What is and what isn’t a Plumbing Emergency?

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What is and what isn’t a Plumbing Emergency?
Posted: 16 Aug 2018

Plumbing Emergency

We’ve all heard the term “plumbing emergency” before, or at least heard of one from a client, but what is and what isn’t a plumbing emergency? It may not be on the levels of needing an ambulance for an accident, or calling the police to a burglary, but plumbing emergencies can be pretty drastic and need quick attention and care.

Below are 3 things that we think are plumbing emergencies followed by 3 things that really can’t be described that way:

  1. Sewer Gas

Having sewer gas come up through your drains is not pleasant in the slightest. Sewer gas smells like… well… you can imagine. This can make the bathroom/kitchen and pretty much any room in the house very difficult to use. But why is this an emergency? Contrary to popular belief, a trap that is not working can be an emergency as it could mean that potentially toxic and flammable gasses such as methane make their way into the home.

2. Faulty Boiler

Boilers can be dangerous… if they’re not at full health. Now although they aren’t really our area of expertise here at McAlpine, any plumber will be able to tell you that a faulty boiler has a range of complications that can cause some serious emergencies. Although most often it’s the inconvenience of not being able to have a warm shower, occasionally a boiler fault can lead to the super-release of carbon monoxide which can spell disaster for anybody living in the home, it’s a wide spectrum with boilers, so make sure your engineer is approved by all the necessary bodies to avoid any emergency scenarios!

3. Extensive Clogging

Pretty much anybody can put a plunger to a drain and pull out a hairball, a rogue rubber duck, last night’s dinner, you name it… but when it comes to an extensive clog, it may mean there are clogs further down in the system (it may not even be in the home that you’re working on). It could be under the road, down the street, anywhere in the system. Whilst this may not cause an immediate threat, if you cannot resolve a clog in the usual ways, it could cause problems for an entire neighborhood, leading back to problem 1, so to save everyone the hassle, call the plumber.

So now for the NON-EMERGENCIES…

  1. “My wedding ring…”

Whilst it may be very upsetting that the ring somebody spent hundreds/thousands of pounds on will be saved, losing small belongings down the loo or drain is not strictly an emergency (no matter how upsetting) as although it may cause upset, it is highly unlikely to put anyone’s health at risk. Also, lets face it, if it’s that important of an item, how did it find its way down the loo? NOTE: Check the trap under where the item fell, there’s a good chance it’s in there and won’t ever get the chance to go anywhere else.

2. “My water has gone cloudy”

Although it can look pretty alarming, cloudy water is actually really common and usually has a simple explanation. Across the UK there are many areas where ‘Hard Water’ is a common complaint. In densely populated areas like London and the Midlands, water is at its hardest point. Apart from maybe ruining some appliances over the long term with limescale build up and occasional periods of cloudy water, hard water poses no threat to the overall well-being of a human, therefore this isn’t an emergency. If your water is cloudy and starts to smell funny, then you may want to stop drinking it and call a plumber, but an occasional glass of cloudy water (especially the type that clears after a few seconds in a glass) is absolutely fine!

3. Leaking tap

Once again, not really an area of expertise for us, we prefer anything from the waste and below, plus we don’t do leaks! However, this is one of the most common call-outs for supposed “plumbing emergencies”. Whilst it does waste money and waste water - is a couple of drips out the tap going to cause a real problem? Probably not. Unless there’s a risk of flooding, you’re best off saving the money for the emergency call out fee and putting it towards some new brassware.