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  • Emergency Plumber Cost

    Want to know the cost of an emergency plumber?

    Emergency plumbing repair costs can vary wildly, but they tend to be split into two parts:

    • A callout fee
    • The charge for completing the work

    The average cost for an emergency plumber’s callout charge is about £75, then £60 per hour to do the work.

    No matter how long it takes, most plumbers will charge for one hour’s work at a minimum. If the job looks like it will take a whole day, most plumbers will charge a day rate, averaging at about £400 per day.

    Need more details? Countine reading below...

    plumbing topimage

    The average cost for an emergency plumber is:

    There is no average time for a plumbing job, as they can vary hugely.


    How Much Does an Emergency Plumber Cost?

    Emergency plumbing repair costs depend on four factors: the distance from the plumber’s location to the job, the complexity of the job, how long it takes (charged hourly, or at a plumber’s day rate), and the cost of any parts required.

    The quoted cost will be divided into two parts – a callout charge and hourly/day rate. Then there may be an additional cost added to your bill if any parts need to be ordered to complete the job.

    Further to this, the time of year or time of day may affect your final bill – a callout on Christmas Day or at 3am is likely to incur a larger callout fee than at a standard time on a weekday.

    At this point it is worth mentioning that whatever the cost, an emergency plumber can save you a lot of money in the long run – water damage, rot and mould, as a result of a plumbing issue, will cost a lot more to repair than the initial problem alone.

    Fee Small Job (<1hr) Medium Job (3hrs) Full day Job (7hrs)
    Callout fee £75 £75 £75
    Full cost of labour £60 £180 £380
    Total cost £135 £255 £455

    Emergency Plumber Prices

    There are many reasons for calling out an emergency plumber, some of the more common of which are:

    Plumbing Service Labour Charge (average) Length of Job (average)
    Gas leak/repairing gas pipes £165 1 – 2 hours
    Boiler breakdown £275 1 – 2 hours (simple job)
    Loss of boiler pressure £182 30 – 60 minutes
    Blocked/overflowing toilet £100 30 – 60 minutes
    Blocked sink £100 30 – 60 minutes
    Broken pipe £100 2 – 3 hours
    Sewer back up £175 1 – 2 hours
    Hot water tank repair £400 1 – 2 days
    Blocked drain £175 2 – 3 hours

    Emergency Plumbing Material Costs

    If you need an emergency plumber, they should arrive with a basic toolkit providing the most common materials to stop the problem in its tracks (e.g., patch repair a broken pipe). However, a professional, experienced and skilled plumber will often carry the materials to do a full fix – e.g. permanently repair or replace the broken pipe.


    Most plumbers will also have a supply of basic materials with them which they can use to repair the most common faults on site, but more specialised parts may need to be purchased to do a full repair.

    Your plumber may include some of the materials they expect to use in their guide quote, but most will just quote for their anticipated work time and add any additional materials on at the end.

    As a guide, this is what you can expect to pay for common plumbing materials:

    General Materials Cost to customer Item Function
    Copper pipes £4 - £6 p/metre The copper conducts heat, so using copper pipes helps to keep hot water hot whilst it moves around the house.
    Steel pipes £2 - £50 p/metre Zinc galvanised steel pipes resist rust/corrosion. But they will eventually corrode due to mineral deposits clogging the pipe.
    New radiators £15 - £600 To replace old, broken or inefficient radiators.
    New toilet £45 - £350 To replace old or broken toilets.
    New sink £36 - £230 To replace old or broken sinks.

    This is what you can expect to pay for boiler specific materials. These costs will typically be more expensive and may take some time to be ordered and arrive.

    Boiler Specific Materials Cost to customer Item Function
    New boiler £500 - £1,700 To replace an existing boiler which cannot be repaired, or when repair of an existing boiler would cost more than the price of a new one.
    Heat exchanger £300 - £650 This transfers heat from the gas in your boiler to the water circulating around the system.
    Diverter valve £25 - £200 This opens and closes, allowing or restricting the amount of hot water travelling through your central heating system.
    Magnetic filter £110 - £220 This is used to attract any bits of metal and debris floating through the pipes, preventing blockages.
    Gas valve £70 - £240 This controls the amount and flow of gas to the pilot light and burner in your boiler.
    Fan £65 - £260 The fan is used to create a draught, which is then used to push harmful gases out of the flue pipe connected to the boiler.
    Heating pump £100 - £200 This is the part which pumps hot water around the central heating system, via the radiators, and back to the boiler.
    Air pressure
    £20 - £60 The pressure switch recognises whether the fan is running, thus making sure all waste gases have been emptied from the system.
    Flue £40 - £50 This is the pipe which allows the waste gases and steam to flow from the boiler to outside your house.
    Timer £45 - £150 This allows the user to decide when your heating will come on and go off.

