More than 27 billion gallons of water are lost in the State of Arizona to household plumbing leaks alone every year. With a typical household leak wasting more than 90 gallons of water daily and the residents of the City of Phoenix charged more than $5 per 748 gallons supplied, wastages like this may see you paying an additional $100 on your water bill. When you seek a plumber in the city to fix leakages or for routine maintenance, ensure to ask the following questions to determine the professional is a good hand for your job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Phoenix?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Phoenix?
- Do You Comply with the City of Phoenix Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Phoenix Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Phoenix?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Phoenix?
Per section 119 of the Phoenix Building Construction Code, any plumbing project that requires a permit must be performed by a city-licensed plumbing contractor. Contractors who undertake such plumbing projects without a valid license will be fined between $500 and $2,500 for each violation and may be subject to other legal proceedings.
The Phoenix Planning and Development Department (PDD) is responsible for issuing plumbing licenses, and these licenses are categorized into journeyman and apprentice licenses. A journeyman license is typically issued to individuals who are experts in one or more plumbing specialties. Requirements for obtaining this license include passing a journeyman proficiency examination and providing evidence of at least four years of practical plumbing experience.
On the other hand, an apprentice license is issued to individuals who are still learning plumbing skills under a city-licensed journeyman plumber or a state-licensed plumbing contractor. An examination is not required for this license, but applicants must provide proof of employment. Individuals who are qualified for the relevant license category can apply for a license by paying a non-refundable license application fee, filling a license application form, and submitting this form together with relevant documents to the PDD. Relevant documents include proof of passing a proficiency exam or proof of employment where applicable. Applicants can also contact the PDD at (602) 262-7811 for further citywide licensing inquiries.
You can confirm if a plumber is licensed within the city by contacting the PDD at (602) 262-7811 and making relevant inquiries. However, note that plumbing contractors licensed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ARC) are exempt from citywide plumbing license requirements and can operate without a city-issued license. To confirm if a plumbing contractor possesses a state-issued license, you can utilize the ARC's online contractor search portal.
The hourly charge rate of plumbers in Phoenix varies and depends on several factors, including the plumbing work, cost of materials, and the required labor. Nonetheless, before accepting a price bid from any plumber, you should first consider multiple bids from different plumbers. This can help with creating a budget and avoiding exorbitant rates.
A plumber in Phoenix City earns an annual average wage of $53,810. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Phoenix compared with plumbers in other parts of Arizona and other major cities in the country:Phoenix Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$25.87Arizona Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$25.45Chicago Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$44.20Dallas Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$24.37Las Vegas Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.48Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22.66Washington DC Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$27.93
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Phoenix Plumbing Codes contain mandatory minimum requirements that residents and plumbers must follow when performing any plumbing work as well as the reasons why the requirements stipulated in each section are crucial to the city's collective plumbing systems. Therefore, while engaging a licensed plumber is essential, it is also crucial to ensure this plumber is conversant with the plumbing codes relevant to your work. This helps to ensure that your plumbing work is done according to city requirements, and is also important in avoiding penalties that may result from code violations.
The scope of the Phoenix Plumbing Codes includes the installation, alteration, repair, replacement, maintenance, and use of plumbing systems across the city. Such plumbing systems include drainage systems, gas systems, private sewage disposal systems, water dispensers, water backflow prevention devices, fire sprinklers, and dishwashers. For more information or assistance with code requirements and processes for your plumbing work, you can contact the Phoenix Planning and Development Department at (602) 262-7811.
Plumbing permits are generally required for any plumbing work within Phoenix City, including repairs, modifications, or replacement of plumbing systems. Nonetheless, section 105.2 of the Phoenix Building Construction Code lists specific plumbing works that do not require a plumbing permit. Plumbing works in this category include:
- Fixing pipe or drain leaks, provided the pipe or parts of the drainage system are not replaced;
- The removal or reinstallation of water closets;
- The replacement of an existing water heater in single or two-family residences by a licensed contractor; and
- Clearing stoppages in pipes, fixtures, or valves, provided such pipes, fixtures, or valves are not relocated or replaced.
The Phoenix Planning and Development Department (PDD) issues plumbing permits, and permit applicants are generally required to submit a completed permit application form, along with plumbing plans where applicable, and a non-refundable permit fee. Plumbing permits are categorized into residential and commercial permits. Residential permits are generally required for plumbing works in duplexes, single-family homes, and townhome projects, while commercial plumbing permits are required for plumbing works in triplexes, fourplexes, commercial buildings, condominiums, and apartments. The specific time frame for processing a permit varies and depends on different factors, including whether plumbing plans must be submitted, if the plumbing work involves underground plumbing systems, and the building or place the plumbing system is located.
Depending on the plumbing work, you may be able to apply for a plumbing permit online. Online applications are available for minor plumbing works such as plumbing repiping and replacement of water heaters. For every other plumbing work, you can contact the PDD at (602) 262-7811 and request the applicable permit application forms. You can also inquire about requirements, specific processes, and general inquiries related to your plumbing project via the aforementioned phone number. Alternatively, you can make these requests or inquiries in person at the PDD's office located at:
- Planning & Development Department
- 200 West Washington Street
- Second Floor
- Phoenix, AZ 85003
The office is available for in-person visits between 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mondays - Fridays, excluding major holidays. Note that some plumbing works, such as plumbing repiping and repair or replacements of underground plumbing systems, require inspection by a PDD official. This inspection ensures compliance with various city codes, including construction and plumbing codes, and also ensures that the plumbing work was safely done. Inspections may be on-site or remotely by video. However, only residential plumbing works eligible for an online permit application can be remotely inspected. All other plumbing works require an on-site inspection. You can request an inspection through the PDD's online inspection request web page or by contacting the PDD at (602) 262-7811.
