How to Hire a Good Plumber in Wichita
Plumbers in Wichita charge $23.76 per hour and with a day's work a good plumber in the city may save you several hundred dollars in your annual water bills by fixing undetected leakages. Leaks from dripping faucets, faulty toilet valves, loose sprinkler heads, and broken underground pipes can waste up to 90 gallons of water per day. With Wichita Public Works and Utilities charging $9.71 per 1,000 gallons of water for excess usage, such wastage will add more than $300 to your annual water bill. However, before you settle for any plumber in the city to help fix any plumbing issues, ask the following questions to be certain the professional is a good hire:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Wichita?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Wichita?
- Do You Comply with the City of Wichita Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Wichita Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Wichita?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Wichita?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Wichita?
Per Section 3.1.380 of the MABCD Plumbing Code, all plumbers intending to work in the City of Wichita are required to obtain a license from the Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD). Violating this regulatory requirement is deemed an unclassified misdemeanor, and is punishable by a fine of not more than $500 for a first conviction, and fines of not more than $2,000 per count for subsequent convictions.
Sedgwick County's Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD) issues Journeyman, Master Plumber, and Plumbing Contractor licenses to parties who have fulfilled the necessary requirements. Journeyman plumbing licenses are typically issued to plumbers that can work independently, while Master Plumber licenses are issued to more experienced plumbers capable of also supervising other plumbers. The requirements for obtaining these licenses include:
- Journeyman Plumbing: A year of field experience and a year of plumbing trade school education or two years of experience in plumbing, at least a 75% score in the International Code Council Exams
- Master Plumbing: Journeyman plumbing license and two years of plumbing experience or four years of plumbing experience, at least a 75% score on the International Code Council Exams
- Plumbing Contractor: Trade certificate for Master Plumber, test results for International Code Council Master Plumber exams, certificate of liability insurance of at least $300,000, and workers compensation certificate of insurance or workers compensation waiver. Other requirements include an auto certificate of insurance or auto insurance waiver, Certificate of Good Standing from the Kansas Secretary of State, Qualified Person Declaration Page, Company Officers Signature Page, Qualified Person's authorization to do business for the company, and payment of application fee.
You can verify a Journeyman or Master Plumber's license by calling (316) 660-1840. You can also verify a plumbing contractor's license by using the MABCD Online LookUp Portal to conduct license number or name-based searches.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Wichita?
The cost of retaining a plumber in Wichita to work on your project depends on the type of work the plumber will do, the cost of materials and permits that may be required, and the complexity of the work. Before commencing the project, it is a good idea to speak to at least three plumbers and request estimates from them. Having multiple quotes to compare prices can help decide the plumber best equipped to complete your project for a suitable price.
A plumber in the City of Wichita earns an annual average wage of $49,430. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Wichita compared with plumbers in other parts of Kansas and other major cities in the country:Wichita Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$23.76Kansas Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$28.11Seattle Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$39.45Denver Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.30Chicago Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$44.20Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.04Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.71
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD) Plumbing Code establishes the minimum requirements necessary to safeguard public health, well-being, and safety of the residents of Wichita concerning the use of plumbing systems in the city. These requirements include regulating the installation, design, maintenance, and types of materials for plumbing installations in Wichita. Hiring a licensed plumber for your plumbing projects helps to ensure your project is done professionally and without any code violations and resultant penalties. This is because licensed Wichita plumbers are typically familiar with the general requirements of the MABCD Plumbing Code as well as the provisions of the code that may specifically apply to your project. For information on the plumbing code requirements for plumbing work done in the City of Wichita, you can contact the MABCD at (316) 660-1840.
Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Wichita Code?
Per Section 3.1.058 of the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD) Plumbing Code, a plumbing permit is required before the commencement of plumbing work in the City of Wichita. However, there are exceptions to this law, and certain types of plumbing work can be carried out in the city without a plumbing permit. Examples of these include:
- Minor repairs or alterations not exceeding $200 in costs.
- The repair of leaks in pipes, valves, or fixtures, and the clearing of stoppages, provided that these repairs do not need new piping or valves.
- The reinstallation and removal of water closets, as long as the repairs do not require new valves, piping, or fixtures.
- Stopping of leaks in soil, drains, water, vent, or waste pipe.
The Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department issues residential and commercial plumbing permits for plumbing work in Wichita. Applications for residential plumbing permits can be made online via the MABCD's portal. Note that account registration is required for the utilization of this portal. Alternatively, you can complete and submit a Residential Building Permit Application form to:
- Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department
- 271 West, 3rd Street North
- Suite 101
- Wichita, KS 67202
Applying for a commercial plumbing permit in Wichita requires submitting a plan for review online via the MABCD portal and also completing the plan review process online via this portal. Note that plans for your project must be drawn by a professional licensed by the State of Kansas. After the submission and approval of the plan, the MABCD will commence the plumbing permit issuing process. You can contact the MABCD for inquiries on its permitting process via phone number (316) 660-1840. The MABCD also provides online guides on using the MABCD portal as a contractor and non-contractor. Finally, after your requested permit has been issued, the Plumbing Section of the MABCD's Inspection Division will require inspections at different stages of plumbing work for residential and commercial buildings to ensure compliance with applicable regulations. You can schedule inspections through the MABCD portal or via this department's voice Telus/System by calling (316) -660-9550.
