It is estimated that more than 90% of increased water usage in the City of Anchorage is due to household plumbing leaks alone. However, besides spiking your water usage, plumbing leaks and other plumbing problems like burst pipes and clogged drainages can affect your household water storage and distribution. You can avoid these issues by quickly dealing with any plumbing problem you notice in your home and further save up to 10 percent on your water bills. However, in dealing with plumbing problems, you need the services of a competent plumber, so you can get the best service possible and avoid complicating things.
While you can find competent plumbers by getting referrals from friends and neighbors, it is further essential to ask the individual you intend to hire certain questions to find out if they are qualified and eligible to work in your city and effectively perform your needed service.
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Anchorage?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Anchorage?
- Do You Comply with the City of Anchorage Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Anchorage Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Anchorage?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Anchorage?
Anyone interested in working as a professional plumber in Anchorage must first obtain a certificate of fitness from the Mechanical Inspection Office of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This certificate of fitness is a professional license to perform electrical or plumbing work across Alaska, including the City of Anchorage. The plumbing certificate of fitness types issued by the Mechanical Inspection Office includes plumber journeyman certificate of fitness, plumber gas certificate of fitness, and plumber utility certificate of fitness. To obtain a plumber journeyman certificate of fitness, applicants must obtain a minimum of 8,000 hours of experience in installing residential and commercial plumbing systems or a maximum of 1,000 hours of plumbing trade-related classroom training from a state-approved school.
Similarly, to obtain a plumber gas certificate of fitness, applicants must complete 4,000 hours of work in the plumbing trade with a minimum of 2,000 hours installing fuel gas piping and 2,000 hours of commercial and residential plumbing installation. However, applicants can substitute the commercial and residential plumbing installation experience with 500 hours of plumbing trade-related classroom training. Finally, to obtain a plumber utility certificate of fitness, applicants must obtain 1,000 hours of work experience in installing water, sewer, and storm lines or 125 hours of plumbing trade-related classroom training. Note that all categories of plumbing certificate of fitness applicants must take a state-approved plumbing examination. For inquiries concerning plumber certificate of fitness requirements and examination, applicants can call the Mechanical Inspection Office of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development at (907) 269-4925.
In addition to state-issued licenses, plumbing contractors are required to obtain a qualification card from the city's Department of Development Services. The qualification card types issued to Anchorage plumbers are plumbing and sheet metal contractor qualification card, gas piping contractor qualification card, plumbing and sheet metal Journeyman qualification card, and gas piping journeyman qualification card. To obtain any of the aforementioned qualification cards, interested persons must pass an approved examination and complete several hours of work experience. For inquiries concerning qualification card application requirements and processes, residents can contact the Permit Counter of the Department of Development Services at (907) 343-8211.
Before hiring a plumber near you, it is always important to confirm if they are licensed to work in your city. You can confirm a plumber's license status by calling the Mechanical Inspection Office of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development at (907) 269-4925.
The hourly cost of hiring a plumber to do your plumbing work in Anchorage may vary with different plumbers. However, what each plumber charge per hour for plumbing work is typically determined by the nature of the work, the cost of materials, and the individual's experience. Before hiring a plumber in the City of Anchorage, you should ideally have a general idea of what your project may cost. Comparing estimates from different plumbers is a helpful way to do this.
A plumber in Anchorage earns an annual average wage of $45,980. Listed below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in the City of Anchorage compared with plumbers in other parts of Alaska and other major cities in the country:Anchorage Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22.11Alaska Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$20.93Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.04Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.71Chicago Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$44.20Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22.66Washington D.C. Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$27.93
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
All home improvement and construction works, including plumbing works, are regulated by the City of Anchorage Administrative Code. The purpose of this Administrative Code is to establish minimum construction standards to safeguard public health by ensuring that buildings are strong, clean, properly ventilated, and safe for residents.
Before hiring a plumber to do your plumbing work, it is important to confirm if the individual is familiar with the city's Administrative Code. Likewise, you should also read and understand the city's Administrative Code, as this can help you notice when your plumber is not being compliant. Section 103 of the Code states that violating any section of the Anchorage Administrative Code can lead to the issuance of a stop-work order and a possible civil penalty. For inquiries concerning this Code, Code violations, and tips for Code compliance, you can call the city's Code Enforcement hotline at (907) 343-4141.
Except for minor repairs listed in section 220.127.116.11.4 of the City of Anchorage Administrative Code, a permit is needed to install, alter, repair, or replace a plumbing system in Anchorage. The Department of Development Services handles the issuance of all kinds of plumbing permits in Anchorage, and contractors or homeowners can apply for plumbing permits under two plumbing permits categories. To perform a plumbing repair or installation in a building not exceeding four dwelling units or to perform exact replacement of plumbing equipment, fixture, or fittings, contractors or homeowners need to obtain a retrofit permit from the Department. However, if the plumbing work exceeds any of the aforementioned conditions, contractors must apply for a commercial permit. To obtain a plumbing permit, applicants are required to submit a completed retro work application form or commercial worksheet application form to:
- Department of Development Services
- 4700 Elmore Road
- Anchorage, AK 99507
Applicants are required to clarify the nature of the work to be done, the location of the building, and the proposed use of the building in their application. Commercial permit applications must also include the submission of drawings and plans. You can verify if your plumber has obtained the necessary permits online or by calling the Department of Development Services Permit Counter at (907) 343-8211. Note that all permitted works must also be inspected during and after such work is completed. Common plumbing work inspections include underground rough-in inspections, water pipe inspections, and interceptor inspections. You can schedule an inspection online or by calling the Department of Development Services Inspection Request telephone line at (907) 343-8300.
