How to Hire a Good Plumber in Raleigh
If you have seen a sudden spike in your water bill in Raleigh, it is probably a result of undetected leakage. Drippings from faucets, toilets, and showerheads can waste up to 90 gallons of water per day. Hiring a qualified plumber will help eliminate this wastage, reduce your bill, and may help qualify you for water leak adjustments on your utility bill. Before you settle for any plumber in the city, ask these questions to determine the professional is a good hire:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Raleigh?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Raleigh?
- Do You Comply with the City of Raleigh Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Raleigh Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Raleigh?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Raleigh?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Raleigh?
The regulation of plumbers in the City of Raleigh is the duty of the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors (BEPHFSC), which issues plumbing licenses to qualified individuals. In addition to obtaining a state license, plumbing contractors handling contracts valued at more than $30,000 must also obtain a license from the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. Failure to obtain the appropriate license is a class 2 misdemeanor, and the penalty for such an offense is a minimum sentence of 60 days of community service or a maximum punishment of 60 days in jail accompanied by a $1,000 fine.
The North Carolina BEPHFSC regulates and issues several plumbing licenses, including Class I, Class II, and Restricted Limited Plumbing licenses. Class I Plumbers can perform plumbing works within commercial, residential, or institutional buildings. Class II Plumbers can perform operations similar to Class I plumbers. However, Class II plumbers are restricted to working on only single-family detached residential dwellings, and Restricted License Plumbers can only work on plumbing systems that are two-inch diameter or smaller. As these licenses vary, so do their scope and licensing requirements. For example, before an applicant can be licensed as either Class I or II plumbers, the applicant must:
- gain approval from the state to write the plumbing qualifying exams,
- write and pass a business and law exam to be taken at the same time as the plumbing trade exams,
- possess at least 4,000 hours or two years of full-time experience. The Board accepts half of the hours of experience in the form of either academic or technical training.
Interested persons can direct plumbing license-related inquiries to the North Carolina BEPHFSC at (919) 875-3612. Generally, it is best to engage a plumber whose license scope is relevant to your plumbing needs. This way, you are more likely to get satisfactory service delivery.
Residents of Raleigh can utilize the online license verification portal maintained by the North Carolina BEPHFSC to verify their intended plumber's license.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Raleigh?
Several factors often influence the fees charged by plumbers in Raleigh. Some of these factors include the nature of the plumbing work, the costs associated with getting permits, and the prices of materials to complete the plumbing work. Before you finally hire a plumbing contractor and sign a contract, it is a good idea to compare rates from multiple plumbers in order to avoid getting cheated.
A plumber in the City of Raleigh earns an annual average wage of $45,300. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Raleigh compared with plumbers in other parts of North Carolina and other major cities in the country:Raleigh Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22North Carolina Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$21.69New York City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$35.78Utah Hourly Average Wage$26.00Minneapolis Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$39.45Montana Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$27.26Boston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$40.46
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Raleigh Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is a document that contains rules and regulations useful in the administration of buildings, plumbing systems, mechanical systems, and electrical systems within Raleigh. This Ordinance serves as the guideline for the location, design, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, maintenance, moving, demolition, removal, and use of plumbing systems in Raleigh. According to the Raleigh UDO, plumbing systems include building sewers, building drains, waste and vent systems, hot and cold water supply systems, and all fixtures and appurtenances. The UDO also stipulates minimum standards for plumbing projects and materials to be used during any plumbing work. The Raleigh UDO is relatively complex, and there are penalties for violating the code. Thus it is best to hire a plumber that understands its technicalities. There are various penalties for violating provisions of the UDO, including up to $100 fines for each day of violation. You can contact the Code Enforcement Division of the Raleigh Housing and Neighborhoods Department with inquiries about the city's UDO either by email or at (919) 996-2444.
The Raleigh Planning and Development Department (PDD) issues permits for any work that involves a plumbing system within the City. The Department also conducts inspections to check the quality of plumbing works performed within the city. However, per the North Carolina Administrative Code, plumbing works involving the replacement of a water heater in a one or two-family dwelling do not generally require permits. Advisably, before starting any plumbing project in the city, you should contact the PDD at (919) 996-2500 or by email with inquiries about permit requirements and projects where these permits are not required. Similarly, to apply for a plumbing permit, you can contact the PDD through the aforementioned communication channels for permit application forms, fees, and processes, or visit the PDD's physical office at:
- Raleigh Planning and Development Department
- Suite 300 and Suite 400
- One Exchange Plaza
- Raleigh, NC 27601
What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
Plumbers in Raleigh offer different services, depending on their area of specialization and license scope. Therefore, when hiring a plumber, it is essential to confirm this plumber's license and find out if the plumber's license scope is relevant to your plumbing needs. You can utilize the license verification tool maintained by the North Carolina BEPHFSC to identify a plumber's license category.