Plumbers across Phoenix City offer various plumbing services, including plumbing installations, repairs, maintenance, inspections, and expert observations. However, a plumber's skill and specialty determine how well they can perform your plumbing work. Therefore, before engaging a plumber, it is crucial to ensure this plumber has the requisite skills and specializes in the plumbing area relevant to your plumbing work. For example, plumbers in Phoenix are classified into journeyman and apprentice plumbers. While an apprentice plumber can help with minor plumbing fixtures like faucet replacements, you need a journeyman plumber for more serious issues like fixing pipe leaks.
Although your plumbing work will determine the amount you spend, below are some common cost estimates for plumbing services in Phoenix City:Bathtub installation$600 - $2,200Drain clog clearance$100 - $150Pipe, faucet, and fixture repair/installation$140 - $250Septic system installation$6,500 - $8,000Septic tank cleaning$220 - $550Sump pump installation$750 - $1,200Toilet installation/replacement$120 - $180Well pump installation$650 - $900
With the recent increase in water rates in Phoenix, which took effect in October 2021, residents now pay an extra $2.40 per month in water fees. This brings the applicable minimum water rate to $4.64 per month for residents who receive water service inside the city and $6.96 per month for residents who receive water service outside the city. Regardless of this increase, fixing water leaks alone can save homeowners 10% on their water bills. Therefore, it is essential to address every plumbing issue in your home immediately, notwithstanding how minor they might seem. While plumbing problems generally need urgent repairs, some repairs may be more urgent. For example, fixing a leaking pipe or clogged toilet requires more urgency than replacing an old faucet that occasionally malfunctions. However, before hiring a plumber for your plumbing emergencies, it is crucial to ensure that this plumber is licensed, skilled, and specializes in handling such emergencies.
Plumbers in Phoenix City typically require a city-issued license to operate unless they have been licensed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ARC). You can verify a city-issued license by contacting the city's Planning and Development Department at (602) 262-7811 and also verify an ARC-issued license by utilizing the ARC's online contractor search portal. To find a plumber near you, you can explore the ARC's posting list web page, obtain a copy of all ARC-licensed contractors, and find one with a place of work within Phoenix City. Alternatively, you can utilize third-party review sites like Better Business Bureau or Google Review or ask friends, family, or neighbors. Regardless of how you find a plumber, ensure to confirm they are skilled enough to handle your emergency plumbing problems. You can confirm this by asking the plumber to provide references from recent clients with similar plumbing issues as yours.
Generally, plumbers in the City of Phoenix are not required to obtain or maintain general liability insurance. However, they are required to file a bond with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. The required bond amount varies and depends on the plumber's expected gross income for the fiscal year. Per state laws, plumbers with one or more employees are also required to maintain workers' compensation insurance. An active bond and workers' compensation insurance, where applicable, are both necessary for plumbers to maintain their licenses.
Before engaging a plumber, it is essential to confirm if they have satisfied these insurance requirements. Also, it is recommended that you engage a plumber with active general liability insurance, even though such insurance is optional in Phoenix. Considering there were 900 reported cases of nonfatal plumbing-related injuries across Arizona, hiring a plumber with active general liability insurance can help protect you from monetary claims by anyone who suffers an injury during your plumbing work. To confirm your plumber is appropriately insured, you can ask that they provide proof of the relevant insurance coverages.
When planning a home improvement or repair project, such as plumbing repairs or additions, it is essential to perform due diligence and protect yourself from contractor scams. For example, more than 26,000 residents across several cities in Arizona, including Phoenix were victims of a home improvement and repair scam carried out by a contracting company between 2017 and 2019. To keep residents aware of contractor scams across several cities in Arizona, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ARC) maintains an online most wanted list, which residents can explore and use in noting common scam techniques. Some of the common scam techniques utilized by fraudsters include unsolicited bids, offering very low bids compared to average business rates, requesting high upfront payments, and using cheap materials. It is important to note that these fraudulent contractors do not just scam you out of your money, but they may also put you at risk of extra expenses when their subpar plumbing work falls apart. To protect yourself from such scams, below are some helpful tips:
- Prepare a budget for your plumbing work. This will require you to find out the exact plumbing problem you are experiencing and the materials needed to address the problem. Having a budget gives a general idea of your expected cost and helps you notice a very high or low bid.
- Compare multiple bids from several plumbers. This also gives you an idea of the average business rate for your plumbing work.
- Make sure any agreement with the plumber is in writing. The written agreement should ideally spell out the responsibility of the plumber, the agreed pay, and the payment cycle.
- Ensure the plumber you hire is licensed. You can verify a plumber's city-issued license by contacting the Phoenix Planning and Development Department at (602) 262-7811. If the plumber claims to be state-licensed and exempt from city licensing, you can verify the plumber's state license by utilizing the ARC's online contractor search portal.
- Do not pay an excessive amount upfront. Although an upfront payment is necessary for plumbers to get some materials and begin work, ensure any upfront payment you make is a fraction of the agreed total payment. Also, ensure that your plumber gives a breakdown of how the upfront payment was spent. This way, you know how much each material costs, and you can compare prices to find out if your plumber was sneakily cutting costs.
- Make payments in check and not in cash. Check payments are not easily disputed and are valid proof of payment. This reduces the chances of disputed payments by your plumber.
If you are a victim of a plumbing scam, you can report the scam to the ARC through the ROC customer portal. However, you will be required to log in or register an account before utilizing this portal. Alternatively, you can request a complaint form and submit it as directed on the form. For assistance or more inquiries, you can contact the ARC at (602) 542-1525.
Note that reporting a scam does not guarantee you will receive compensation. If you want compensation and the amount involved is $3.500 or less, you can seek legal advice from an attorney and file a small claims suit at the Maricopa County Justice Court.