Minor plumbing issues such as faucet and toilet leaks may seem like non-issues at first but left unattended to they could cause bigger problems. According to the United States, Environmental Protection Agency the average American household loses up to 10,000 gallons of water to water leakages per year. Considering Atlanta residents pay up to $6.16 per 748 gallons of water, hiring a good plumber to fix leaks and other plumbing issues in your home not only saves water but also saves you a lot of unnecessary expenses that may result from paying for excessive water usage. While referrals from friends, family, and neighbors can help you find good plumbers near you, it is still crucial that you do your research to determine the plumber best suited for your project by asking the following question:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Atlanta?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Atlanta?
- Do You Comply with the City of Atlanta Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Atlanta Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Atlanta?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Atlanta?
A plumber cannot legally operate in the City of Atlanta without obtaining a plumbing license. The Georgia State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors is the body responsible for regulating plumber and issuing plumbing licenses, and the Board performs this duty through the Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers. According to Section 43-14-12.2 of the Georgia Code, it is illegal for any person not licensed as a plumber to advertise, whether it be through newspaper or television ads, in a manner that would make people believe they are licensed as a plumber. The Board may issue a cease and desist order to any person who is found to be operating as a plumber within the City of Georgia without the appropriate license. Violation of the cease and desist order will attract a fine of not more than $5,000 for each violation.
There are different categories of licenses issued by this Division, and they include the Journeyman Plumber License, the Master Plumber License Class I, and the Master Plumber License Class II.
To obtain the aforementioned licenses a plumber must meet the following requirements as stipulated in Rule 121-2-.02 of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia. For instance, interested persons intending to apply for a plumbing license must submit a completed application, meet the experience criteria, pass the applicable examination, and pay required registration fee of $30.
You should note that a licensed plumbing contractor is expected to register their plumbing business with the City of Atlanta Department of City Planning. To verify if the plumber you wish to hire is licensed, ensure to utilize the licensure search portal maintained by the Georgia Secretary of State. For further inquiries on licensing and licensing requirements contact the Board at (404) 656-2881.
The cost of hiring a plumber is determined by several factors, including the type of job the plumber will perform, the cost of materials required for the job, and the cost of obtaining a permit for the job. However, before choosing a plumber, you should compare cost quotes from several plumbers in your area to arrive at an estimate most favorable to you.
Plumber in the City of Atlanta earns an annual average wage of $55,170. The table below compares the mean hourly wage of plumbers in Atlanta with the mean hourly wage of plumbers in other major cities in the United States.Atlanta Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage$26.53Texas State Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage$24.44Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage$29.04Houston Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage$26.71Chicago Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage$44.20Miami Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage$22.66Washington D.C. Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage$27.93
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
You must ensure the plumber you wish to hire is familiar with the provisions of the laws regulating plumbing activities in the City of Atlanta. The Plumbing Code of the City of Atlanta is the Code currently governing and regulating plumbing activities in Atlanta. Its provisions regulate the erection, installation, alteration, replacement, and repair of plumbing systems in the City of Atlanta. The Code also provides for minimum standards of safety that plumbers and residents must adhere to when executing a plumbing project within the city. Non-compliance with the Code is unlawful and may result in fines of up to $1,000 or up to six months imprisonment. Hiring a plumber who is conversant with its provisions will keep you away from code violations and penalties such as a fine or a stipulated term of imprisonment.
If you need more information on code violations, ensure to contact the Department of City Planning's Office of Buildings at (404) 330-6150 or by email.
Plumbing activities controlled and regulated by the Plumbing Code of the City Of Atlanta cannot be carried out without the appropriate permit. As a result, you must ensure that your plumber has acquired the necessary permits before beginning your plumbing project to avoid code violations and penalties. However, not all plumbing works require a permit, as there are a few exceptions provided for in Section 104.2 of the Code, and they include:
- Any plumbing work that involves only the repair of working parts of a faucet or valves, the removal of stoppages, the repairing of leaks that do necessitate the replacement of over five feet of pipe, or the removal and replacement of defective faucets or valves.
- Any plumbing work that involves the repair of appliances for which a permit has been issued as long as no modifications are made in the current piping fixtures.