    Emergency Plumber Callout Charges

    When you need to call an emergency plumber, you will be told of two charges up front: the callout charge, and the hourly or day rate. Once your plumbing issue has been assessed you may also be told that materials are required, the cost of which will be added to your final bill.

    Callout charges vary depending on how far the plumber has to travel, the area of the country you live in, as well as the individual plumber’s rates. However, you can work off an average callout fee of about £75.

    This fee is to pay for the plumber’s petrol costs, as well as the inconvenience of the callout – if the plumber has to get up at 3am on a bank holiday to visit you, they need to be sure it is worth their while.


    After quoting the callout charge, your plumber will also let you know how much they charges for their time – depending on the type, complexity and size of the job, they may charge an hourly rate or a daily rate.

    The hourly rate will be for smaller jobs, and the daily rate (which works out cheaper per hour than the hourly rate) will be for longer jobs.

    You should be aware, when working out how much the job might cost you, that even if the plumber can fix your problem in five minutes, they will usually charge for that first hour. After that you may only pay per 15 minutes of work – but this will change with each plumber.

    Once your plumber has quoted the callout charge and their hourly/daily rate, the only additional costs will be for any materials they need to use to complete your job. For any small materials that are cheap to replace, they will likely include these in the cost of the work, but anything larger will be added to your bill.

    An experienced and professional plumber should give you the options of different priced materials so you can fit them to your budget.

    Cost Factors of Emergency Plumbing

    There are lots of things which can affect how much an emergency plumber is going to cost you – some of these you can anticipate, but many you can’t. For instance, you can phone 3 – 4 emergency plumbers and find out their callout and labour charges, and you can often choose the quality of materials you want, useful if you have a particular budget or longevity in mind.

    However, other costs are harder to prepare for – how challenging the job will be to complete, how long it will take, how easy it is to access the relevant pipework and whether the work is a temporary fix or a full repair.

    Who You Hire

    This is fairly obvious, but different plumbers charge different rates and it will be up to you to compare your quotes. If you’re looking for a quick fix, a cheaper, less experienced/trainee plumber might be sufficient. However, if you want a long-term solution to a complex problem, your money will be better spent on a qualified and experienced plumber.

    Each plumber will not only charge different hourly/daily rates based on experience, but also on their overheads. Another factor in the cost of who you hire is how far they will have to travel to get to you – the further they are away, the more they will charge for callout, and they may well be unwilling to travel over a certain distance.

    Materials Needed

    Your plumbing problem more than likely will have to be fixed using materials, and unless these materials are cheap and in abundant supply with the plumber, they will charge you for them.

    You may have some say in the materials used – e.g., the type of thermostat you need, or model of boiler – but the plumber may just choose the ones that are most suitable for the job.

    The Type of Job

    Some plumbing work is straight forward, and your plumber will likely be well versed in how the problem can be resolved. For example, an overflowing/overfilling toilet may only be due to a handful of factors, and once each of these has been tried the problem may be resolved.


    A more complex job will not only require a more experienced plumber, but may also take longer to evaluate and fix, both of which will cost more money.

    Ease of Access

    If you have a leak under the bath in your bathroom, but the bath is fully boxed in and tiled, it’s going to take much longer for the plumber to gain access and assess the issue; it will also cost extra afterwards to repair the damage.


    The size of a plumbing issue may at first seem obvious – a full flood vs a dripping tap – however, any problem that arises could be just a symptom of a larger problem hidden in the pipework. Likewise, unless you’re familiar with plumbing, the complexity of a job will be difficult to estimate.

    But whichever it is, a more experienced plumber and/or a longer time to complete the job will increase the overall cost of the job.

    Emergency cover & Insurance

    If you have home emergency cover, you will probably have your plumbing system, and boiler/central heating covered under your policy. However, every company’s policies differ, and whether your plumbing issue counts as an emergency will change between insurers.

