What To Do in the First 5 Minutes of a Plumbing Emergency

The first 5 minutes of a plumbing emergency are crucial. Quick and correct actions can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major catastrophe. 

This guide aims to be your go-to resource for what to do in the first 5 minutes of various types of plumbing emergencies.

Types of Plumbing Emergencies

Understanding the type of emergency you’re facing is the first step in tackling it effectively. The actions you take in the first 5 minutes can be pivotal. Here’s a comprehensive rundown:

1. Burst Pipes

Burst pipes are a severe issue that can lead to significant water damage in your home. They often occur due to freezing temperatures or old, corroded pipes.

Sink Pipe water leak


  • Sudden loss of water pressure
  • Flooding

Immediate Steps in the First 5 Minutes

  • Locate and shut off the main water valve
  • Call a professional plumber

2. Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can lead to a lack of water flow and are at risk of bursting. They are common in winter months and in poorly insulated homes.

frozen icy down pipe


  • No water flow
  • Visible frost on pipes

Immediate Steps in the First 5 Minutes

  • Identify the frozen section
  • Use a hairdryer to start thawing the pipe

3. Sewer Backups

Sewer backups are not only unpleasant but also pose health risks. They usually occur due to blockages in the sewer line.

emptying septic tank cleaning sewers


  • Foul odour
  • Water backing up into sinks or toilets

Immediate Steps in the First 5 Minutes

  • Stop using all water fixtures
  • Open windows for ventilation

4. Clogged Drains

Clogged drains can lead to water pooling in sinks, bathtubs, or showers. They are often caused by a build-up of hair, grease, or foreign objects.

man using plunger to unclog sink drain in kitchen


  •         Slow draining water
  •         Gurgling sounds

Immediate Steps in the First 5 Minutes

  •         Use a plunger
  •         If unsuccessful, prepare to call a professional

Step-by-Step Guides

Time is of the essence when you’re dealing with a plumbing emergency. Quick and correct actions can save you from costly repairs and potential health risks. Below are quick infographics and videos that guide you through what to do in the first 5 minutes for each type of plumbing emergency.

1. Burst Pipes

Burst pipes can flood your home in minutes. Knowing what to do in the first 5 minutes can save you thousands of AUD in damages.

Key Steps

  1. Locate the Main Water Valve: Usually found near where the main water line enters your home.
  2. Shut Off the Valve: Turn it clockwise to stop the water flow.
  3. Call a Professional Plumber: Time is of the essence; make the call immediately.

2. Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can lead to burst pipes if not dealt with promptly. Thawing the pipe within the first 5 minutes can prevent this.

Key Steps

  1. Identify the Frozen Section: Look for visible frost or feel for especially cold sections.
  2. Start Thawing: Use a hairdryer or hot towels to begin thawing the pipe.
  3. Open Faucet: Open the faucet that the pipe feeds to relieve pressure and help in thawing.

3. Sewer Backups

Sewer backups can pose serious health risks. Immediate action is required to prevent the spread of contaminants.

Key Steps

  1. Stop Using Water Fixtures: Every drain in your home is a potential exit point for the backup.
  2. Ventilate the Area: Open windows and doors to disperse any toxic fumes.
  3. Call for Professional Help: This is not a DIY situation; professional cleaning is required.

4. Clogged Drains

Clogged drains can lead to overflows and are often easier to fix if dealt with immediately.

Key Steps

  1. Use a Plunger: A plunger can often dislodge any minor clogs.
  2. Check Drain Trap: If accessible, check the drain trap for visible clogs.
  3. Prepare to Call a Professional: If the clog persists, get ready to call for professional help.

Local Emergency Plumbing Services: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane

If you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane, our emergency plumbing services can reach you quickly. Time is of the essence in plumbing emergencies, and we’re here to help.

Why Choose Our Services?

