Emergency Plumbing Repairs: What to Do and What to Avoid

In a plumbing emergency, acting swiftly and immediately fixing the problem is your best bet. A plumbing problem may be a headache, especially if you aren’t sure what to do or how to fix it. One must always take the time to fully understand the situation before attempting a DIY plumbing repair, as no two plumbing issues are ever the same. The purpose of this article is to guide you on handling and preventing emergency plumbing repairs.

What are emergency plumbing repairs?

Regarding plumbing issues, a wide variety of fixes are considered emergencies. These are urgent maintenance items that, if ignored, might have serious consequences.

All of the following fall under the category of emergency plumbing repairs:

  • broken pipe
  • clogged drain
  • damaged water line
  • defective toilet
  • leaking water heater
  • frozen water pipes

As they can all potentially lead to severe consequences if left untreated, they all constitute plumbing emergencies that require immediate attention. On rare occasions, they might produce flooding or other hazardous conditions. In any case, you should know how to flood-proof a home. There are many ways to protect your home from numerous disasters. You shouldn’t have an excuse for not taking precautionary measures to protect your home.

Man being sprayed by a massive water leak requiring emergency plumbing repairs. Image credit: cobblewagen
Man being sprayed by a massive water leak requiring emergency plumbing repairs. Image credit: cobblewagen

What to do in emergency plumbing repairs

When dealing with an emergency plumbing scenario, following the proper procedures to rectify the problem promptly and safely is critical.

Here are some suggestions on what to do if you need an emergency plumbing repair.

Close the valve to the nearest water supply

In a plumbing emergency, the first step is to turn off the main water valve. Regarding sinks, this valve is directly below the drain pipe. Toilets have shut-off valves at the base or the rear of the bowl.

If there is a water leak or other emergency, immediately turn off the main water valve. It will be located next to the water meter. There will be two valves. Shut off either one of them. You should ensure that everyone in your household knows where this valve is.

Water meter and shut off valves. When emergency water repairs are needed shut of water to the entire house. Image credit CityofBloomingtonMN
Water meter and shut off valves. Turning off the water is a crucial step during plumbing emergencies. Image credit: CityofBloomingtonMN

Hire a professional plumber

When you’ve turned off the water, the next step is to call a professional plumber. A skilled plumber can examine the situation and identify the best action to resolve the issue. They can also estimate how much it will cost to remedy the problem.

Plumber repairing power source to a Grundfos water system.
Plumber repairing the Grundfos water pump in a tankless water heater. Professionals can help to repair broken pipes and fixtures, install new plumbing systems, and maintain existing plumbing systems.

Prepare for the plumber’s arrival

You may prepare for their arrival when you’ve called a professional plumber and made an appointment. That includes removing the space surrounding the plumbing fixture so they can easily reach it and ensuring they have everything they need to do the task. If the plumber needs any specific non-plumbing related equipment or materials, make sure you have them on hand before they come.

Comply with the plumber’s directions

When the plumber comes, you should follow their instructions and suggestions. That will help to guarantee that the task is done accurately and efficiently. The plumber will be able to answer any questions and advise you on how to avoid such difficulties in the future.

In the event of a plumbing emergency, avoid these mistakes

During an urgent plumbing problem, there are a few actions you should never take. When an emergency plumbing repair is needed, try to avoid these mistakes.

Don’t try to fix things on your own

One of the most crucial things to avoid in an emergency is attempting DIY plumbing repairs. Doing the repairs yourself may seem like a quick and cheap solution, but you might end up causing more harm than good and spending more money. In addition, it might be dangerous if you lack the required knowledge or experience.

Natural gas house explosion in Marshall MN. Natural gas water heaters must be repaired by a professional plumber.
Natural gas house explosion in Marshall MN. Emergency plumbing repairs are best left to the professionals. Gas water heaters must be repaired by a professional plumber. Image credit: Dakota News Now

Avoid using boiled water

Another approach you should avoid in an emergency is pouring hot water down a clogged drain or toilet. Even though it may seem like a good idea at the moment, boiling water can cause damage to pipes and other complications you could have otherwise avoided. You shouldn’t perform plumbing repairs on your own.

Stay away from harsh chemical drain cleaners

If you have a plumbing emergency, avoid any options, including using chemical drain cleaners. By utilizing these items, there is a risk that pipelines will be damaged or even broken. They could harm your health if you don’t know what you’re doing with them.

Don’t ignore the problem

Last but not least, if you have a plumbing issue, you shouldn’t put off fixing it. If you overlook a problem with your plumbing, it could worsen, increasing the money it would cost to remedy. If you discover a problem, have a qualified plumber look at it.

How can I prevent emergency plumbing repairs?

Regular maintenance of your plumbing systems is essential to prevent emergency plumbing repairs. That includes regularly checking pipes and fixtures for signs of wear and tear, replacing any worn or damaged parts, and clearing any blockages. Additionally, you should periodically inspect your water heater and check for leaks or other issues. It is also essential to be mindful of what you put down the drain, as certain items can cause blockages or damage to the pipes. If you notice any signs of a plumbing issue, it is best to address it immediately to prevent further damage and costly repairs.


Emergency plumbing repairs can be scary and stressful, but if you know what to do and have the right tools, you can make sure the repair is done right without any problems. Turn off the water before making any repairs. If you are unsure how to do so, call in a plumber. Knowing what to do and what not to do during the repair helps ensure that the plumbing problem gets fixed the first time.

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