    You will need to review your documentation, once your plumber has established the issue, to see whether you’re covered.

    Temporary Fix

    Some emergency plumbing jobs can be fixed on the spot, with a fix that will last for a number of days/weeks/months – this is to give you time to callout a standard plumber to complete the job. However, you may want the job finishing there and then, and as such you will need to factor in the additional work, materials etc.

    Types of Emergency Plumbing Jobs

    There are lots of emergency plumbing jobs, but below are the most common ones, along with how you can identify if you have a problem, how you can prevent a future problem, and what is entailed in fixing it.

    Blocked Toilet Cost

    If your toilet doesn’t flush, the water doesn’t go down, water gurgles in your shower/bath drain (including when using water based appliances like washing machines), or you see liquids coming out of the sewer clean-out outside your home, you know you have a blocked toilet (or sewer line).

    The causes of these problems are usually a blockage in the toilet trap (e.g. flushed toys or too much toilet roll), old pipes with restricted flow, or toilets without enough water pressure to properly flush.

    You can easily prevent many of these issues by being careful about what is flushed – keeping a bin next to the toilet might be a good prompt to throw things in the rubbish instead of down the toilet.

    If you need to hire an emergency plumber to resolve your blocked toilet issue, it will likely take around 1 hour, so including the callout you’ll probably be charged about £175. It is unusual for a toilet blockage to need more than standard plumbing tools to repair, so you likely won’t incur a bill for materials.

    Blocked Sink Cost

    Like with a blocked toilet, a blocked sink usually occurs when something has gone down it that shouldn’t have. In bathrooms this is usually hair and small items (hair bobbles, rings, cotton buds etc), and in kitchens this is usually grease, oil, and bits of food.


    Most of these problems are easily preventable by getting a drain protector, also known as a hair trap or sink strainer – your hair and food get caught in the trap and can be easily emptied into a bin. When you have oil or fat to get rid of, this should go into your rubbish bin or food recycling if possible.

    Where you are concerned at pouring a liquid into your rubbish, you can let melted fats solidify before you put them in, and you can pour up to a cup of oil down your drain so long as you’ve diluted it with hot water and mixed it with some washing up liquid to break it down.

    As with the blocked toilet, unblocking a sink should take less than an hour, and won’t require additional materials, so you’re looking at a bill of about £175 for the callout and repair.

    Toilet Replacement Cost

    if your toilet is constantly getting clogged, has cracks in the porcelain, needs a lot of repairing, is very old, wobbles, doesn’t flush very well, and has a large build-up of mineral deposits, you’d be strongly advised to replace your toilet. There isn’t really any way to prevent most of these issues unless it is a lack of care that has caused them.

    If you need to replace your toilet, you will have four things to pay for: your plumber’s callout charge, hourly rate, the new toilet, and the materials needed to fix it. It takes between 1 and 4 hours to replace a toilet depending on experience and the type of toilet, so your labour charge will be between £60 and £250.

    The toilet itself will cost between £45 - £350 and the materials needed (closet bolts, washers, nuts, toilet shims, wax ring, rubbish bags, water solidifier, and flange repair kit) will come to approximately £50, though it may come to more or less depending on the amount needed, whether your plumber has any in stock, and whether they can get a group of items together.

    Add to this your average callout charge of £75, and your total bill will be between £230 and £725.

    Tap Replacement Cost

    If any taps in your house are rusting, cracked, leaking, wobbly, stained, encrusted with limescale or have loose parts, it’s probably time to replace them with new ones.

    There isn’t much you can do to prevent most of these wear and tear issues, except to regularly remove any limescale build-ups and tighten up loose parts where possible.

    Replacing a tap in an emergency will, like when replacing a toilet, have four separate charges on your bill: the callout charge, the labour charge, the tap cost, and the cost of any additional materials. Replacing the taps should only take between 1 and 3 hours, so your labour charge will be £60 - £180.

    tap replacement

    The taps themselves can be as basic or ornate as you’d like, and your plumber may be able to get some at trade price to use as emergency replacements, so you could be looking at between £10 and £250.

    You may not need any additional materials, as the anti-rotational washer (used to stabilise the tap) should be included with the new taps, and your plumber will likely have in stock a new fibre washer – however they may charge you a couple of pounds for this.

