How to Hire a Plumber

Finding a qualified plumber requires research and comparison shopping. If you are building a new home or are doing an extensive remodel, you could pay as much for your plumbing as you would for a new car. Therefore, it is wise to put at least as much thought into the plumber that you hire as you do in choosing a new car. The yellow pages are not really the best place to start. No one puts an ad in the yellow paper that makes them look bad.

The first step to take to find a good plumber is to ask friends and family for recommendations of professionals they’ve hired in the past. Other good referrals can come from contractors, real estate agents and your local plumbing supply store. Your city may be able to provide a list of recommended plumbers who are familiar with the codes in your area.

There are basically two different types of plumbers — those who do repairs and those who specialize in construction and remodeling. Repair plumbers should be called in for things like clogged sinks, leaky faucets and emergency situations. The second type of plumber works on larger projects such as replacing failed plumbing throughout a home or plumbing a new addition to a house.

When asking for referrals, be sure to check to see what type of job the plumber was called in to accomplish for the person that is giving you the referral. Also, determine whether the plumber specializes in residential or commercial work.

The following are a few things to look for in a qualified plumber.

There are several qualifications which can set a professional plumber apart from the rest.

• State License or Certification — Many states require a license or state certification for plumbers that work in that state. You should call to verify that the license is current and check if there are any active complaints against the license.

• Insurance – Make sure that the plumber that you are considering is fully insured. He should have workers’ compensation and liability insurance. Your plumber should be able to provide you with a copy of his or her insurance policy.

• Better Business Bureau — Contact your local Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against the plumber that you are considering.

After you have narrowed the list, you should ask two or three plumbers to your home to survey the job and give a written estimate that includes a materials list. This contract should spell out the scope of the project, any items that are excluded and the terms of payment.

When getting a quote, one of the most important questions you should ask your plumber is the type of materials that will be used. A plumbing part defect has the potential to cause water damage to your home or create flood your basement.

Look for quality materials. Don’t let your plumber install products that were made with inexpensive and inferior materials. Always ask for quality materials. Brand names usually offer manufacturers’ warranties to the consumer. You may pay more for these parts, but you’ll be glad you did if there is ever a problem or you need replacement parts.

In addition to asking about quality materials, other questions to ask a potential plumber include:

How long have you been in business? If the plumber was not referred to you, ask: Are there several people who can vouch for the quality of your work? Ask those references whether or not the plumber had completed the work on time and within budget.

Be sure to ask each plumber whether they will be responsible for obtaining all necessary permits.

Does the plumber guarantee his work? This is an important point in case there are any problems that need rectifying after initial installation.

Accidents are common with almost any home improvement project. You should ask your prospective candidate what steps he or she will take in order to prevent injuries and property damage. A common problem while installing copper pipe is when a solder torch gets too close to dry wall or wood joists in tight spaces.

Ask the plumber how he or she intends to leave the work area after the job is done. You don’t want to have to clean up after a plumber for hours after he has left your house. Also, you should ask how much disruption will be caused by the project.

Compare prices, but remember that the cheapest quote isn’t necessarily the best plumber for your job. An experienced, qualified plumber might charge more for the work, but he could save you money in the long run by doing the job right and using the best materials.

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