How to Hire a Good Plumber in Charlotte
A typical home in the City of Charlotte uses an average of seven cubic feet (5,236 gallons) of water monthly paying about $70.39 per month. This fee can significantly increase as water consumption rises or leakages waste water. As such, it is essential to ensure your home's plumbing system is in good shape and no leak is left unattended in order to avoid any needless water wastage. When looking to hire a plumber to fix leakages or maintain your home's plumbing system, plumber referrals from friends and family can be helpful. However, making the following inquiries will further help to find the plumber that can best handle your plumbing needs:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Charlotte?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Charlotte?
- Do You Comply with the City of Charlotte Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Charlotte Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Charlotte?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Charlotte?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Charlotte?
The North Carolina Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors (BEPHFSC) regulates and issues licenses to plumbers in Charlotte. In addition to obtaining a license from this Board, plumbers who intend to perform plumbing work costing more than $30,000 are mandated to get a general contractor license from the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. Per the rules of the North Carolina BEPHFSC, plumbers who operate without a proper license will be found guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor, and this attracts a minimum penalty of 60 days of community punishment and a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail with a $1,000 fine.
Plumbing licenses issued by the Board are categorized into different license types with varying scopes. These license types include Class I Plumbers who can only perform plumbing works within commercial residential, industrial, and institutional buildings, and Class II Plumbers who can only perform plumbing works on single-family detached residential dwellings. Similarly, licensing requirements for these plumbing licenses vary. For example, requirements for getting a Class I or Class II plumber license include:
- Getting approval from the state to write qualifying exams,
- Passing a Business and Law exam that is to be taken at the same time as the trade exam,
- Possessing at least 4,000 hours or two years of full-time experience. Half of these required hours of experience can be in the form of academic or technical training.
Interested persons can contact the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors at (919) 875-3612 for general licensing inquiries.
To verify the license of a plumber you wish to hire, you can utilize the online license verification portal maintained by the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. You can also contact the Board with further inquiries by email or at (919) 875-3612.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Charlotte?
Plumbing charges in Charlotte depend on several factors, including the kind of plumbing work, the cost of obtaining permits, and the cost associated with procuring materials to be used during the plumbing work. However, before agreeing to a plumber's estimates, you should ensure you compare estimates from three or more other plumbers to ensure that you are paying a fair amount and not getting scammed. Checking these rates with other plumbers would also help you create a feasible budget for your plumbing work.
A plumber in the City of Charlotte earns an annual average wage of $45,460. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Charlotte compared with plumbers in other parts of North Carolina and other major cities in the country:Charlotte Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$21.86North Carolina Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$21.69New York City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$35.78Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.71Minneapolis Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$39.45Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22.66Boston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$40.46
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Plumbing works to be performed in the City of Charlotte must be done according to the rules stipulated in the North Carolina Plumbing Administration Code. The Code serves as the guideline for plumbing projects, including installations, alterations, revamping, design, relocation, replacement, and maintenance of plumbing systems in the city. These plumbing systems include sewer and vent systems, water supply and gas supply distribution pipes, fixtures, fixture traps, appurtenances, and connections in Charlotte. The Code also contains the minimum standards for materials to be used for plumbing works within the city. Since the Code has fairly technical terminologies, it is best to hire a licensed plumber familiar with the code to handle your plumbing projects. Failure to comply with the Plumbing Administration Code during your plumbing project also attracts varying penalties that are determined and enforced by the CLT Development Center. You can contact this Center at (704) 336-6692 with questions about the Plumbing Administration Code and assistance with complying with this Code.
The CLT Development Center is responsible for issuing permits for the installation, extension, alteration, or general repair of plumbing systems in Charlotte. According to the North Carolina Administrative Code, the only plumbing work that does not require obtaining a plumbing permit is the replacement of a water heater in a one or two-family dwelling. While the CLT Development Center strives to treat plumbing permit applications urgently, the time taken to process plumbing permit applications depends on several factors, including whether the relevant plumbing work requires the submission of plans or preliminary inspections. To get a permit for your plumbing work, you can contact the Charlotte City Land Development at (704) 336-6692. This Department also receives permit-related inquiries via the above-mentioned phone number and in-person at:
- Charlotte City Land Development
- 600 East 4th Street
- Charlotte, NC 28202
What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
The North Carolina Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors licenses plumbers across multiple categories, including Class I Plumbers, Class II Plumbers, and Restricted licenses plumbers. Each license type has a permissible scope of work. Thus, it is essential that you cross-check the license category of the plumber you wish to hire to ensure that they possess the right expertise and can legally handle your plumbing project.