    If you add up these costs, plus the average one-off callout fee, your emergency plumber could charge between £145 and £650 to replace your tap.

    Leaking Radiator Cost

    The leak in your radiator may be due to an underlying fault within your central heating, causing corrosion within the radiator itself. There could be some loose parts causing the leaking, or just worn out pieces that need replacing. Either way, you will need to have the relevant parts fixed and/or replaced.

    So long as the leak is fairly simple to repair, a plumber should be able to complete the job in 1 to 3 hours. There will likely be no charge for materials, as often a repair only requires tightening or loosening of nuts, bolts and washers, plus some PTFE tape and sealant to ensure a watertight finish. However, you may need a replacement radiator valve which will cost between £4 and £55. As you will not need a new radiator at this stage, your final bill will be your callout charge, labour cost and potentially a new valve, coming to between £139 and £310.

    Thermostatic Radiator Valve installation Cost

    Having TRVs installed onto your radiators will allow you to control the temperature for each individual room – an important function if you have particularly cold living area which needs heating, but a south facing bedroom which needs to stay cool. As well as installing new TRVs onto your central heating system, your plumber can also replace a single faulty or broken TRV.

    These can result in your central heating being permanently on, permanently off, or rooms being very hot or cold. You can get an old-style analogue TRV, which you rotate to turn the temperature up or down, and a new one of these can cost as little as £13. However, a digital, or smart, TRV will cost you up to about £90 for a single replacement unit.


    Your TRV might break for a number of reasons – often the older style analogue ones will stick, meaning you can’t change the temperature, and they can also be less quick to react when you change their heat setting, meaning you don’t get the results when you want them.

    There isn’t a way to fix a TRV yourself, other than trying to warm the old-style ones with a hair dryer to try and encourage the wax inside them to soften and function better.

    If you want a plumber to install a single TRV, or replace a broken one, you will need to pay the usual callout fee, as well as the cost of the new TRV unit. They are very quick to change, so a plumber should be able to do it within the first hour of the visit, charging for a single hour’s labour, or about £60.

    Your plumber shouldn’t need any additional materials to complete the job, so your final cost for the installation or replacement, of a single TRV unit will be between £148 and £225.

    Radiator Installation Cost

    The reasons for replacing a radiator are similar to those for replacing other central heating parts – rusting, corrosion, inefficiency, leaks, damage and worn out components. There isn’t much a homeowner can do to keep their radiators from breaking/needing replacement.

    If you regularly bleed your radiators to remove air from the system, your radiators will stay as efficient as they can be. But general wear and tear, age etc will cause all radiators to eventually need replacing.

    A professional plumber should be able to replace or install a radiator in between 1 and 3 hours. This will cost between £60 and £180, which will need to be added on to the cost of the callout.


    A new radiator will vary hugely in price, between a small sized, classic design convection one – at around £15 - to a larger, more efficient and technologically advanced one, at around £600.

    The materials needed to do the job will be some new radiator brackets and PFTE tape, at a cost of a couple of pounds in total, which your plumber may not add to your bill. So, your entire bill for the job should be between £150 and £855.

    Hot Water Tank Repair Cost

    A faulty hot water tank will cause some fairly obvious problems in your household, which indicate a need to repair or replace. You may have an unusual smell in the hot water, gritty or discoloured water, unusual sounds when running hot water, insufficient hot water, a leaking tank or faulty/leaking TPR valves (the safety valves which ensures that pressure and temperate in the tank remain at safe levels).

    It should be noted that unless the temperature and pressure relief valve is faulty, you are going to need to replace your tank.

    To keep your hot water tank in good condition, you should ideally partially drain it on a regular basis to remove any debris or sediment which has accumulated. Keep your thermostat at a lower temperature – this will not only save you money on your energy bills but will also prevent scalding.

    You should also leave plenty of room around the heater itself (ideally around 60cm) and test your TPR valve yearly. If your hot water tank is inefficient you can insulate it, as well as insulating the pipes themselves.

    To replace your hot water tank with a similar model, a plumber will likely need an entire day. However, if you’re looking to upgrade, it may take two plumbers an entire day. That means your callout charge could be doubled, as could your labour charges – that means that one plumber for one day might cost (callout plus labour) about £455, but two plumbers for one day will be closer to £900.

