Companies Offering 24-hour Emergency Service Save Holidays

Updated November 4, 2014
Don't get burned by a broken appliance this holiday season! Know the number of a highly rated appliance repair service that can help you out of a jam. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

What happens if your pipes burst or your furnace breaks on Christmas? Angie's List members share their stories of getting emergency help on the holidays.

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Emergencies happen. It’s all a part of home ownership — pipes burst, furnaces cease to heat, and refrigerators die. It’s an unexpected headache that affects your household and your wallet. Thank goodness you’re usually able to quickly contact a professional or company who can help. But what happens if the emergency occurs on a holiday? Who will come to your rescue?

Not to worry. As these Angie’s List members will attest, there are saints who will march in and save the day — even when it’s Christmas.

That’s not figgy pudding you smell

Member Amy Engle woke up to a picture-perfect day on Christmas. It was sunny and crisp at her ranch-style home in Raytown, Missouri, and Engle was eager to welcome family and friends in to celebrate the holiday. “I woke up early to get the breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls ready to go in the oven,” she says. “Then I smelled this horrible odor.”

Taking note that she had already emptied the trash and the litter box, Engle tried to sniff out the culprit. “As I started down the basement steps, the smell was overpowering,” she says. “By the time I hit the bottom step, I could see the basement floor and what I thought was standing water. Once I got closer, I could hardly breathe — the smell was so overpowering. It was not just water; it was the worst you can imagine with floating ‘debris.’”

Engle’s sewer line had backed up, flooding her unfinished basement with a foul-smelling sludge that oozed from two different drains in the floor. “My first reaction was to laugh — then panic set in,” she says. “First of all, who would possibly be working on Christmas and secondly, how much is this going to cost me if by chance I did find someone?”

After a quick search, she found highly rated Snake ‘N’ Rooter in Lees Summit, Missouri. “The lady who took the call was so nice,” Engle says. “She said a technician would be here in an hour or so and that’s exactly when he arrived. I was absolutely thrilled!”

After two hours of work, and two machines to snake and unclog the drains, the water receded. “Then he cleaned up the mess,” Engle says. “That’s what really got me.” Even her fears of being grossly overcharged were put to rest, as the total cost was $250.

And although the smell took some time to dissipate, Engle says she and her houseguests went with the flow. “We opened windows and kept our coats on until the smell went away,” she says. “They kept asking me if it was my new holiday potpourri. The teasing escalated from there. But you’ve got to keep a sense of humor. What else can you do?”

Related: What should you do if you have a holiday emergency?

Broken oven = failed feast

After spending all of December 23rd preparing for a large family party that would take place at her house in just two days, member Ainslie Groark of Arlington Heights, Illinois, tried turning on her oven to cook a frozen pizza for her son. “It turned on and then turned off,” she says. “At first I thought maybe I didn’t turn it on correctly, so I tried it again. It turned itself off. That’s when I realized there was a problem. What in the world was I going to do?”


After debating whether she could buy a new one and have it delivered on Christmas Eve, she turned to Angie’s List. “Accepting the fact that it would be unlikely I’d be able to get a new oven in time for our party, I decided we should try to fix it,” Groark says, and she called highly rated Park Ridge Appliance Service in Park Ridge, Illinois, first thing Christmas Eve.

Groark says company owner Nick Petrielli answered right away and after describing what had happened, was able to diagnose the problem over the phone, free of charge. “He said he’d be willing to come out and service the oven, but thought I could fix it myself,” she says. “I explained that I was not handy by any means, but Nick said it would be very easy and would walk me through it. It really was very easy, but it would have never occurred to me, in my wildest dreams, that I could fix an oven. I was so relieved.” Groark says she simply had to turn off the electricity, unscrew the front plate of the oven, and reset a switch in order to get it fired up again.

Petrielli says he tries to remain accessible to his customers whenever possible, even if it’s Christmas Eve. “I almost always respond to customer calls and emails the same day, usually within an hour or two,” he says. “If a customer calls with an emergency, I will do my best to talk them through the problem to see if it’s something they can fix themselves.”

Related: Stressed about the holidays? Let a concierge service tackle your to-do list

Even the pros need help

Holiday mishaps can happen to anyone — just ask contractor Frank Bianco, owner of highly rated First Class Home Renovations in Philadelphia. “My wife was making Thanksgiving dinner and the trap broke on my sink,” he says. “And everything was closed. Here I am a contractor, and I’m at Home Depot 10 times a day and I didn’t have a simple S-trap. And it’s not like you can go into a convenience store and get something like that.”

After that experience, Bianco vowed to stock a little bit of everything — just in case. “I realized it was a problem,” he says. “I don’t get a lot of calls on the holidays, but I wanted to have the supplies so people won’t feel like they’re stuck. I can come and help them out.”

Member Maria Avila of San Antonio appreciated the willingness of highly rated Turdminator Plumbing to come and fix her leaky kitchen pipe on a Sunday morning before Christmas. “I had a puddle of water under my sink and kitchen floor,” Avila says. “I was extremely stressed and nervous because it was Christmas week and I was skeptical that anyone would show up.”

Company owner Roger Delgado had to cut through drywall and remove ruined insulation in order to repair the leak, but he says it’s all in a days work. “I’m happy I can offer my customers a sense of relief during the holidays,” he says.

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