Emergency plumbers are professional plumbers who are available to provide plumbing services in the event of an emergency. These plumbers are generally available before and after hours—such as very late at night or very early in the morning—on weekends, and even on holidays. Emergency plumbers are also very well-versed in dealing with serious plumbing problems that require urgent attention. Unfortunately but understandably, emergency plumbing services are—in most cases—more expensive than standard plumbing services. Many people are not sure exactly when they need to call an emergency plumber or which plumbing issues can wait to be fixed until normal business hours resume.

There is no exact definition for what constitutes a plumbing emergency, but emergent plumbing problems are generally considered to be plumbing issues that need to be fixed as soon as possible in order to either prevent severe damage—like in the event of a serious water leak—or restore the normal functioning of an essential appliance—such as a clogged toilet in a home with only one bathroom.

Even given that loose definition, it can be challenging to determine when an emergency plumber is actually needed for a plumbing issue in your home. For more clarity on this issue, keep reading to learn 5 reasons to call an emergency plumber.

1. There is No Running Water

Having no running water in your home definitely constitutes a plumbing emergency that is worthy of calling an emergency plumber. Without running water, you cannot feasibly cook, clean or use any water-dependent appliances in your home—including flushing the toilet or washing your hands in the sink.

If the running water in your home is non-functional due to a plumbing problem, call an emergency plumber as soon as possible. Most people who are used to living in a home with running water cannot thrive or even function when there is no longer any running water. Any plumbing problem that is serious enough to cause there to be no running water in your home is serious enough to warrant calling an emergency plumber to fix the issue quickly.

2. A Pipe Might Burst

A burst pipe is a very serious plumbing problem that can cause major water damage and flooding if left unattended. Even when the problem is caught very early on, a burst pipe can still cause serious water damage in your home.

If a pipe has already burst in your home, it is very important to call an emergency plumber as soon as possible. However, even if a pipe has not yet burst but might be in danger of bursting, a call to an emergency plumber is still warranted because of the extent of the damage that a burst pipe can cause in your home.

If you notice any signs of serious water damage in your home—including stains on your ceiling or walls, low water pressure, mold or mildew growth in odd places, etc.—call an emergency plumber as soon as possible to check for leaks in the pipes in your home plumbing system.

3. A Sewer Line is Backed Up

A backup of sewage is an urgent plumbing problem that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. When a sewer line is backed up, the sewage that would normally run through it becomes static and stays in one place in the sewer line instead.

Sewage is obviously very unsanitary, so this problem creates a major health hazard. Any plumbing problem that results in a health hazard is serious enough to make calling an emergency plumber to fix the problem the right call.

4. The Water Heater is Malfunctioning

You should call an emergency plumber if your water heater is malfunctioning. Hot water is necessary to thoroughly clean and sanitizes your hands and dishes, and it is also necessary to remain warm while taking showers or baths—especially during the wintertime in areas that drop below freezing temperatures throughout the colder months of the year.

Living without hot water is—at best—an uncomfortable annoyance and—at worst—a health hazard. Either way, a failing water heater is a plumbing problem that is serious enough to warrant calling an emergency plumber to fix the problem.

5. You Had to Turn Off the Main Water Line

Any plumbing problem that necessitates turning off the main water line through which water flows into your home plumbing system warrants calling an emergency plumber.

Turning off the main source of water to your home in order to temporarily solve a plumbing problem then puts you in the unfortunate position of having no running water in your home until the plumbing problem is fixed more permanently by a professional.

In this case—regardless of whether the original plumbing problem at hand is a clogged drain or an overflowing toilet—calling an emergency plumber to fix the problem so that you are able to have running water in your home again as soon as possible is generally the right call.