Plumbing Emergencies - A Comprehensive Guide For Sydney Residents in 2024

Couple collecting water in buckets dripping from the ceiling; the man is calling an emergency plumber 09

Last Updated: 01/23/24

When plumbing emergencies strike, it's important to be prepared.

But what exactly is considered a "plumbing emergency"? What should you do in the face of one, and what can you expect to pay if you hire an expert in the Greater Sydney area?

As top-rated emergency plumbers in St George servicing Sans Souci, Kogarah and the surrounds, we're here to give you the inside scoop.

What Is Considered A Plumbing Emergency?

A plumbing emergency is any issue related to a plumbing system that requires immediate attention.

Few would argue that a burst pipe or backed up sewer are emergencies requiring immediate attention, but what about fixing your hot water on a cold morning before work? What about a leaking toilet? What if you suspect a dangerous gas leak, but aren't quite sure? Are these emergencies? It depends.

Emergency plumbing can be more accurately defined as any time a plumber comes out immediately and charges a premium for their urgent services. Plumbers assess each situation on a case-by-case basis, and are ultimately the ones to decide what is a true emergency warranting their immediate attention, and what can wait until tomorrow.

In general, anything posing an immediate health and safety hazard, or threat of damage to property is considered a plumbing emergency.

Plumbing issues that are related to convenience, comfort, or business operations may or may not be considered an emergency depending on the plumber's professional assessment. That assessment may even vary based on who you call and their availability at the time.

Common Plumbing Emergencies

Here are some common scenarios that are usually considered plumbing emergencies.

Leaky or Burst Pipes

Leaky or burst pipes are definitive emergencies, leading to rapid flooding and extensive property damage. Immediate action, such as shutting off the main water supply and calling an emergency plumber right away, is essential to mitigate damage.

Damaged or Leaking Gas Line

Gas leaks are serious emergencies due to their health risks. In extreme cases, untreated gas leaks can lead to suffocation and brain damage. On detecting a gas smell, confirm the leak, shut off the gas, ventilate the area, and avoid flames. Immediate professional help is crucial.

Blocked Drains

Blocked drains may seem minor but can escalate to emergencies if they cause unsanitary backflow or significant clogging. When health or property is at risk, urgent professional intervention is necessary.

Hot Water System Issues

There are two types of issues related to hot water systems - the water not getting hot and the water getting too hot.

A hot water system that is not producing enough heat or any heat at all can be a significant inconvenience. Whether it's considered an emergency depends on the situation's context and the professional assessment of your plumber. A business reliant on hot water like a gym or a healthcare facility may face more urgent needs. In a residential setting, hot water failure is oftentimes considered an emergency given its necessity for sanitation and comfort.

The other hot water issue is when the water gets too hot. Since this can result in skin burns, it meets the criteria of "posing an immediate health and safety hazard", thus is considered a plumbing emergency in most cases. Typically, adjusting the water heater thermostat will take care of the water getting too hot. However, if the water continues to get too hot after adjusting the thermostat, then odds are you have a bigger problem and need to call an emergency plumber right away.

Overflowing Toilet Bowl

If your plunger isn't getting the job done, an overflowing toilet can become a big problem. When left untreated, it poses immediate health risks and can cause severe water damage. If you're unable to take care of a clogged toilet yourself, you need to turn your water off and call an emergency plumber right away. After you do those two things, be sure to wash your hands and block off the area until professional help arrives.

Leaking Toilet

Water leaking from the toilet onto the floor is considered a plumbing emergency since it can lead to both property damage and safety hazards.

It can seep below the floors surface, causing wood rot and eventually compromise the structural integrity of the flooring. It also creates a significant slipping hazard and unsanitary conditions.

A toilet leaking water onto the floor can either leak from the base (the bowl) or from the top (the cistern). Regardless of where the leak originates, if it ends up on the floor, it's widely considered a plumbing emergency.

A toilet can also leak from the cistern to the bowl, which isn't as serious but could also be considered an emergency in cases of significant leakage resulting in loud sounds and lots of wasted water.

Clogged Sewer Lines

A clogged sewer line becomes an emergency when it causes backflow or poses a risk of water contamination. Such situations present significant health hazards, requiring immediate action from a licensed emergency plumber.

Sump Pump Failure

In areas like Sydney that are prone to flooding, a failing sump pump during heavy rainfall is a big issue. This situation becomes an emergency if it threatens the safety and integrity of your home, necessitating immediate professional assistance.

Promptly identifying these scenarios as plumbing emergencies is key to protecting your home or business from potential damage.

What Do Emergency Plumbers Charge?

Emergency plumbing services typically come at a premium due to their urgent nature. It can require after hours staff, overtime pay, rearranging of schedules, and immediate sourcing of parts. For these reasons, emergency plumbing in the Greater Sydney region costs about 50% to 100% more than regular plumbing.

