The following is a list of possible plumbing emergencies for your reference. However, not every condition on the list will necessarily be an emergency. You should always use your best judgment to determine if action needs to be taken immediately or if it can wait until later.

Emergency Plumbing Actions: When in doubt, call a plumber! If you have no experience with plumbing repairs, you could cause more damage than good.

If water is flooding the emergency area, turn off the main water supply to prevent further damage.

Before making a trip to a store, purchase new supplies needed for a minor repair job. This way, if there isn’t an emergency, you will have everything you need, and if there is, you won’t have to make a stop in the middle of your repair.

If it is after hours or on a holiday when most stores are closed, and proper supplies are not available, place items needed in an empty plastic milk jug with clear directions. Write down what needs to be done and leave it in plain sight for anyone who may need to find what is required.

Cleaning supplies:

-Rubber Gloves (heavy-duty)

-Bucket with soapy water and sponge

-Steel scrub brush or coarse pad


-Clean cloths or towels

-Plunger (if the clog is not above the floor level)

-Small plumbers snake (if the clog is above the floor level and a plunger doesn’t work)

If a toilet:

-Flush as much water out of the bowl as possible before beginning. This will reduce splashing when plunging. Remove standing water by scooping with a cup or pouring water from a bucket.

-Use a plunger with a flange (rubber seal) around the bottom outer edge. Plunging action needs to be forceful and efficient to create enough water jet propulsion to clear clogs. Completely cover drain opening with rubber seal before dipping. The suction created by plunging is potent and can cause damage to a PVC or clay drain.

-If that doesn’t work, try reaming the clog out with a plumbers snake (a stiff wire coiled into a spiral). Feed it down to remove obstructions.

-If both are plunging and reaming and repeat flushing fail, it may be time to call a plumber.

If it is a tub/shower:

-Tub drains are often accessible without having to remove the drain cover. Keep your tools in the tub for easy access. If standing water in the tub can’t be removed with an open-end wrench, carefully scoop it out with a cup.

-Sometimes, a simple plunger will force the blockage to maneuver around the bend and go down the drain. This can take some patience while repeatedly plunging while flushing to clear obstructions.


For more information on plumbing emergencies, contact Vinny’s Jersey Plumbing, located in Wayne, New Jersey.  We also service other towns in New Jersey, such as West Orange, Rutherford and Cedar Grove.