Emergency Plumbing Issue or Wait? Here’s How to Make the Call

It’s 11:30 PM. You’ve just turned out the light when you hear that dreaded noise: a steady drip-drip-drip coming from the bathroom. You briefly wonder if you should call a 24-hour plumber in Austin, but you tell yourself it’s probably just the sink. And anyway, emergency plumbing services are expensive, and your bed is so warm and comfortable… so you decide you’ll deal with it tomorrow, and drift off to sleep.In the morning, there’s a flood—from the bathroom, down the hall, and down the stairs. The toilet supply line has broken. Water has seeped through the floor and the ceiling below the bathroom, and what could have been a relatively simple emergency repair has turned into a huge job potentially costing thousands of dollars.To determine whether it’s worth calling in an emergency plumber or wait until regular business hours, it’s important to first recognize what is an actual emergency requiring immediate attention, and what can indeed wait until morning.

Knowing the Difference

As difficult as the prospect might be, in the above case it’s crucial to get out of your warm bed and find the source of the leak to figure out if it’s an actual emergency. Plumbing issues can often be divided into two rough categories: leaks or clogs.


A leaking faucet or shower can be an annoyance with the constant dripping noise, but it’s an issue that is unlikely to cause damage to the rest of the bathroom (or the house) if it’s not repaired immediately. Over time, a leaky tap can run up your water bill, or cause mold or other issues. But it’s still not an emergency. A certified plumber can determine the correct size washer, replace it, and fix the problem correctly whenever it’s convenient for you to schedule an appointment.Leaking washing machine and dishwasher lines should be repaired as soon as possible but may not warrant an emergency repair depending on the size of the leak. Bulging hoses are a sign of an impending disaster.  Schedule repairs for any pressurized water line as soon as practical.


Much the same can be said for clogs. A slowly draining kitchen or bathroom sink is an obvious hassle, and a totally blocked up sink or bathtub drain can be problematic. However, if you can avoid using the fixture in question temporarily, it’s not an immediate concern. And it certainly won’t harm the rest of the house if it’s not repaired immediately.Likewise, clogged toilets are obviously a huge hassle—but unless they’re the only toilet in the house, they generally don’t warrant a late-night call for 24-hour emergency plumbing repair. Clogs can usually wait until regular business hours when a plumber can diagnose the issue and decide the best course of action to remedy the situation. That said, don’t let the problem continue for too long: unresolved toilet clogs can result in damage inside your walls over time from unseen pipes, or even cause a backup of raw sewage—a clear health hazard.

Other Issues

It’s everyone’s worst winter scenario: you hop in the shower, turn on the tap, and the water comes blasting out—freezing cold. Or, worse, you have soap in your eyes and shampoo in your hair when the hot water suddenly turns cold. No hot water, while it might seem to be merely an annoyance, can in reality be an indicator of a much bigger issue: a water heater malfunction, an electrical issue, or a plumbing leak. Or it could be a problem with the electricity supply on the utility company’s side.Low water pressure can be a result of a broken or clogged water line, often from invasive tree roots. Broken lines can also create soggy areas in your yard, and result in cloudy and/or smelly water coming from taps. Emergency? Likely not. Broken or clogged water lines tend to occur over time, and don’t generally qualify as something needing attention outside of regular business hours.

When to Pay for an Actual Emergency

No one ever expects plumbing emergencies, which is why it can be difficult to know when a problem should be handled immediately or can wait until the next day. When is it an emergency and when can it wait? Here are some common plumbing issues that can help you decide.  

If a faucet, shower head, or toilet is leaking, this is usually a sign of a minor issue that can wait until morning. However, if the leak is coming from a pipe, this is a more serious situation that needs to be addressed right away. Burst pipes from continuous freezing and thawing are especially common in colder regions and can result in a major flood if not addressed immediately. A sudden lack of hot water can also be a cause for concern. If the water heater is leaking water through a valve or has rusted through, this can lead to a flooded basement and should be dealt with immediately. On the other hand, electrical issues can likely wait until regular business hours if nothing else is affected.  A sewage system backup is also an emergency. Aside from being a potential health hazard, mess, and smell, sewer backups can also result in expensive repairs.  

If you do need emergency plumbing help outside of regular business hours, our after hours Austin emergency plumbing service is available to help. Our technicians can diagnose the problem and either effect repairs on the spot or suggest the best way to resolve the issue quickly and safely.

Contact us to schedule your emergency plumbing repair today!

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