Anchorage plumbers offer various types of plumbing services, which generally include stopping leaks, overall maintenance, clearing of blocked drains, installation of water heaters, and installation of backflow prevention systems. However, residents of Anchorage must understand that it is their responsibility to ensure that the individual they intend to hire can perform the services they need. One way of doing this is by asking the plumber about their area of specialization and how long they have specialized in this area. Besides knowing if your intended plumber can perform the services you need, you should also find out the potential cost for such services.
Listed below are some of the cost estimates for plumbing services in the City of Anchorage:Septic system installation$8,800 - $10,900Clearing clogged drain$150 - $190Bathtub installation$2,300 - $2,900Toilet installation$185 - $210Sump pump installation$1,027 - $1,500Septic tank cleaning$328 - $390Water softener installation$917 - $1,300Well pump installation$978 - $1,100Sewer line cleaning$209 - $330Sewer line installation and repair$73 - $97Drain line video inspection$313 - $360Water main installation or repair$34 - $68
Emergency plumbing services are plumbing repairs or work that are performed immediately a plumbing fault is discovered to prevent further damages and keep your home's plumbing system in good condition. Anchorage plumbers offer a variety of emergency plumbing services, including fixing burst pipes, installing water heaters and boilers, clearing clogged toilets, and minor repairs such as replacing valves. You should contact a qualified and competent plumber as soon as you discover plumbing emergencies such as leaks, burst pipes, and clogged drainage in your apartment.
Hiring a competent person to handle your plumbing emergency can save you a lot of money, considering that plumbing issues such as leaks can result in unnecessary sewer and water charges. Accordingly, it is estimated that fixing a household water leak can reduce your water bill by 10 percent. You can find competent and qualified plumbers by exploring third-party referral websites such as Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review. While you can find competent plumbers on these third-party websites, it is still necessary to confirm the individual's license status before finalizing any agreements. You can do this by calling the Mechanical Inspection Office of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development at (907) 269-4925.
In Alaska, general contractors are required to maintain general liability insurance before they can work anywhere in the state, including the City of Anchorage. In addition, contractors with employees are required to maintain workers' compensation insurance. Before hiring a plumbing contractor for your home improvement work, it is crucial to find out if they are insured. This will protect you from claims that may arise as a result of the occurrence of work accidents or property damage during your plumbing work. You must understand that fatal work accidents may occur at any time during your home improvement work, and the only way to avoid the financial burdens of such accidents is by hiring a plumber that is insured. In 2019 alone, the construction industry accounted for 6% of the total fatal work injuries in Alaska, including injuries sustained during plumbing work.
You can confirm a contractor's insurance status by asking for their insurance certificate and contacting the insurance company that issued the certificate to be sure. Likewise, you can confirm if your contractor has workers' compensation insurance by calling the Alaska Workers' Compensation Special Investigations Unit at (907) 269-400.
According to the Associated General Contractors of Alaska, residents of the state, including homeowners in Anchorage, were expected to spend over $350 million on home improvement or renovation in 2021 alone. Considering the amount of money involved in home improvement projects in Alaska, residents of Anchorage are advised to always plan their home improvement projects carefully. Furthermore, residents are advised to take their time to evaluate the individual they intend to hire for their home improvement job before finalizing any agreement. This is particularly important as there are many contractor scams ongoing across the state. For example, in November 2021, the Alaska Superior Court ordered an Anchorage man to pay $75,000 for claiming to be a licensed contractor without actually obtaining a license from any state or local licensing agency. The fraudulent contractor defrauded residents of the city by demanding upfront payment for shoddy work, most of which was never completed. Some other popular scam methods used by home improvement scammers include using inferior materials to do your work, inflating the cost of plumbing materials, and requesting upfront payment and not showing up to do the job. However, you can avoid falling victim to such scams by taking the following steps:
- Avoid door-to-door solicitations
- Hire only licensed plumbers. You can confirm a plumber's license status by calling the Mechanical Inspection Office of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development at (907) 269-4925
- Get multiple estimates from different plumbers and ensure that each plumber provides details of the amount of work to be done and the cost of materials to be used
- Always ensure that your plumber has insurance coverage. You can verify your plumber's insurance status by asking for an insurance certificate and contacting the insurance company that issued the certificate
- Have a written contract for the project with the plumber and ensure that it contains details of the work, the proposed time of completion of the project, warranties, and the cost of the work
- Do not sign a contract until you have thoroughly read and understood all its provisions, notices, and terms. You should engage the services of an attorney for large plumbing projects
- Do not make full payment until the work has been completed and inspected
If you suspect a plumbing scam, you can report to the Mechanical Inspection Office of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development by calling (907) 269-4925. This office is responsible for regulating and licensing plumbers in the state. You can also report a plumbing scam to the Consumer Protection Unit of the State of Alaska Office of the Attorney General by submitting a completed consumer complaint form via email or in person at:
- State of Alaska
- Office of the Attorney General
- 1031 West, 4th Avenue
- Suite 200
- Anchorage, AK 99501-5903
While the Mechanical Inspection Office and the Consumer Protection Unit can assist victims of home improvement scams, residents of Anchorage must understand that reporting an incident to these agencies does not guarantee that they will be reimbursed. Accordingly, if you want reimbursement, you can commence civil action against the contractor at the City of Anchorage District Court. However, you should always seek the advice of your attorney before filing the matter in court. You can file matters of not more than $10,000 as small claims in the aforementioned court.