What To Do In A Plumbing Emergency: 6 Pro Tips

  • William Demirdonder
  • Dec 28, 2020
  • No comments
  • 15-minute read
What To Do In A Plumbing Emergency: 6 Pro Tips

It’s a story we see week in and week out – a plumbing emergency when you least expect it. We’ve seen a blocked toilet when you’re hosting Christmas Lunch and a burst flexible hose in the middle of the night!

When this happens, it’s tempting (and only natural) to pick up the phone, look on Google for a 24-hour Plumber Near You and call the first Sydney Emergency Plumber who answers.

Whilst you may get lucky and score a genuine plumber who fixes your issue and has your plumbing up and running in no time – you could also end up calling a plumber who will cause more harm than good or leave you with additional hassles and stress.

If you do have a true plumbing emergency on your hands (one that poses a risk to you and your home) you need a 24 hour Sydney plumber who is available to get to you fast!

A licensed plumber will be able to gauge the severity of your emergency and diagnose the issue over the phone, giving you tips until they arrive. They’ll also be able to tell you if the issue can wait until normal business hours so you can avoid the emergency callout fee.


  1. What Qualifies As A ‘Plumbing Emergency’.
  2. How To Choose The Best Emergency Plumber, Closest To You.
  3. What You’re Looking To Pay For A Plumbing Emergency.
  4. The Difference Between A “Routine Plumber” And An “Emergency Plumber”.
  5. 5 Key Questions To Ask Any Plumber In An Emergency That Could Save You Time And Money.
  6. The Benefit Of Doing Your Research First When Choosing An Emergency Plumber.

So, let’s get into it.


A true plumbing emergency can look like this:

  • Water needs to be restored to the property.
  • Measures need to take place to prevent water damage to the property.
  • A blocked drain needs to be cleared.
  • A waste connection needs to be restored to protect public health.

It is an owner’s responsibility to call an emergency plumber if they feel they are affected by any of the above points.

So, knowing when to call an emergency plumber and when to call a routine plumber is very important.


  • A Burst Water Service Or Burst Pipe

    Having a burst pipe can cause some serious damage to your walls, flooring, furniture, and if left alone your property’s structure. There are a few things that can cause a burst rupture, these are low-quality, faulty plumbing fixtures, age, or an accidental impact. If you have discovered a burst pipe we suggest immediately isolate the water off at the mains as soon as possible and call your local Sydney emergency plumber – Proximity Plumbing.

  • Broken Or Blocked Toilet Systems

    Many things can cause a blocked toilet: excessive toilet paper, disposing of sanitary items down the toilet, excessive use of ‘flushable’ wipes, even foreign items like children’s toys or syringes in the system. Sometimes, it’s a bigger issue like cracked pipework or tree roots within the line. We suggest getting in touch with an emergency plumber if you are unable to clear the blockage yourself.

  • A Gas Leak

    Leaking gas can cause harm to your health and wellbeing if left unattended. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off your gas at the mains as soon as you can. Then open all the doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate and call your emergency plumber – Proximity Plumbing for a gas fitter. Gas is extremely flammable and can cause asphyxiation in confined spaces. We urge you to not use any electrical equipment, lights, matches, lighters, or any type of naked flame when there is a possible gas leak.

  • A Serious Roof Leak

    Having an unknown location of a water leak is always daunting. Especially if it’s coming from the ceiling. Roof leaks can cause structural and foundational damage to your property if left alone. Please call your emergency plumber now if you are experiencing a roof leak.

  • Serious Storm, Fire, Or Impact Damage

    The damage caused by a storm or natural disaster is usually instantly recognisable. If your house has experienced damage, please call an emergency plumber asap.

  • Burst Water Pipes

    Sometimes pipes burst. Usually Flexi pipes. Hot water tanks can also leak rusty water from age, pipes can burst to cause a surprise leak within a wall cavity or tap washers fail and you’re unable to turn the tap.  A small leak can become serious quickly so we suggest (if you have access to them and you know where they are) isolate the mains tap as soon as you can and contact your emergency plumber to avoid excessive water bills and any unnecessary damage to your home.