However, note that a plumber's license category and expertise typically determine their charge rate. Nonetheless, below are the average rates for some common plumbing services in Charlotte:Clearing of a blocked pipe, sink, tub or shower$109 - $133Cleaning of septic tanks$238 - $280Clearing of sewer lines$151 - $232Installation of Bathtub$1,676 - $2,050Installation of gas line$26 - $38Installation of septic systems$6,441 - $7,652Installation of sewer lines$53 - $68Installation of sump pumps$745 - $1,071Installation of swamp cooler$2,041 - $2,185Installation of toilets$134 - $144Installation of water mains$27 - $46Installation or removal of underground fuel tanks$1,533 - $2,493Installation of water softener$904 - $1,212Installation of Well Pumps$666 - $791Video inspection of drain line$226 - $259
Households leaks result in the waste of more than 1 trillion gallons of water across households nationwide. This wastage is equivalent to the annual water usage of more than 11 million homes. With plumbing problems leading to water wastage and potentially increasing your monthly water bills, it is essential to treat any noticeable plumbing problem in your home as an emergency situation. Quickly fixing such plumbing problems keeps your home plumbing system in proper working condition and can help you save up to 10% on monthly water bills. Websites like Yelp or Better Business Bureau, as well as referrals from friends and family, can help with finding plumbers nearest to your location to quickly address any plumbing problems you may be experiencing. However, remember to verify the license of any plumber you intend to hire. You can do this by utilizing the online license verification portal maintained by the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Charlotte?
The State of North Carolina mandates all businesses that employ more than three workers to have worker's compensation insurance for all employees. However, besides ensuring your intended plumber has active workers' compensation insurance, also ensure they have active general liability insurance. General liability insurance is essential, as it ensures that you are insulated from financial responsibilities related to injuries sustained by anyone during your plumbing project. It is also essential to hire a plumber with a contractor bond. Contractor bonds ensure that the City is duly compensated if a plumber breaks any of the City and State's licensing requirements. Before hiring a plumber, you can verify the authenticity of their insurance coverage using an Insurance Coverage Search System maintained by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. You can also contact the North Carolina Industrial Commission at (800) 688-8349 with all inquiries regarding insurance and bond requirements for plumbing contractors within the City.
Before you hire a plumber or a home improvement contractor, you should do some background research to ensure that the plumber does not have any charges related to fraud. Doing this will help you avoid fraudulent contractors or scammers seeking to take advantage of you through your plumbing project. For example, in 2018, two Charlotte contractors were named in a restraining order after receiving a $10,000 deposit for a home improvement job and performing a subpar job. To avoid getting scammed, you can take the following steps:
- Get a second or third opinion. You should always take some time to seek testimonials from previous clients of the plumber you want to hire.
- Reliable contractors are often too busy going door to door soliciting for work. Avoid contractors that search for contracts in this manner. Also, beware of contractors that try to rush you into sealing a deal.
- Avoid contractors who try to push for upfront payments that are more than 10% of the work's value.
- Always confirm your intended plumber's license. You can do this through the online license verification portal maintained by the North Carolina BEPHFSC.
- Ensure that you adequately document all aspects of your negotiations and involvement with the plumber. Your documentation should include proof of payment, so always make payments with checks or credit cards.
- Contact the North Carolina Consumer Protection Section of the Department of Justice (919) 733-7741 to determine if there are complaints against the plumbing contractor you wish to hire.
- Never sign blank documents presented by a contractor. When presented with proper documents, you should only sign if you understand the contents. You should get legal assistance where there are aspects of the contract that you do not understand.
- Make sure that the documents and permits needed for your plumbing project are all intact. Take time to ensure that your contractor obtains all the relevant permits for your plumbing work and has authentic liability insurance coverage and worker's compensation.
If you have a complaint about a plumber operating without a license, you can submit a report to the North Carolina BEPHFSC by email. Also, you can contact the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department at (704) 432-1603 and submit a separate report. For cases where the amount involved in a failed plumbing work is less than $10,000, you can pursue compensation by filing a small claims case at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Inquiries on filing a small claims case at this court can be directed to the Court Clerk's Office at (704) 686-0400. Finally, before filing your small claims case, you should consult a lawyer to get quality legal advice on the best legal steps.