One challenge that many homeowners face is the difficulty of determining what constitutes an actual plumbing emergency versus what can wait for regular business hours. For many homeowners, this is an important distinction because of the additional costs associated with an emergency plumbing call. Here's a look at what you need to know about the plumbing issues that warrant a call for emergency plumbing services.

Broken Pipes

A broken pipe is definitely classified as a plumbing emergency. Not only can a broken pipe lead to flooding in your home and subsequent water damage, but it can also cost you significantly in wasted water. If you have a pipe that's broken and leaking, the first thing you should do is turn off the shut-off valve for that particular section of the pipes so that you cut off the water flow to the area. Then, clean up the standing water and reach out to a plumber right away.

If there's no shut-off valve in the immediate area of the broken pipe, you should shut off the water to the entire house through the main shut-off valve. While this will mean not having running water anywhere in the house while you await the plumber, it will protect your home from excessive water damage.

Frozen Pipes

One of the biggest issues that many homeowners experience is frozen pipes. Whether it's due to insulation issues, lack of heating, or any other problems, a frozen pipe is a serious concern. When water freezes, it expands. This expansion can cause your pipes to crack, which will lead to leaks and water damage in the house when the pipes thaw out.

If you have a pipe that's frozen, you should reach out to an emergency plumber immediately. Your plumber will help you to thaw the pipes carefully to ensure that you avoid water damage, and will address any damage to the frozen pipes once everything is thawed.

Drain Backups

While most homeowners are familiar with slow drains and clearing clogs from the drain lines, many don't realize that severe clogs can actually lead to drain backups. If you run water in the sink and find that it's backing up into your bathtub or another sink in the house, that's a serious concern. That backup indicates that your main drain is clogged and cannot drain correctly.

You'll need to call an emergency plumber right away for help with addressing the problem. He or she will have to clear the blockage in the main drain to restore the proper drain flow in your home. 

These are plumbing issues that you should never ignore and should warrant a call to an emergency plumber. For more information about emergency plumbing, contact a plumber in your area.