The Best Advice on Plumbers I’ve found

Choosing a Plumber

The best time to pick a plumber is before you deal with a plumbing emergency. Unfortunately, when people are facing an emergency, they have very little time – if any – to research a plumber. A leaking toilet or a basement ceiling that is wet from a broken pipe above it, requires immediate help.

First talk to someone you trust – maybe a friend or acquaintance who owns a home. Most people, at one time or another, have used a plumber and can recommend someone with a good reputation.

If you know a builder or contractor, call them too. These people deal with plumbers on a regular basis and often have well-formed opinions about various local plumbers, the quality of work they do, and how competitive they are in terms of pricing.
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Also talk to the real estate agent you worked with when you bought your home. Most agents are glad to help.
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Don’t just leave your name and phone number on the plumber’s answering machine, unless you make the call after hours. If a child picks up the phone, be suspicious. Some reputable plumbers, especially in small communities or rural areas, do work out of their homes, but most of them are professional enough to take calls themselves, or at least employ an electronic receptionist.

When speaking to the plumber, ask for their license number. Don’t feel nervous – say you need it to claim homeowner’s insurance.

At the same time, check if they are insured and ask for proof. Even with the best plumber in town, accidental damage to your plumbing structures or the system itself is not totally avoidable. They can even end up injuring themselves unintentionally, so you want a plumber who has worker’s compensation as well. If you or any member of your household is harmed in any way, their liability insurance will cover that.

Of course, you need to be very clear about price and costs before the job rolls out. Most reliable plumbers will give you a written quote, or at least a quote that indicates a ceiling price, unless the plumbing problem concerns a ceiling or a closed wall. In a scenario like that, the plumber may not quote a firm bid until he has actually evaluated the condition of the affected structures. This is when you have to ask for a “worst-case scenario” price.

Finally, make it a point to check if the plumber provides a service warranty. If they can’t guarantee their own work for a realistic period, they are not worth considering. Except when your pipes and other fixtures were very old to start with, a responsible plumber will always come back to repair whatever there is to be repaired after his initial visit.