Smart Ideas: Plumbing Revisited

Finding a Quality Plumber

The best time to look for a plumber is before a plumbing emergency arises. Unfortunately, when people are facing an emergency, they have very little time – if any – to research a plumber. When the toilet leaks or the basement ceiling is wet because a pipe broke upstairs, getting help is priority.

First of all, talk to a homeowner friend or acquaintance you trust. Most people have, at one time or another, hired a plumber and can recommend someone they liked.

If you know a contractor or builder, give them a call as well. 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.
Why People Think Plumbing Are A Good Idea

Also call the real estate agent who represented you when you bought your house. Most agents are glad to help.
What You Should Know About Plumbing This Year

When calling a plumber, unless after hours, don’t just leave your name and phone 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.

Make it a point to ask for the plumber’s license number when you actually talk to them. 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 the best plumbers cause accidental damage to plumbing structures or the system itself. They may even cause accidental injury to themselves while performing their task, so you need them to have worker’s compensation as well. If you or anyone in your home is harmed in any way, that should be covered by their liability insurance.

Of course, you need to be very clear about price and costs before the job rolls out. Most good plumbers will give you a formal bid, or at least a quote that includes a maximum price, except when the plumbing problem happens inside a closed wall or ceiling. In such a case, the plumber might choose not to quote a firm bid until he has actually checked the structures. This is when you might 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 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.