    There are few materials needed to complete the job – some flexible hoses, PTFE tape, solder, and dielectric connectors. These should total around £35. The tank itself might cost between £150 and £900, which means that in total the bill for replacing your tank will be between £640 and £1,835.

    Leaking Boiler Cost, and Other Boiler Repairs

    There are many issues which can contribute to a boiler emergency. Your boiler could be losing pressure, you’ve got a water or gas leak, or you’re left with no heating and no hot water in the midst of a cold winter.

    There are ways you can help prevent a boiler emergency, but these won’t rule out future issues. Firstly, getting an annual boiler service should resolve any minor issues before they grow into big problems.

    Secondly, turn your boiler on in the summer – although having it switched off can reduce your energy usage, it can cause boiler parts to seize up when they are eventually turned back on. You should regularly bleed your radiators to ensure there is no trapped air in your system and take preventative measures to stop your pipes from freezing over winter.

    Finally, having your central heating system power flushed gets rid of any deposits in your system, such as sludge and rust.

    You can go one of three ways with boiler repairs – you can pay ad-hoc for any issues as they arise, you can pay for a ‘fixed fee boiler repair,’ or you can sign up for a pay-monthly boiler repair service.

    Service Advantages Disadvantages Cost
    Ad- hoc repairs ✔ No problems, no payments. ✖ Potentially expensive for callouts and repairs. See below.
    Fixed fee ✔ Peace of mind knowing you won’t have a large bill.
    ✔ You may get a partial refund if the problem isn’t fixed.
    ✖ You will be charged the same amount whether you have a large problem or small. So, you may pay more for a smaller job. £250 - £350 (per job)
    Monthly subscription ✔ Like the fixed fee, you know your cost up front.
    ✔ Peace of mind knowing your boiler will be fixed without a large bill.
    ✖ Problem may not be covered.
    ✖ Possible time limit on repairs.
    ✖ Limits on claims per year.
    £3 - £25 (per month)

    If you decide to go for the ad-hoc approach to boiler repair, your bills are going to vary wildly depending on the job. The hourly/daily labour and callout charges will be the same, so the variance there will only be the amount of time it takes to complete the job. And if you’re not buying any large appliances/products (like radiators, fridge/freezers etc), it is the materials which will further change your final bill.

    Boiler issue Replacement parts / materials Cost of materials Time Cost of labour Approx. total cost
    Heat not being moved from the gas to the water Heat exchanger £300 - £650 1 – 3 hours £60 - £180 £435 - £905
    Hot water is being sent to all system areas at once. Diverter valve £25 - £200 1 – 3 hours £60 - £180 £160 - £455
    Slow water flow Magnetic filter £110 - £220 1 – 3 hours £60 - £180 £245 - £475
    Hot water doesn’t arrive at your tap when you need it. Gas valve £70 - £240 1 – 3 hours £60 - £180 £205 - £495
    Overheating boiler Fan £65 - £260 1 – 3 hours £60 - £180 £220 - £575
    Overheating boiler Air pressure switch £20 - £60 1 – 3 hours £60 - £180 £150 - £360
    Hot water takes a long time to get to the end of your system or doesn’t arrive at all. Heating pump £100 - £200 1 – 3 hours £60 - £180 £235 - £455
    Fumes from the boiler entering your home instead of going outside Flue £40 - £50 3 – 8 hours £180 - £380 £295 - £505
    The heating comes on and goes off at random times. Timer £45 - £150 1 hour £60 £180 - £285

    Gas Leak Cost

    Gas leaks are usually easy to diagnose. The smell of sulphur, the dead houseplants, the bubbles in your water, plus hissing, whistling and dust clouds near a gas line are clear signs that shouldn’t be ignored.

    Further indicators of a gas leak are pilot lights frequently blowing out, soot or scorch marks on your boiler, an orange or yellow coloured flame (instead of blue) and excess condensation on the windows around your boiler. If it is carbon dioxide that is leaking, you may feel dizzy or nauseated – if so, go outside and if your symptoms disappear it may be carbon dioxide poising causing your symptoms.

    You can prevent gas leaks by making sure, firstly, that your appliance has been installed by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You should also regularly check your boiler for any wear and tear and call a Gas Safe engineer to perform any maintenance required. You should also install a carbon monoxide detector in your house.

