject it out. This can be useful to prevent water from collecting inside the basement itself.

If the water collects, it could flood the basement and might even make its way to some other parts of the house. Additionally, potential mold growth could present a range of health and structural issues.

If you notice water collecting in your basement or odd sounds coming from the pump, then you might need to get it fixed to prevent the situation from becoming worse.

Make sure the pump is not completely discharged so that you can rule that out.


Blockages can occur in any part of the plumbing system. These do not only include the main water supply pipes, sewer lines or drain pipes, but also the connecting pipes of your fixtures.

For example, blockages in the sink drain, toilet or bathtubs can cause dirty water to pool back up into the fixture. Calling a plumber can help identify and solve the problem quickly.

Final Remarks

Through this guide, you now know all about what constitutes a plumbing emergency, how you can identify one and what causes it. In all cases, you will need to call the plumber immediately so that you can start using the system normally again.

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