How To Hire A Qualified Plumber: Introduction

Whether your pipes just burst and half your house is on the verge of flooding or a slow, unstoppable drip from a nearby faucet is keeping you awake at night, it’s important to know how to hire a qualified plumber. If you call the wrong one in an attempt to take the lowest bid, you might end up with either temporary fixes or problems that were worse than before.

So, with such an important decision for your house and your family, how do you know who to trust?

Here’s a little guide:

How To Hire A Qualified Plumber: Licensed and Insured

Although it might seem simple, plumbing is a job that takes years of experience to master. Thus, the best, most reliable plumbing companies will only hire plumbers who are already licensed by the state to perform a wide range of repairs. Part of the reason for this prerequisite is that the top plumbing agencies typically insure every project up to $500,000.

Master plumber: To become a master plumber, a person must have a certain number of years’ experience as a journeyman plumber, in addition to an associate’s degree or training at a vocational school. A master plumber must pass an exam that typically encompasses both written and practical knowledge. They must also complete continuing education hours every year. Oftentimes the business owner, a master plumber is subject to inspection and must make sure all journeyman plumbers working for his or her company are in compliance with plumbing regulations.

Source: http://www.angieslist.com/plumbing/plumbers.htm

How To Hire A Qualified Plumber: Knowledge of Code

When faced with a severe plumbing issue, it’s best not to ‘Do It Yourself’ for a couple reasons. First, you could easily make the problem worse with one mis-twisted pipe. Second, even if you successfully stop a drip or clog, you could violate the city’s plumbing code regulations. That could put you, your family, and your building owner’s agency in serious trouble.

How To Hire A Qualified Plumber: Expense Expectations

Because you tend to ‘get what you pay for,’ you can typically discriminate between the licensed professionals and the seedy contractors by their estimated cost for services. On a per hour basis, you should expect to pay between $45 and $70 for the licensed, insured plumbers, not including the price for parts.

The bill for emergency plumbing is almost always a shock. Are plumbers just taking advantage? Occasionally, but the short duration of the work contributes to the high rates. Though the plumber might spend only an hour at your home, you pay for his time (driving to and from the job, picking up parts) and more.

For a plumber specializing in drain-clearing services, expect to pay at least $70 per hour for drain lines and $125 per hour for sewer lines. Most problems can be fixed in an hour. For weekend or night calls, add more to the hourly rate.

For basic plumbing services, such as leak repair or installing new traps, you’ll pay $45 to $65 per hour in addition to parts, which the plumber will mark up from his wholesale price. For weekend or night calls, you’ll pay as much as $100 just for the call and $75 an hour after that. At these rates, you don’t want to spend much time chatting, but do ask what the repair/parts options are and get advice on how to prevent the problem from recurring.

Source: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,219042,00.html

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