    If you have a gas leak, you should get this repaired immediately. Ensure your emergency plumber is Gas Safe registered before you hire them.

    They will then charge you the gas leak callout charge and hourly rate – the repair usually takes 1 to 2 hours. There aren’t usually any materials required to fix the leak, leaving your charge at about £135 - £195.

    Burst Water Pipe Cost

    There are two main causes of burst water pipes – water pressure (clogs can cause a backup of water, making the pipes expand, crack or burst), and cold (the water in the pipes freezes, expands and leads to cracks or bursts).

    You can usually identify a leak/burst pipe by noting any waterlogged areas in your garden, taking regular meter readings (to identify sudden changes in use) and noticing low flow in your taps.


    You can prevent some types of burst pipes by ensuring you insulate your pipes in winter and shut off/empty unnecessary pipes (e.g. garden taps), and also ensure any blockages to your system are cleared quickly to prevent water build-up.

    A plumber will take between 1 and 3 hours to fix a burst water pipe, and the materials used (short pieces of pipe, nuts and couplers) shouldn’t cost more than £15. That means your total fix, including callout fee will cost between £150 and £270.

    Blocked/Overflowing drain (CCTV survey) Cost

    An overflowing or blocked drain is usually caused by the same things causing blocked toilets and sinks – unsuitable things being flushed down the toilets. An overflowing drain blockage often contains wipes, hair, tissues and sanitary products; grease or fat; toys/foreign objects; or trees/leaves.

    To prevent these issues, follow the same advice you would for a blocked toilet – limit items being flushed down the toilet, use sink strainers to catch hair and food, don’t pour oil or grease down your drain, and additionally make sure you regularly remove leaves and other debris from around your drains.

    If your drain needs unblocking, you will sometimes need a CCTV survey – this is where a specialist company will insert a camera into the drainage system, and use it to identify any blockages, leaks etc that need to be repaired.

    This is a much better solution than traditional methods of identifying drain problems, which often required digging up sections of your garden to review the pipes physically.

    There are specialist companies who complete CCTV drain surveys, and the average price for the job is £90 which takes 1 to 2 hours. However, this does not include the repair of the problem, only the diagnosis. The actual repair will take 1 to 2 days and will cost closer to £850.

    DIY Emergency Plumbing

    With the quality of You Tube videos, online tutorials and textbooks, it can be a temptation to solve your own plumbing issues and save the cost of hiring an emergency plumber.


    However, unless many of these jobs are done correctly and with care, your solution to an immediate problem may result in further problems in the future.

    There are a lot of problems that can occur when you do a poor DIY job – from the small, like a dripping tap or smelly drain, to the hazardous like an emergency gas leak, blocked drain or flood. There is also a risk that you could contaminate your or your neighbour’s water!

    Alongside this, any work you complete will not be covered by any warranty/guarantee and will not be signed off by a professional. Some types of work need building regulation approval prior to the work and sign-off by an inspector afterwards, and often the water supplier also needs to know if work is being carried out.

    If you need to hire a professional, there are certain things you can do to help before they arrive. Identify the symptoms so you can explain them clearly to the plumber on the phone – check for moist walls, slow draining baths/sinks, dripping or gurgling sounds, pipes banging or a bad smell.

    Secondly, if you monitor your water meter readings you’ll know if your usage has increased, which might be a sign of a leak. Any waterlogged parts of your garden or low water pressure could also be a sign of a leak.

    Finally, in the case of any flooding or leaking, make sure you know where the water valve is – the sooner you stop the water supply, the less damage will be done by the flood. You can usually find the valve under your kitchen sink, in your airing cupboard, or sometimes under any floorboards by the front door.

    There will also be an external stop tap near the boundary of your premises, if you can’t find the internal valve. Just be aware that the external stop tap may also turn off your neighbour’s water!

    If you want to try your hand at plumbing, there are some jobs that can be done by the homeowner with low risk. Installing appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines is absolutely ok, as is the repair (or replacement) of taps, plugs and ball valves.

    You can also install a new shower head, fix a running toilet, unblock a toilet, unblock a sink, adjust a pop-up plug and clear a clogged bath drain.


    If you smell a gas leak, or have a boiler emergency, you need to leave the work to the professionals.