Plumbing contractors typically provide quotes and price estimates for what your plumbing job might cost. These price estimates are affected by the nature of your plumbing project, the cost of materials to be used, the cost of permits, and inspection fees. Nonetheless, below are some cost estimates for some plumbing works in Raleigh:Clearing of clogged drains$110 - $140Cleaning of a septic tank and sewer lines$244 - $287Installation of Gas line$24 - $40Installation of Septic Systems$6,600 - $7,850Installation & repairs of sewer lines$55 - $70Installation of swamp cooler$2,100 - $2,240Installation of water main$28 - $50Installation or removal of fuel tanks$1,570 - $2,560Installation of Water Softener$927 - $1,244Installation of Well Pumps$683 - $811Installation of Bathtub$1,720 - $2,100Installation & Replacement of Toilets$140 - $150Plumbing remodelling$4,000 - $5,000Residential plumbing rates per hour$65 - $80Video inspection of Drain line$230 - $265
It is estimated that more than 10 percent of homes in the country have water leaks that waste more than 90 gallons of water daily. Similarly, it is estimated that the average household wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water each year. This amount of water can wash 270 loads of laundry. Since water leakages, and plumbing problems generally, can significantly increase your water bills and degrade your home, you should treat them as emergencies. As such, it is crucial that you quickly get a plumber to fix these plumbing problems. However, before a plumber arrives at the site of the emergency, you should attempt to administer a short-term solution. Some short-term solutions include plugging leaks or barricading the area to prevent further damage.
When searching for a plumber near you, you can utilize third-party websites like Better Business Bureau or Yelp. However, before you finally hire a plumber, remember to verify this plumber's license using 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 Raleigh?
The North Carolina Industrial Commission requires all employers with three or more workers to have worker compensation insurance. More importantly, ensure to hire plumbers with general liability insurance, as this protects you from the financial costs that would arise if anyone sustains an injury during your plumbing project. The need for insurance cannot be overemphasized as the Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that there were 5,333 fatal occupational injuries nationwide, and a worker died every 99 minutes in 2019. To confirm if your intended plumber has general liability insurance, you can ask this plumber to furnish you with proof of coverage. For more information on the importance of insurance and related requirements, you can contact the Raleigh Housing and Neighborhoods Department at (919) 996-4330.
Before you sign a contract with a plumber, it is important that you conduct proper background checks and ensure that this plumber does not have indictments for fraud or a bad reputation. This is to ensure that you are not the victim of a contractor scam. For example, In February 2021, a Raleigh contractor agreed to pay back $16,000 in restitution after receiving payments from homeowners and failing to complete the relevant home improvement projects. To avoid getting scammed by a plumbing contractor, endeavor to follow these steps:
- Avoid contractors who try to pressure you into engaging their services.
- Do not pay more than 10% of the value of your plumbing work as upfront payment.
- Before hiring a plumber, ensure you verify this plumber's license through the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors' online license verification portal.
- Always make payments with credit cards or checks, and avoid or minimize cash payments.
- Do well to ask your intended plumber to provide references from previous clients.
- Ensure that you verify the validity of the liability insurance and worker's compensation insurance possessed by your intended plumber.
- Avoid contractors who claim to be carrying out work under another contractor's license. They are most likely fraudulent.
- Get a written agreement with your plumber.
Reports about unlicensed plumbers can be made to the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors by email. If you wish to report a fraudulent contractor, you can also contact the Raleigh Police Department by email or at (919) 996-3335.
If you are unsatisfied with the results of your reports or complaints and if the monetary value in dispute is less than $10,000, you can file a small claims case with the Small Claims Division of the Wake County Justice Center. For assistance with filing a small claims case, you can contact the Small Claims Division of the Wake County Justice Center by phone at (919) 792-4175. However, before proceeding with court action, it is best to consult an attorney for legal advice.