Smart Ideas: Plumbing Revisited

Choosing a Plumber

The best time to look for a plumber is before a plumbing emergency arises. Unfortunately, in most cases, people facing an emergency won’t have time to learn more about a plumber. A leaking toilet or a basement ceiling that is wet from a broken pipe above it, requires immediate help.

First of all, talk to a homeowner friend or acquaintance you trust. At one time or another, most homeowners have had to hire a plumber and can refer you to one with a positive 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 will be happy to help their former clients.
Getting To The Point – Plumbers

When you call a plumber, unless after business hours, don’t simply leave your name and contact number on their answering machine. And if a child answers the phone, be careful. 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.

Also remember to ask if they have insurance, and ask for proof. The best plumbers are human too, and they can also accidentally damage plumbing structures or systems. They may even cause accidental injury to themselves while performing their task, so you should hire a plumber who is also covered by worker’s compensation. If you or any member of your household is harmed in any way, their liability insurance will cover that.

Of course, before the job begins, you have to be clear about the price. Reputable plumbers will give you a written estimate or at least an estimate with a maximum price, except when the problem concerns the interior of a closed wall or ceiling. In that scenario, the plumber may hesitate to quote a firm bid until he has actually inspected the structures. This is where you can ask for a “worst-case scenario” quote.

Finally, check if the plumber offers a service warranty. If they can’t guarantee their own work for a reasonable period, they are a waste of your money and time. Except when your pipes and fixtures are already too old, a reliable plumber will always return to solve any problems he may have failed to detect, or those that may have come up after his first visit.