  • Flooding

    This is a pretty obvious one – if you’re standing knee-deep in the water while your kitchen floods, you need a plumber now!

  • Broken Hot Water Heater

    Having hot water is a necessity for any family household. The lack of hot water could be due to many things. Firstly, check the power supply to your hot water system; is there electricity or gas available in the rest of the house? It’s a good idea to check these before you call your Sydney emergency plumber.

  • An Overflowing Sewer Line

    Smelly sewer drains, mushy or soft spots in your garden? You could have an overflow or broken sewer line. This is a must to fix asap and get your emergency plumber onto it.


Routine plumbers are available during normal business hours (Monday to Friday from 7 am to 5 pm). Emergency plumbers, on the other hand, are on call 24 hours a day and will come to your property at any time, including public holidays and weekends. Both kinds of plumbers are qualified and equipped to perform all kinds of plumbing work on your property.


  1. Can I Tend To The Issue, Isolate, Or Stop It Myself?
  2. Is The Plumbing Issue Affecting The Health And Wellbeing Of My Family?
  3. Is There Raw Sewage Overflowing That Could Pose Harm To The Wellbeing Of My Family And Others In The Community?
  4. Is There A Risk Of Flooding Or Water Damage To The Property?
  5. Can I Smell Gas?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should call an emergency plumber as soon as possible! Ignoring a plumbing emergency is not only bad for your plumbing system, but it can also risk the health of your family.

In particular, overflowing sewage or gas leaks can be dangerous for your health. Any plumbing issue can also cause lasting damage to your property which can be prevented if you call an emergency plumber.


If your emergency plumbing issue happens during normal working hours, you can wait for the plumber to fit you into his schedule that day or the following morning (based on the severity of the issue). For those situations that just can’t wait, and you need a plumber RIGHT NOW, you’re likely going to have to pay for an “after-hours call-out fee” plus materials and the time spent on the job.

At Proximity Plumbing, we are proud to let anyone know that we charge anywhere between $250 to 350+ GST for after-hours emergency call-outs. The price changes depending on the time and day. A word of caution for any plumber who doesn’t charge an emergency call-out fee: this should be a red flag for you because chances are they are being deceptive and will hit you with that fee somewhere else!



Firstly, we’re big believers in preventative plumbing, so making sure you stay on top of your schedule of general plumbing maintenance will lower your risk for emergency plumbing situations considerably!

When faced with a true plumbing emergency there are some tips to follow to ensure you find the best, licensed, and local emergency plumber for your job (and not get ripped off by a sub-par operator).

Take Note Of Who Answers Your Call.

If you call an emergency plumber and receive an answering machine, we suggest you hang up. A reliable professional emergency plumbing service should greet you with a real person, immediately (no matter what day or time it is).

Having a real person answer your call shows the company truly cares about customer service and are dedicated to helping you, with compassion and genuine advice. They *should* try to gain an understanding of the issue and situation you’re in.

For example, asking questions about the plumbing emergency (has it happened before, anything they need to know about the household plumbing, the flow of water, how long it’s been happening, etc) shows they genuinely care and have your best interests at heart.

Check Up On Their Credentials And Protection.

You would like to think every Sydney emergency plumber who advertises their services online is licensed, reputable, and trustworthy. Unfortunately, not so. There are some devious individuals who take advantage of customers who need an emergency plumber asap and will make a fast choice in choosing a plumber just to deal with the issue ASAP.

We suggest you ask the plumbing service if they are licensed and insured before you let them come into your home. Without a license, there’s no guarantee that the company has the adequate skills to handle your plumbing emergency. With no insurance, you could find yourself having:

  1. No Warranty
  2. Potential Risk To Other Problems And
  3. Paying For Something Twice – After A Licensed Plumber Has To Return And Fix What The Cheaper Unlicensed Plumber Couldn’t. Protect yourself and your investment by making sure you hire the right, licensed plumber for the job. Follow This link to check your preferred contractor https://www.onegov.nsw.gov.au/publicregister/#/publicregister/search/Trades</a >

Service NSW offers this link which will tell you about current, expired, and canceled licenses under the name, license number, or ABN/ACN being searched. It is important to check the tradesperson engaged has a current license to ensure they have the appropriate qualifications for the work you want to be done.

