Go Back

Worst Plumbing Emergencies To Happen in the Dead of Winter

3 Plumbing Disasters That Require Emergency Plumbing Services

Plumbing disasters are never easy or pleasant to deal with. But the frigid temperatures of an Illinois winter can make any plumbing emergency much more immediate. Whether it's burst pipes, a gas leak, or a backed-up sewer, a plumbing emergency in the dead of winter means a plumber is needed, and they're needed NOW. That's why it's a good idea to have in mind a reliable local plumbing company that offers emergency plumbing services. Rather than scramble to find a trustworthy, competent plumber, homeowners should already know who to call for winter plumbing emergencies.

There are a few different types of plumbing emergencies, but here are the most common, the most dangerous, and the worst to experience on a cold winter night.

Damaging Burst Pipes

When the temperature drops below freezing, as it often will during Illinois winters, water pipes become susceptible to freezing and bursting. When the water inside a pipe freezes, it expands, creating a buildup of pressure. That pressure may cause a crack in the pipe from which water will leak. This is what is known as a burst pipe.


The leak from a burst pipe may be a subtle, slow drip, which is dangerous because it will often go unnoticed for a long time. During that time, the leak will be causing water damage behind walls and under floors. A burst pipe can also be more dramatic, with great gushes of water flooding throughout the home, damaging walls, flooring, furniture, and valuables. Both situations can drive up the water bill and require expensive repairs.

There are ways to prevent burst pipes, but when all else fails and a homeowner is in the midst of a plumbing disaster, it's helpful to know of a plumbing company that offers 24/7 emergency plumbing services.

Deadly Gas Leaksyellow sign

A gas leak can happen anywhere there is gas service to the home, either natural gas or propane. Household appliances that often require gas include the furnace, heaters, oven and stove, water heater, and dryer. These appliances are typically connected to metal gas supply pipes with corrugated stainless steel tubing. A gas leak can originate from a loose or poorly sealed connection, faulty threads, a worn or cracked supply line, or corroded pipes. 

Both natural gas and propane are highly combustible, which means that gas leaks are potentially deadly. Natural gas and propane have an additive that makes them smell bad, making it easier to detect a leak. Nevertheless, a slow, minor leak may not be noticed right away, allowing dangerous gasses to build up in the home.

For homeowners that suspect there is a gas leak in their home, it's important to seek emergency assistance right away. After the home has been deemed safe, a plumber can help make any necessary repairs to gas lines.

Dangerous Sewer Backup

The main sewer line is a pipe that runs underneath the home that carries all wastewater to the city sewer line. Sewer lines are susceptible to clogs formed of hard waste, dirt, hair, and soap residue, and roots or shifts in the earth can damage the pipes. If the main sewer line is damaged or clogged, wastewater will back up into the home's drains or possibly even cause a flood.

A sewer backup is dangerous because it can contaminate the water supply. Bacteria and other harmful microorganisms that thrive in wastewater could end up in the drinking water, which is a health hazard. This danger is in addition to the possible water damage that can happen if the sewer lines flood the home.

A professional plumber can help homeowners prevent a sewer backup in the first place, but a plumbing company that offers emergency services should be the first call made if faced with backed-up sewer lines.

Rely on S and J Plumbing

S and J Plumbing is there when homeowners need them most, offering 24-hour emergency service to Arlington Heights, IL and the surrounding areas. Their fully-trained plumbers are experienced with a range of services and have earned their five-star reputation by providing quality workmanship and personalized solutions that fit every budget. Call now for plumbing services!