We will all encounter a plumbing emergency at some point or another as a homeowner or renter. As frustrating and inconvenient as these issues may be, most can be handled swiftly. Sometimes the solution is as simple as a DIY fix while other times you may have to enlist the help of your trusted plumber. Our neighborhoods in Northern Denver can rely on To the T Plumbing to tackle any plumbing issue big or small. 

If you’re in the midst of a plumbing emergency or you simply want to get ahead of the curve to know what potential issues you may encounter in the future, read on. In this article we’ll break down 7 plumbing emergencies and when you’ll need to call a plumber for assistance


There aren’t many issues more unpleasant than dealing with a clogged toilet. Whether it’s simply not flushing or it’s overflowing, this is an emergency best dealt with as soon as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies to this issue you likely already have the tools to complete. Just remember not to flush the toilet if it’s still clogged. This will just pump more water into the toilet and make it overflow more.  

The most popular and well-known method for dealing with a clogged toilet is to use a plunger. Simply create a suction with the opening of the toilet outlet – the hole at the bottom of the bowl – and pump until the clog loosens. 

Another option to unclog a toilet is to create a DIY, safe alternative to Drano. The goal of Drano is to essentially dissolve the clog or help it slip through the pipes easier. You can potentially replicate this effect by pouring hot water, dish soap, or baking soda down the outlet. You can also opt to use a drain snake (aka toilet auger).   


If using a plunger or alternative DIY method doesn’t work, it might be time to call a plumber. A toilet clog could be a symptom of a larger issue if it isn’t easily loosened, such as sewage backup.


Similar to a clogged toilet, a slow drain is likely due to an obstruction or buildup. The culprits in the bathroom are usually hair and product buildup while food is likely the cause in the kitchen sinks. Regardless of the specific source of the clog, it can be a pain to deal with – especially if it’s a recurring issue.   

A plunger or drain snake can be an option to relieve your drain from the clog in most cases. You can also use a 1 part baking soda to 1 cup vinegar solution to try to loosen the clog as well. 


Again, if a plunger doesn’t work you might be experiencing a bigger issue of a buildup that’s deeper in the pipes. That means the clog is so deep in your plumbing system that it will likely require professional tools to extract. You should also call a plumber if you notice more than one clogged drain in your home. This could point to a far greater plumbing emergency you will need a plumber to remedy. 


The sound of a running toilet can be another grating plumbing issue. This might be a more annoying problem than it is damaging to your plumbing but it can still have the potential to run up your utility bill. A slow leak alone can waste up to 30 gallons a day

In most cases, a running toilet is the result of a faulty flapper valve. Lift the lid off the toilet tank and you’ll notice a stopper attached to a chain; this is the flapper valve. Some other issues that might be the cause of a running toilet are the position of the float, buildup due to hard water, or a faulty fill valve. These are all relatively easy fixes someone with the right tool could accomplish.  


If you don’t have the proper skills or know-how to troubleshoot and fix the situation, it’s best to call a plumber. The last thing you want to do is go poking around and unintentionally cause more problems. 


A leaking faucet is another plumbing problem that could waste a lot of money on your utility bill – not to mention how irritating the noise of that drip, drip, drip can be. Typically, a leaking faucet is the result of regular wear and tear. Repairs will likely involve changing out a washer or o-ring. 

With a variety of faucet types out there, there are a few different ways to go about fixing a leak. First, you’ll need to identify which category your sink faucet falls under: cartridge, ball-type, ceramic disk, or compression. From there, you can go on to gather the proper tools and parts necessary to fix the leak.   


Again, if you don’t have the proper tools or are unsure how to properly pull off the repair, err on the side of caution and call in your trusted plumber. 


Nobody wants the rude awakening of ice-cold water when they step into the shower. A lack of hot water is one of the most troubling and pressing plumbing issues you may have the displeasure of experiencing. More times than not, this is caused by an issue with the water heater, an electrical issue, or a burst pipe. There could also be an issue on your utility company’s end so be sure to give them a call too. 

If you run into an issue with your hot water, check to see if anything on your hot water heater was accidentally turned off. It could also be caused by the high-temperature cutoff switch being tripped or a faulty heating element. 


If you can’t fix the problem with a simple flip of a switch, you’ll most likely need to get a plumber on the job. Fixing issues with hot water can be a complicated process. 


Burst pipes can rapidly snowball into more than just a plumbing emergency. They can cause serious water damage, flooding, and, eventually, mold. You might find yourself dealing with a burst pipe in the winter due to freezing temperatures. This is the most common cause of a burst pipe. But they can also occur because of rusted pipes or bad installation. 


Always call a plumber in this scenario! And be sure to do it as soon as you notice a wet spot on your wall or ceiling, a dramatic spike in your electricity bill, or the leak itself. If you don’t act fast, you could have significant home damage on your hands. 


Finally, we have the dreaded sewer system malfunction. When this happens, raw sewage will back up into your home through your shower drain, toilet, kitchen sink, and essentially any drain. It goes without saying that this can be a disastrous, disgusting mess no homeowner wants to deal with. 

Usually, there are several warning signs before things start to get really gross. A sewer system backup will usually precede with a smell seeping through your drains, a gurgling sound, or multiple blocked drains. 


This is another scenario where you should always call your plumber since this is a health hazard. If you notice any of the warning signs listed above, get a professional to your home immediately. Most of the time, if you catch the problem early enough, you can avoid a complete backup.