7 Tips for Picking the Right Emergency Plumber, Fast

Matt Marandola
Written by Matt Marandola
Updated January 17, 2022
A plumber fixing a bathroom sink
Photo: monkeybusinessimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Plan before you panic over a plumbing disaster

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When it rains it pours, but that doesn’t mean your shower bathtub should be shooting out water as if it’s a firehose at 1 a.m. in the morning. Thankfully, there are emergency plumbers available 24/7 to tackle jobs like these, but you need to pick one that does a great job and keeps your best interest in mind.

Here are seven tips to ensure you choose the right emergency plumbing service, from doing a quick references check to getting names and prices written down beforehand.

1. Check Reviews and Qualifications

First, head over to the company's reviews and see what other customers are saying about them. Third-party review options are preferable, as these reviews tend to have more realistic standards than what a company may post on their own website. 

Also, ensure your plumber is licensed. You’re more likely to forgo looking for licenses in favor of getting the job done quicker during an emergency, but doing this could lead to shoddy work and more repairs down the road. 

2. Know Who You’re Talking With and Who Will Make Your Repairs

When you ring up the plumbing company near you to request emergency services, ask for the name of the person who answers the phone. Also, ask for the name of the plumber who will service your plumbing emergency. Letting someone into your home in the middle of the night or on a holiday will feel intrusive, so it’s better to know their names to prepare.

3. Be Cautious of Plumbing Prices Over the Phone

Don’t rely on any quotes given over the phone. It’s hard to truly know the extent of the damage and repairs before a plumber can inspect the damage.

Because emergencies are outside of normal business hours, you’ll probably incur extra fees. The cost of emergency plumbing services is around $150 extra on average. For example, a normal plumbing emergency on a Monday at 2 p.m., may cost you $500, but a 2 a.m emergency on a Sunday may be at least $650, despite being the same problem.

4. Find a Local Emergency Plumber

A plumber repairing a kitchen sink
Photo: JGI/Tom Grill / Getty Images

While a national chain may have a larger reputation, it may not have local services on call. In the event of a plumbing emergency, hiring a local plumber may lead to a quicker response time, as well as familiarity with the local plumbing codes and regulations.

5. Verify They Have Proper Insurance

Beyond licensing, ensure the plumbing service comes with proper professional and general liability insurance. Insurances ensure that both the plumber and the customer are protected by insurance if a part fails. Going for a plumber without insurance is a surefire way to find yourself in an expensive situation should a repair goes wrong.

6. Look for a Plumbing Service with24/7 Coverage

There’s a difference between emergency services and 24/7 services. For instance, an “emergency plumber” may guarantee someone to your property within a certain amount of time within normal business hours, whereas 24/7 emergency services refer to all hours of response and repairs, even if it’s the middle of the night. Check that your shortlisted plumbers have the type of availability you need.

7. Create a Shortlist of Emergency Plumbers Before There’s an Emergency

We don’t always make the smartest decisions in panic mode. Doing some research ahead of time ensures you won't end up going with the first plumbing company that calls you back when your toilet overflows in the middle of the night. Compile a list of honest, reputable, trained, trustworthy plumbing companies before an emergency—like, right now. Keep the list handy. That way, you’ll know exactly who to invite into your home when an emergency does surface. 

What Classifies as a Plumbing Emergency?

Problems that classify as a plumbing emergency include items in which shutting off the water to your home won’t necessarily fix the problem:

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