    Plumbing Emergency Cover

    Plumbing emergency cover (or home emergency cover) is a type of insurance which covers you for various common home repairs. The definition of a home emergency varies from insurer to insurer, but the fundamental criteria are that the problem is a health risk, is causing some kind of damage to your home, or is leaving your home insecure.

    It should be noted that it is your contents insurance which will cover any damage caused by the home emergency.

    Home emergency cover is like any other insurance – the more you’re willing to pay for your policy, the more items will be covered. However, as a standard you are likely to be covered for any boiler and central heating failures, including leakages and lack of hot water.

    You will also be covered for leaking and burst pipes, plus blockages in your toilets, sinks and external drains.

    It costs between £30 per year for the most basic cover, to £400+ per year, which includes annual boiler servicing, £0 excess and an unlimited amount of cover.

    How to Find and Hire an Emergency Plumber

    If you need to hire an emergency plumber, there are a few things you should consider before making your final decision.

    • Ask to see proof of their professional qualifications – they should have level 2 or 3 diplomas in plumbing, as well as level 3 gas related qualifications. They may also have progressed to HND or degree level. Many plumbers will have completed an apprenticeship and had their work signed off by their supervisor.
    • Check if they are a member of a trade association (e.g. Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers, or Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors). You can do this by asking the plumber themselves and verifying by calling the related association.
    • Check they are registered with Gas Safe – again, you can ask your plumber, and verify the information on the gas safe register.
    • Check they have the requisite insurance
    • Check their references
    • Check whether they offer any kind of warranty on their work
    • Are they accredited?
    • Ask what experience they have
    • Do they have any recommendations or reviews of previous work?

    Beware a cheap plumber – they may only hire poorly trained/inexperienced employees on a low wage; they may only use cheap parts; and they may not be willing to fix any mistakes they make without an additional charge. Ensure you do your research before you go ahead with your chosen plumber.


    Is a leaking boiler an emergency?
    If it is water dripping from your boiler, this isn’t usually considered an emergency. However, any damage caused by the water does have the potential to render your appliance irreparable. If it is gas leaking from your boiler, this is always counted as an emergency and should be repaired as soon as possible.
    How do I know if I have a gas leak?
    There are many signs you can look out for to identify if you have a gas leak in your home. Firstly, you may smell sulphur (which smells like rotten eggs), or that familiar gas smell. You can often smell gas for a small amount of time when your boiler fires up, but if you smell it for a prolonged period it may be as a result of a leak.

    Other signs of a leak are an obviously damaged gas pipe, bubbles in your water, a hissing or whistling sound near a gas line, and a white cloud or dust cloud near a gas line. If you keep an eye on your gas bills, you may be able to identify a gas leak by an abnormally large bill after normal usage.
    Should I try to fix issues myself prior to hiring an emergency plumber?
    Yes and no. There are some smaller repairs that you can do yourself, if you have the relevant materials and tools. These are plumbing in new appliances, fixing toilet and sink blockages, repairing and replacing taps, installing new shower heads, and adjusting plugs.

    Anything other than this should be dealt with by a professional, as they will do a more competent repair, and their work will be covered by their insurance and often a warranty as well.
    Is it worth getting home emergency cover?
    This is a decision for you to make as a homeowner. However, as a guide, if your home is relatively new, with new drainage, pipes, bathroom suite, toilets, taps, boiler etc, you can expect a reasonable amount of time before they need repairing.

    By contrast, in older homes, or when you are unsure if/when any maintenance has been done (such as a boiler service), you may feel that the cover is a worthwhile investment. For many people, knowing they have cover takes much of the stress away if an emergency occurs.
    Why do I have to pay a callout charge for an emergency plumber?
    A normal plumber will have core hours that they usually work – often Monday to Friday, around 8.30am until 4.30pm. Your plumber will have ensured that their other commitments and arrangements fit around these hours – such as childcare, transport etc – so they can work with peace of mind. An emergency plumber does not have this arrangement and may be called out at any time of day (or night), on any day of the year.

    So, the callout charge is partly to cover the inconvenience of disrupting your plumber’s day, and so they can put in place any arrangements etc. The second reason for a callout charge is to cover transportation costs – emergency plumbers are not always available locally, so your plumber may have many miles to drive to reach you. The callout charge will help him recoup some of that petrol money, as well as the cost of the travel time.


    Last updated by MyJobQuote on 3rd August 2022.

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