The Office of Buildings is the agency responsible for receiving plumbing permit applications, approving these applications, and issuing permits upon the approval of said applications. You may apply for a plumbing permit by completing a Plumbing Permit Application form and faxing it to (404) 739-4147, accompanied with a Credit Card payment form, or by submitting the completed form to
- City of Atlanta
- Office Of Buildings
- 55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 3800
- Atlanta, GA 30303
Alternatively, you can apply for a plumbing permit by utilizing the Accela Citizen Access Web portal. Applications for a plumbing permit can be submitted by a homeowner or their authorized representative and the owner must ensure the permit has been obtained before proceeding with any plumbing work. Your plumbing permit application must be accompanied by two or more copies of specifications and drawings to scale with adequate clarity and detail to show the nature of the plumbing project.
Note that before the completion of your plumbing project, you must schedule inspections with the Department of City Planning through the Accela portal. For further inquiries and assistance, you can contact the Office of Buildings at (404) 330-6150 or by email.
Plumbers in the City of Atlanta offer different types of plumbing services, such as drainage cleaning and repair, water installation and repair, faucet and toilet installations, and more. However, the kind of plumbing work a plumber can perform depends on the type of license obtained. For example, a plumber with a Class I Master Plumber License can only offer plumbing services on single-family structures and one-level structures designed for not more than two families, and commercial structures not more than 10,000 square feet in area. Therefore, after deciding the project you want to execute, you need to find the plumber with the right expertise.
Below are cost estimates of certain plumbing services in Atlanta:Toilet installation cost$90.00 - $903Shower leak repair cost$98.00 - $711Water main repair cost$895.00 - $4,205Sewer main installation cost$781.00 - $5,860Septic Tank System cost$3,300 - $5,000Drainage System cost$1,000 -$15,000New Plumbing pipes cost$2,200 -$5,500
Although you should fix all plumbing issues with urgency, some issues require more urgent attention than others. For example, issues such as burst pipes, clogged toilets, faucet malfunctions, and bathroom floodings require immediate attention because of how they affect daily home functions. You can save up to 10% on your water bills by fixing easily rectifiable household leaks in your home, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. However, when searching for a plumber to fix such plumbing issues, ensure you find one that is competent and licensed.
Plumbing contractors in Atlanta are required to have a number of insurance policies before they can legally operate in the city. For example, they are required to hold a Worker's Compensation and Employer's Liability Insurance to cover persons employed under them. They must also obtain and maintain a minimum of $1,000,000 of Commercial General Liability Insurance coverage. Automobile Liability Insurance, Builder's Risk Insurance, and Performance Bond are the other insurance policies a plumbing contractor is required to obtain in the City of Atlanta.
Hiring a plumber who possesses the necessary insurance coverage provides you with adequate financial protection in case of life-threatening accidents. This is emphasized by the fact that in 2019 there were 207 fatal occupational injuries among contractors in the State of Georgia, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ensure to inquire if your plumber is insured and about the organization responsible for issuing it. To verify whether your plumber is insured, contact the insurance firm that issued the insurance policy.
With that much money spent on home improvement, some unscrupulous individuals and even dishonest plumbers are out to defraud unsuspecting homeowners under the guise of offering home improvement services. For example, in May of 2021 a home improvement contractor was arrested for defrauding several homeowners across Georgia for over $10,000. This contractor constantly received upfront payments from homeowners but either never started the projects or never completed them.
When planning your plumbing project, you can protect yourself from such scams by taking the following steps:
- Ensure to confirm the licensing status of any plumber under your consideration by utilizing the State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors license search portal.
- Get reviews from other people who have worked with the plumber you wish to hire to have a better understanding of how reliable they are.
- Ensure to get a well-written contract that clearly outlines the type of job you want to be done as well as the cost of all materials required. You should avoid filling out or signing blank contracts because terms you are unaware of may be added later.
- Do not allow any plumber to rush you into signing any contract.
- Avoid paying in full for the project up front.
- Utilize websites such as Better Business Bureau to find plumbers near who have a history of defrauding their clients so you can avoid them.
If you still fall victim to a plumbing or home improvement scam, you can submit an online complaint against the scammer to the State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors. Alternatively, you can submit a complaint to the Georgia Department of Law's Consumer Protection Division. Once your complaint has been received by any of these agencies, it will be reviewed and the appropriate actions will be taken. In some cases, your complaint may be referred to another agency for speedy action.
If the aforementioned agencies cannot provide a desirable solution, you can recover part or all of the money you lost to the scammer by commencing a small claims suit at the Fulton County Magistrate Court. Note that you can only a maximum of $15,000 in a small claims suit. Also, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice from an attorney before filing the small claims case or taking any such legal action.