When a plumber advertises that he or she does "24-hour plumbing," what exactly does that mean? It can mean one of three things, so how do you know which is which? The only real way you would ever know is if you ask plumbers about their twenty-four-hour business and whether it is any one of the following three types.
Twenty-four-hour plumbing could mean that the plumber provides emergency/after-hours plumbing services. If that is what it means, you may be charged double or triple the usual rate. It actually means that the plumber does not typically work past a certain hour of the day, or on weekends, but he or she is willing to take emergency calls if you are willing to pay them at the higher rates.
On Call 24/7
When a plumber advertises a 24/7 business, it could also mean that he or she is on call. Standard rates apply regardless of the date and time you call for help, but you will probably get a voicemail box because this type of plumber is "on call" during any hours that are not Monday through Friday, from eight in the morning until five or six at night. Usually, plumbers who operate this type of 24/7 plumbing service will respond to your call within thirty minutes or less, unless he or she is already working on someone else's plumbing issue when you call.
Literally Working Around the Clock
Of course, 24-hour plumbing can also mean that the business is open, literally, twenty-four hours. This typically works when three or more plumbers have partnered up in a single business, and each partner takes a shift to work. Additional plumbers may be added to work when one or two of the main partners are taking a vacation or need some time off.
The rest of the time these plumbers all work different shifts around the clock to provide service any time of day or night, on any given day of the week. This is a highly unusual sort of plumbing company, but it is one that is definitely a convenience for customers who may not want to pay double or triple standard rates for emergency plumbing repairs and may not want to wait for the on-call plumber to return their calls. If you find a service that provides 24-hour plumbing in your area, keep that telephone number handy so you will always have a plumber when you need one.