How to Choose a Plumber

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The best time to choose a plumber is before you experience a plumbing emergency. Unfortunately, most people facing an emergency have very little time to research a plumber. When the toilet springs a leak or the basement ceiling is wet from a broken pipe upstairs, finding help is imperative.

  • Call a homeowner acquaintance whose opinion you trust. Most homeowners at one time or another need to hire a plumber and can advise you on one with a good reputation.

  • Try calling a builder or contractor if you know one. Contractors deal with plumbers frequently and usually have well-formed opinions about various local plumbers, the quality of their work and the competitiveness of their prices.

  • Talk to the real estate salesperson who represented you when you purchased your home. Real estate experts often recommend plumbers and other subcontractors to their clients. Because most agents want to keep you as a repeat customer, they will be happy to recommend a plumber for you.

  • Avoid leaving your name and phone number on a plumber’s answering machine unless you’re calling after hours. Likewise, be wary if a child answers the phone. Although reputable plumbers may work out of their home in small communities and rural areas most plumbers who have been in business for a while answer their own phones or have a receptionist.

  • Request the plumber’s license number before you hang up. If you feel nervous about doing this, tell him that you’re going to turn the claim into your homeowner’s insurance agent and that it is a requirement.

  • Ask for a price before the job starts. Most reputable plumbers will give you a bid, or at least an estimate with a ceiling price. The exception is when the plumbing problem occurs within a closed wall or ceiling. In that case, the plumber might be hesitant to quote a firm bid until he sees the extent of the problem. In this situation, ask for a “worst-case scenario” price.

  • Consider the plumber’s service warranty before hiring him. If he can’t guarantee the work for an acceptable period, it should send up a red flag. Unless you have very old pipes and fixtures and your home needs extensive plumbing work, a good plumber will return to fix a leak or a problem that was his error.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take the time to find a plumber before an emergency occurs, if possible.
  • Photo Credit Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng
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