Furthermore, the link will provide information on whether Fair Trading has issued public warnings about the licensee, has finalized any disciplinary action against the licensee, and whether the license has been suspended or canceled. So, it’s always a good idea to quickly spending five minutes before approving a quote from a local plumber near you.

When you phone a plumber to book them in, ask about the license and the license of any of the team who may be assisting or coming into your property. You want to make sure everyone working on your home is licensed and qualified!


They should arrive as soon as possible or be very clear on exactly how long you will have to wait. Plumbing is unpredictable when an emergency arises and most plumbers know their day will never go exactly to plan, so many plumbing companies will have one of their team on standby for emergencies.

The amount of time you’re waiting will largely depend on your ability to choose a truly local plumber. A plumber who is near you and will be able to get to you asap.

When looking for a Sydney emergency plumber on Google we suggest skipping the ads altogether and going directly to the results matched to your search based geographically. For more information, read our article here about How to Hack The Search Engines.



Some 24/7 emergency plumbers only advertise to do the immediate fix. When looking for a Sydney emergency plumber look for a plumbing company that is well known, has a good online presence, good ratings, and will likely call you up within the future to touch base about your plumbing needs. Like most things in life, plumbing requires general maintenance – you don’t go to the dentist once, you go every few months to have a general check-up!

Ask Them To Explain The Process When They Arrive At Your Home

If the job is for a specific emergency issue (for example, a burst Flexi pipe) there may be a plumber on the crew who is best suited to that issue.

Have the representative you’re speaking with explain why that person is best suited to your emergency and have them tell you a little bit about that person (i.e.. are they also licensed, are they also able to attend ASAP, will they honor the payment rates you’ve already discussed).

Here’s where you can start to see the differences between amateurs and professionals so it’s a key question to ask! If you were to ask us about our process at Proximity Plumbing, we’d say something like this:

  1. We will assess your plumbing emergency over the phone, as you talk with a real person! We will give you tips on how to turn off the water/clean-up/contain the damage until we arrive.
  2. Thanks to our service scheduling software, our plumbers know exactly where they’re going and will arrive at your home on time (in one of our snazzy Proximity Plumbing vans). They will be in uniform and introduce themselves to you; telling you who they are and where they’re from courteously.
  3. Our plumbers will always remove work boots or cover them to protect your home’s floors. Our plumbers will assess the plumbing issue, provide you with information, and a breakdown of the cost involved before they get started. You’ll have the chance to ask any questions.
  4. The work will be completed with minimal impact to your home and with as much care as possible. The workspace will be clean and neat when we leave, and you’ll even have a lovely home candle to say Thank You for choosing us and to help make the home smell lovely once we leave.
  5. We will offer you a complimentary plumbing maintenance check to the rest of your property and provide you with information for any other services we feel will suit your needs.

Now that’s a simple breakdown of our process and when you hire a professional plumber they should have a process very similar to ours. If they can’t articulate that over the phone maybe it’s best to keep searching until you find one who can (or call us).

Look For Real Recommendations

You may have a go-to list of tradies that have been recommended by a friend or family member. These lists are golden! By having a recommendation it’s reassurance that the Sydney emergency plumber will do a good job, charge fairly, respect your home, and carry out the plumbing job correctly.

If you don’t have an emergency plumber on your list, you can quickly look at the Google reviews of the plumber you’re thinking of hiring for your emergency job. Looking at what others in your community have posted about the company or person could save you a headache or three.

How to Save on Emergency After Hours Plumbing

When you’re in the midst of a plumbing emergency, you often don’t stop and take five minutes to think clearly about the best ways to find a quality emergency plumber.

Prepare in advance by doing your research – have your emergency plumber’s details handy so in a tight moment, you can grab them quickly! A simple precaution like this can save you dollars later when a plumbing emergency arises.

Another way to avoid emergency plumbing costs is to get those plumbing problems taken care of before an emergency arises with preventive maintenance, e.g.: if your drains are partially blocked and the old boiling water or plunger don’t work, get in touch with your local plumber – Proximity Plumbing – we’re here to help.

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