  1. Rapid Response Time: Our team is on standby 24/7, ensuring that we can reach you within the first critical minutes of your plumbing emergency.
  2. Skilled Professionals: Our plumbers are certified and trained to handle all types of plumbing emergencies, giving you peace of mind that you’re in capable hands.
  3. Upfront Pricing: We provide transparent pricing with no hidden charges. All prices are in AUD, so you know exactly what to expect.
  4. State-of-the-Art Equipment: We use the latest plumbing technology to diagnose and fix your problems efficiently and effectively.

Areas We Serve

  • Sydney: Covering all suburbs, from the Eastern Suburbs to the Western Suburbs.
  • Melbourne: Serving all areas, including the CBD, Northern Suburbs, and Southern Suburbs.
  • Brisbane: We’ve got you covered, from the Inner Suburbs to the Outer Suburbs.

How to Reach Us

Call Us Now

  • Online: Fill out our online contact form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Book an Appointment

  • Email: Send us an email at [email protected] for a one-click emergency service request.

Case Studies

Real-life examples can offer invaluable insights into how quick thinking and immediate action can make a significant difference in a plumbing emergency. Below are case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of acting within the first 5 minutes.

Case Study 1: How Mr. Archibald in Sydney Saved Thousands of AUD

Situation: Mr. Archibald was at home when he suddenly noticed a significant drop in water pressure and heard the sound of rushing water. Realising he had a burst pipe, he acted swiftly.

Actions Taken:

  1. Located the Main Water Valve: Within 1 minute, Mr. Archibald located and shut off the main water valve to stop the flooding.
  2. Called for Professional Help: He immediately called our emergency plumbing services.
  3. Removed Valuables: While waiting for the plumber, he moved valuable items away from the affected area.


  • Quick Response: Our team arrived within 20 minutes and fixed the burst pipe.
  • Cost Savings: By acting quickly, Mr. Archibald prevented extensive water damage, saving thousands of AUD in potential repair costs.

Case Study 2: Mrs. Beaumont in Melbourne Prevented a Sewer Backup

Situation: Mrs. Beaumont started noticing a foul odour and water backing up into her sinks and toilets. She quickly referred to our guide and took immediate action.

Actions Taken:

  1. Stopped Using Water Fixtures: Mrs. Beaumont stopped using all water fixtures to prevent further backup.
  2. Ventilated the Area: She opened all the windows to disperse the foul odour.
  3. Called for Professional Help: Realising the severity, she called our emergency services.


  • Immediate Action: Our team arrived and promptly cleared the sewer line, preventing a full-blown sewer backup.
  • Health Risks Averted: By acting quickly, Mrs. Beaumont prevented potential health risks associated with sewer backups.

Additional Resources

  • Downloadable ‘First 5 Minutes Emergency Action Plan’: Don’t leave it to memory; keep this action plan handy for any future emergencies.

[Download Action Plan Here]

Conclusion: Act Fast, Stay Informed

The first 5 minutes in a plumbing emergency are not just critical; they can be decisive in determining the extent of damage and cost of repairs. This comprehensive guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and resources you need to take immediate and effective action.

Why the First 5 Minutes Matter

  1. Cost Savings: Quick action can save you thousands of AUD in potential damages.
  2. Health and Safety: In cases like sewer backups, immediate steps can prevent health risks.
  3. Damage Control: The sooner you act, the less damage you’re likely to incur.

What You’ve Learned

  • Types of Emergencies: From burst pipes to clogged drains, knowing the type of emergency can guide your actions.
  • Expert Opinions: Tips from professionals like Mike Rowe can be invaluable.
  • Interactive Quiz: A quick and fun way to identify your plumbing emergency.
  • Local Services: If you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane, our rapid response team can reach you quickly.
  • Real-World Examples: Case studies of Mr. Archibald and Mrs. Beaumont show the importance of quick action.

Next Steps

  1. Download Our Emergency Action Plan: Keep this guide handy for any future emergencies.
  2. Bookmark This Page: You never know when you might need it.
  3. Share with Friends and Family: The more people know, the safer our homes will be.

Contact Us

Need an emergency plumber in Australia? Don’t hesitate; every second counts. Call us at 02 9199 7430 or contact us online for immediate assistance.


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