The leak from a pipe fitting that costs below one dollar can readily lead to thousands of dollars worth of water damage, mess up your household routine for weeks or months, and just knock your remodel schedule off balance. In short, hire a licensed, insured and bonded plumber when you encounter plumbing problems.
For day to day drips and clogs, you can save the fee you’d pay a plumber by doing the job yourself. But for anything beyond this kind, admit that you need a pro and hire one. Plumbing isn’t rocket science, but it needs expert knowledge anyway. Code requirements are but a tiny part of it; you must also master materials and how to use them right. For example, when working with PVC, you should know how hard you can crank on it before it breaks. Otherwise, a $10 repair can develop into a battery of problems.
Be ready for an emergency situation by starting a relationship with a plumber before need. If possible, get him to handle non-emergency repairs or installations during office hours. It’s easier to capture a plumber’s attention as a regular client and not as an anxious stranger demanding pipe repair at 12 midnight.
When selecting a plumber, ask for evidence of their license. In most states, plumbers have to be licensed, and they usually give a number you can call to check that the license is valid and has no active complaints against it. Any plumber you plan to hire should also have a current workers’ compensation policy and at least $500,000 in liability insurance.
The bill for emergency plumbing can be shocking to those who are not familiar. Are plumbers simply taking advantage? Are plumbers just taking advantage of consumers? Are plumbers simply taking advantage of helpless consumers? If you end up with the wrong one, maybe, but generally speaking, the quick duration of the work is behind the high rates. Though the plumber may spend less than an hour in your home, he’ll be spending time to get your problem fixed – driving to your place, getting some parts from the hardware, driving back again, etc.- and you’ll be paying him for all that time.
If you hire a plumber whose specialty is in drain-clearing services, prepare at least $70/hour up for drain lines or $125/hour up for sewer lines. Problems can usually be fixed in a matter of an hour. For a weekend or night job, be ready for higher charges.
On the other hand, basic plumbing services, like leak repair or new trap installations, prepare from $45 to $65 hourly on top of parts, which the plumber will mark up depending on his wholesale price. Weekend or night calls may cost as much as $100 only for the call and $75 for the following hour. At these rates, do take advantage of the plumber’s time by asking for options are and advice preventing the same problem from recurring.