In the pipeline - DIY Plumbing Tip #9 - Questions to ask an emergency plumber

April 16 2014

​Significant and costly mistakes can be made when engaging an emergency plumber and the following tips will assist greatly in choosing the right contractor.

Top five questions to ask before engaging the emergency plumber.

1. What is the cost of this service? The correct answer should be fixed price with a specified time.

2. How long will you take for you to arrive? You would expect 30-60 minutes.

3. What is the experience of the contractor? if the answer is five years or more then this is good.

4. Does your company provide specialist services. If they answer  specialists in leak detection, roof repairs, blocked drains,  gutter cleaning etc..then this is also good.

5. Will your company to complete the job after hours. Precautions must be taken in this area due many contractors trying to increase after hours spend at the most expensive charge out rate.

** tips on how to deal with the plumbing emergency while waiting for your emergency plumber to arrive.

a. If you have blocked drains in Melbourne, then stop using any water, if you are in a multilevel complex ask the residents occupiers of upper levels to stop using water until the emergencyplumber arrives.

b. If you have water flooding through your ceiling, place a large container under the leak, a large container the most properties will have will be a wheelie bin, utilise towels and brooms to divert the water flow. 

c. If you can smell gas or have a gas leak emergency, extinguish all flames, open windows and doors to ventilate the area, turn off the stop tap at the gas meter and wait/call your Gas supply authority or emergency plumber for further guidance.

d. If you have a major water leak and water is flooding, try to find a stop tap or water meter externally to shut off the water, a water meter is often found along the front edge of a property just inside the fence line, turn on garden taps externally or over a bath to relieve pressure/divert water flow, utilise brooms and towels to divert water ,look for a shut off tap next to the hot water service.

e. If you have a water flooding or running through electrics. Do not use electrical appliances or lights, shut/turnoff power supply at main meter, do not walk into an area where water is lying on the ground, wear rubber soled shoes, Call the emergency plumber or your power Authority for further guidance.

The common tricks utilised by emergency plumbing contractors to overcharge include,,

*The emergency plumber exaggerates/escalates the problem and insists large/expensive repairs  must be done quickly. 

*The emergency plumber does not  utilise a simple cost-effective strategy to deal with the emergency situation.


Many plumbers in Melbourne utilise and exaggerate the extent of the plumbing problems to increase their business return. It is unusual that a plumber in Melbourne will carry out cost-effective emergency plumbing with the ultimate aim being goodwill rather than short-term price gouging. A property we attended  recently In Brighton had called in the local emergency plumbing contractor from the neighbouring suburb of Hampton. This emergency plumber had attended due to blocked drains, he did not clear the blocked drains and insisted that CCTV and jet cleaning of the drains be urgently carried out. We were called in when the resident ‘smelt a rat’ and we were called to the property early the following morning. The blocked drain was in fact in South East Water’s area and not in the clients sewer drainage system. We organised south-east water to attend and clear the drain and provided a fixed price quote to CCTV inspect the sewer drain and found no problems. Many plumbers in Melbourne utilise the scare and exaggeration technique to increase Short term business return and don’t consider and think about goodwill.

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