What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
Plumbers in Wichita offer plumbing services including fixing leaks, installing pipes, maintaining plumbing systems, emergency plumbing services, and replacing faulty plumbing systems. However, not all plumbers provide the same services or are capable of providing them to the same extent. Therefore, it is essential to consider the specialization and experience of a plumber before hiring them for your project to ensure that they are a good fit. For instance, while a journeyman plumber can replace a leaking pipe, they may require the supervision of a master plumber before being able to troubleshoot a drain pipe blockage.
Listed below are the cost estimates of some common plumbing services provided by plumbers in the City of Wichita:Pre-purchased toilet installation or replacement$130 - $140Drain clog clearing or blockage (shower, bath tub, or sink)$106 - $129Acrylic bathtub installation$1620 - $1980Video inspection for drain line$219 - $250Gas line installation (per linear foot)$26 - $37Residential plumbing contractor hiring rates (per hour)$62 - $71Commercial plumbing contractors hiring rate (per hour)$83 - $90Plumbing for home remodeling or addition$3,691 - $4,771Pump installation (not exceeding 25 feet)$644 - $765Water softener installation$$874 - $1,1172Underground fuel tank removal (550-gallon)$1,481 - $1,639Underground fuel tank installation (500-gallon)$1,944 - $2,409Water main installation (per linear foot)$28 - $46Water main repair (per linear foot)$28 - $45Roof mounted swamp cooler$1,972 - $2,111Sump pump installation$720 - 1,036
Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Wichita?
Plumbing problems such as sewer backups, overflowing toilets, burst pipes, and non-functioning hot water heating systems are generally considered emergency plumbing problems that require immediate attention. Note that even though water leaks from faucets or toilets may seem insignificant, they also demand immediate rectification as well. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that household leaks result in over 800 gallons of water wasted monthly in homes across the United States. With residents of Wichita currently paying $6.18 for every 1,000 gallons they consume, delaying repairs on water leaks and other plumbing-related issues will inevitably lead to higher water bills.
When facing a plumbing emergency, it is important to have access to a plumber close to you who can find your location quickly to rectify your plumbing issues and mitigate further damage to your property. Nonetheless, you should never fail to verify the plumber's credentials and ensure that they have the required license and the experience to fix your emergency. You can find plumbers near you capable of fixing emergencies using third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau or Yelp.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Wichita?
Plumbers tend to work in conditions and situations that expose them to risks such as slips, falls, and trips. These particular types of hazards are estimated to account for about 7 of the 61 fatal occupational injuries that were recorded in Kansas in 2018. With the potential of injury to persons on a property development site and additional risks to the property, hiring a plumber with insurance provides you with financial protection in the event of an accident, injury, or damage to the property.
Plumbing contractors operating in Wichita must procure and maintain a general liability insurance policy that covers all activities of the contractor while engaged in plumbing activity. The insurance policy must have a minimum coverage of $300,000 per occurrence, and these plumbing contractors are required to provide proof of this policy before they are issued licenses. As such, you should always ask your intended plumber to present proof of their insurance documents and validate these documents with the issuing organizations before hiring them.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Wichita
Fraudulent contractors in the City of Kansas typically employ a number of methods to scam unsuspecting homeowners that require plumbing services. Some of these methods include:
- Claiming to have leftover materials from a previous job as a way to justify their relatively cheaper services and collect upfront payment.
- Utilizing high-pressure sales tactics to get clients to retain their services.
- Starting work after receiving payment for service and materials, and then stopping suddenly and never completing the work.
In May 2021, the Kansas Attorney General announced that a contracting company, Diebolt LLC, was banned from doing business in the state and fined for violating the state's Consumer Protection Act. The Kansas Attorney General had filed a suit against the company for not providing services after payment by homeowners, and the judge in charge approved a default judgment after Diebolt LLC failed to respond. You can avoid plumbing-related scams from fraudulent contractors with these simple tips:
- Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true.
- Always get and compare multiple written bids on your plumbing project to ensure that you are being charged a fair and reasonable price.
- Always ask for local references from a plumbing contractor before selecting one for your project.
- Try to stick to local, well-known, and reputable plumbers for your work instead of out-of-state plumbers, who have a higher likelihood of not completing the job.
- Get referrals from friends, family, and neighbors, as this can help you narrow down your choices of potentially dependable plumbers.
- Always make sure that your plumbing contractor choice is duly insured and obtains, all the required permits for the job.
- Always verify a plumber's license with Sedgwick County's Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department by calling (316) 660-1840 before selecting them to do your work.
- Avoid making significant upfront payments. Instead, schedule your payments based on the different milestones of your work and only make the final payment after the final inspection from the city's inspection authority.
- Always ensure that all the work's important details, such as dates, cost of work, type of materials used, and payment schedule, are written into the contract.
You can report plumbing and other contractor-related scams to the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Sedgwick County District Attorney by calling (316) 660-3600. Alternatively, you can download a consumer complaint form, complete it, and then submit it to:
- Office of the Sedgwick County District Attorney
- 18th Judicial District of Kansas
- 535 North Main Street
- Wichita, KS 67203
- Phone: (316) 660-3600
If your goal for filing a complaint is a refund of your funds, you can take additional action by filing a civil lawsuit against the plumber. Matters that do not exceed $4,000 can be filed at the Small Claims Court of the18th Judicial District Court of Kansas. Note that it is advisable to seek professional legal advice from an attorney before filing a lawsuit. You can find qualified attorneys in Wichita by calling the Kansas Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 928-3111.