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Understanding the Difference Between Plumbing Problems and Plumbing Emergencies

Important Vs. Urgent Plumbing Issues - How To Tell Them Apart

Just about everyone has experienced some kind of plumbing problem at some point in their life. One thing they all have in common: they’re no fun. However, some problems are far direr than others - the kind that can cause massive damage or even endanger the health of everyone in the home. Consequently, plumbing problems can be boiled down to two basic categories: urgent and important (there’s no such thing as an unimportant plumbing issue). 

Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the distinction. This article will illustrate the difference using three of the most common plumbing mishaps that homeowners experience.

An Urgent Problem: Broken Water Pipe


A broken pipe is one problem that’s pretty easy to classify as urgent. Whether it’s caused by a freeze, too much water pressure, excessive vibration, corrosion, or soil movement (underground pipes), a burst pipe can unleash a torrent of rushing water. It doesn’t take long for flooding and water damage to reach devastating levels.

But even if the homeowners act quickly and close the home’s main water shutoff valve, the house will be entirely without water until a plumber arrives. This fact alone makes this an urgent situation - one that requires the immediate intervention of a professional.

An Important Problem: Clogged Toilet

toilet A toilet clog may seem like an urgent problem when it happens - it’s certainly no trivial affair - but in most cases, it isn’t as severe as it seems. The reason for this is that a clogged toilet typically doesn’t pose an immediate threat to the home or the health of anyone in it. Though it can make the bathroom an unpleasant place to be, it won’t be a disaster if the problem waits overnight to be resolved.

And the resolution may not even require a professional. Homeowners can prevent (or stop) overflowing by closing the shutoff valve (usually located on the wall behind the toilet bowl). Even if the heroic application of a plunger doesn’t solve the problem, it’s unlikely to develop into anything more serious in the time it takes for a plumber to arrive.

An Urgent Problem: Sewage Backup

Suppose a clogged toilet is accompanied by slowly-draining tubs or sinks, or another toilet clogs elsewhere in the house. In that case, it may be the sign of a backed-up sewage system—a sewage backup is the very definition of an urgent problem. Raw sewage is a biohazard - it can carry bacteria, viruses, and other harmful germs. Depending on the drain location, it can also flood the area and cause mold growth - a common problem in basements.

Sewage backups are typically caused by a blocked or ruptured drainpipe - most often the result of invading tree roots or foreign materials like grease, hair, and flushed paper towels. But it can also occur when heavy rainfall floods septic drain fields or overwhelms municipal drainage systems. In the event of a sewage backup, homeowners should stay as far away from the sewage as possible, refrain from running water or flushing toilets, and call a reliable plumber who can get there without delay.

About PlumbCrazy

The award-winning PlumbCrazy has been proud to serve Abingdon, MD, for years. As a family-owned and operated business, they are committed to stellar customer service, punctuality, honest pricing, and fast turnarounds. They back every job with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact them today for reliable emergency plumbing service.