If a plumber usually charges a $100 call-out fee and a $150 hourly rate (both standard plumbing rates in Sydney), then they may charge a $150 call out fee and a $250 hourly rate for emergency services.

The average emergency plumbing rates in Sydney in 2024 are as follows:

  • Call-out fee: $120 - $320
  • Hourly rate: $150 - $300

The call-out fee is an upfront charge. It's what it costs to get the plumbers at your door. The hourly rate is typically billed in one-hour intervals.

Related: Sydney Plumbing Cost Guide For 2024

This may seem like a lot, but when your health, safety, or property are at risk; it can be a small price to pay.

The good news is, you can do things to lessen the likelihood of some of these common emergencies.

What To Do In A Plumbing Emergency

When struck with a plumbing emergency, the very first thing that you should do is call a trusted local emergency plumber. They will walk you through any steps that you should take on your own before they get there. For example, if the problem is in the main water supply pipes, they will likely have you turn off the main water supply valve. If you’re dealing with a gas issue, they'll have you open windows and turn off your gas if you're able to do so.

Once the plumbers get there, they'll handle the rest.

Preparing For Plumbing Emergencies

A well-maintained plumbing system will significantly reduce your chance for emergencies. Some basic maintenance on a regular basis will ensure smooth, efficient operation and reduce the likelihood of malfunctioning or breaking due to old or overloaded systems.

However, some emergencies are simply unavoidable. It's always good to have a plan. The most important way to prepare for emergencies is to find a plumber that you like and trust, and have their number saved in your phone. Make sure they're local to your area, are licensed and equipped for plumbing emergencies, and operate 24/7.

During an urgent emergency is hardly the time to try and find a provider. So if you don't already have a trusted emergency plumbing provider, start doing your research.

Who To Call For A Plumbing Emergency

You have lots of options for emergency plumbing providers in the Greater Sydney area. How do you know who to call?

The most important thing to look at is the satisfaction of their past clients. First, ask around to your friends and business partners for a referral. If they've got someone that they like, then they're probably a great choice. Also, check their online reviews. If they have lots of high quality reviews from satisfied customers, odds are you'll be satisfied too.

You also need to make sure they are available 24/7. Some plumbers in Sydney advertise emergency plumbing, but they only offer same day services within normal business hours. Unfortunately, emergencies don't wait to strike until convenient. You need a provider that can show up any time, any day.

Last, you want someone truly local. Most plumbers in Sydney service the entire Greater Sydney region. That's great, but Sydney is a big city. You could both be in Sydney, but be 50km+ and over an hour away from each other. When it comes to an emergency, you want someone that's not just in Sydney, but in your neighbourhood. This ensures they'll be able to show up right away.

Why St George & Sutherland Shire Should Call All Needs Plumbing

We've gone this whole article without talking about ourselves, but we'd be remiss to leave without telling you why we are St George and Sutherland Shire's first choice in emergency plumbing.

Here's why anyone in HurstvilleRockdaleSans Souci, or the surrounds should give us a call for their emergency plumbing needs.

We're Local

As a Sydney-wide plumber located at 12 Phillips Rd, Kogarah NSW 2217, we prioritise local jobs in St George and Sutherland Shire for plumbing emergencies. This ensures we can show up immediately in the midst of urgent local needs.

We're The Area's Top-Rated Provider

With a perfect 5-star rating from 200 happy customers and counting, we'll do everything we can to earn five stars from you too.

We're Licensed, Experienced, & Available 24/7


License Number: 340574c | ABN: 53 634 264 029

We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your urgent plumbing needs. We're fully accredited, and with 10+ years experience, we've got the team and tools to get the job done right.

We Care

Ensuring the safety of you and your assets with reliable plumbing is our top priority. But what sets us apart is the little things. It's the honest pricing, happy team member greeting you at your door, and leaving your place cleaner than it was when we showed up. Those are the reasons we are St George and Sutherland Shire's preferred providers of emergency plumbing.

The Bottom Line

A plumbing emergency is any plumbing issue requiring immediate attention. What is considered an emergency is ultimately determined by the professional assessment of your plumber. The most common emergencies include burst pipes, gas leaks, clogged / overflowing drains, and hot water system failure.

To reduce the likelihood of plumbing emergencies, you can ensure regular maintenance from licensed professionals. However, no one is fully safe from plumbing emergencies, so it's important to find an experienced and accredited provider in advance and have their number ready to call.

If you're in St George or Sutherland Shire, reach out to your local emergency plumbers All Needs Plumbing, so we can show you why we have been the area's first choice for 10 years and counting.

Available 24/7 For Emergency