How to Hire a Good Plumber in Cleveland
Procrastinating the repair of seemingly minor plumbing issues in the CIty of Cleveland can compound these issues and have significant cost implications. The Cleveland Division of Water estimates that leaking showerheads and faucets can increase a household's water use by 3,500 gallons in a year, and leaving these leaks unattended can lead to a 10% increase in residents' water bills. On the other hand, hiring the services of a professional plumber to take care of these leaks can save you up to $3,600 annually. Asking friends, family, neighbors, and building professionals are some of the methods to hiring a plumber near you. Nevertheless, it would also be beneficial to ask plumbers referred to you the following questions, to ensure that you end up hiring the best plumber for the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Cleveland?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Cleveland?
- Do You Comply with the City of Cleveland Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Cleveland Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Cleveland?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Cleveland?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Cleveland?
Plumbers aspiring to carry out repairs or work on projects in Cleveland must have a license from the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB). By limiting your plumber hires to licensed plumbers, you can increase your chance of getting quality work and also reduce the chances of your project violating any of the city's plumbing work requirements. Per Section 3107.02 of the City of Cleveland Building Code, only appropriately licensed plumbers can perform the installation or maintenance of all Ohio Building Code (OBC) regulated work in the city. Violation of this code is considered a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 or 6 months imprisonment.
The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCLIB) issues journeyman plumber and plumbing contractor licenses to eligible parties in Cleveland. The OCLIB issues journeyman plumbing licenses to plumbers who have:
- At least five years experience installing plumbing systems or has completed an apprenticeship program
- Passed the National Standard Journeyman Plumber exam
Likewise, plumbing contractor licenses are issued to parties that meet the following licensing requirements:
- Applicants must be legal residents of the United States or citizens
- Applicants should be at least 18 years old
- Applicants must pay the required license fees
- Applicant must pass the trade exam for plumbers
- Applicants must be free of convictions from certain criminal offenses such as murder and felony fraud
- Applicants must have no less than$500,000 in contractor liability coverage
- Applicants must have at least five years of experience in plumbing or must be state registered engineers with at least three years of experience with plumbing
Note that these plumbing contractors will also be required to undergo registration with the Cleveland Department of Building and Housing To verify the license of your intended plumber, you can check their license status using the eLicense Ohio Professional Licensure System portal. You can also confirm your plumber's registration status with the Cleveland Department of Building and Housing by calling (216) 664-2884.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Cleveland?
The cost of hiring a plumber in Cleveland depends on the extent of the required work, fees for permits, the urgency of the work, and the materials used. You should always compare quotes from at least three plumbers near you before deciding on the choice of a plumber for your project. Asking for multiple estimates will help you decide which of the rates is most reasonable and closest to your budget.
A plumber in the City of Cleveland earns an annual average wage of $66,900. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Cleveland compared with plumbers in other parts of Ohio and other major cities in the country:Cleveland Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$32.16Ohio State Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$28.32Seattle 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
Plumbing in Cleveland must be done per the Ohio Plumbing Code, which the city adopts. The Ohio Plumbing Code provides guidelines that apply to the relocation, repair, installation, removal, design, inspection, maintenance, alteration, and use of plumbing systems in buildings in Cleveland. This code also includes guidance for stormwater drainage, piping sizes, water supply systems, sanitary drainage, wastewater systems, toilet room specifications, kitchen water supply, bathtub installations, faucets and fixture installations, and gas piping in the city. Duly licensed plumbers in Cleveland are knowledgeable of the code's provisions and requirements, and hiring one for your project helps avoid code violations and associated penalties. In addition, a licensed plumber can also ensure you get quality work. For more information on the plumbing code and its provisions that may apply to your project, you can reach the Cleveland Building and Housing Department by phone via (216) 664-2282.
Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Cleveland Code?
Under Section 3133.02 of the Ohio Plumbing Code, permits are required before any type of plumbing work is done in the City of Cleveland. However, exceptions in the code provide for certain work that can be carried out without permits. These types of work are considered minor repairs, and they include:
- The repair or replacement of existing fixtures, faucets, and valves with materials serving the same purpose
- The stopping of leaks, the clearance of stoppages, and relieving frozen pipes
- Minor replacements that do not involve changes to piping or fixtures beyond what has been specifically permitted
- Clearance of stoppage that can be done without power-driven equipment or cutting of pipes and fittings
- Stopping of leaks without replacement of vent piping or drainage
Permits for plumbing-related work in Cleveland are provided by the City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing. To obtain a plumbing permit, you will be required to download a plumbing permit application, complete it, and submit with, along with any required plans and additional documents, to:
- Department of Building and Housing
- 601 Lakeside Avenue
- Room 505
- Cleveland, OH 44114
- Phone: (216) 664-2000
- Hours: 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
Note that a separate application for a water permit from the City of Cleveland Division of Water may also be required for plumbing work that involves a connection to the city's water system. Permit applications are reviewed after submission and checked for code compliance. The length of time it takes these permit applications to be reviewed typically depends on the specific nature of the project and its complexity. For example, reviews for residential home-related projects are generally completed in three to five working days. For inquiries on the plumbing permit process, you can (216) 664-2000. Also, the Department of Building and Housing requires scheduled inspections at the different stages of the project after it issues permits. Plumbing contractors and homeowners working on their projects themselves are responsible for scheduling these inspections. For inquiries on the inspection process, you can contact the City of Cleveland's Chief Plumbing Inspector at (216) 664-2284.
What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
It is important to ensure that any plumber you hire has the right set of skills for your work, as this can impact the outcome of your project. Plumbers in Cleveland provide a wide range of plumbing services, such as sump pump installation, water heater installation, drain cleaning, video camera inspection, toilet repair, shower repair, faucet repair, and sink repair. Plumbers in the city also perform new plumbing system installations, while some of these plumbers may focus, and specialize in either residential or commercial plumbing jobs.
Some common rates for plumbing services in Cleveland are as follows:Clearing of drain clog or blockage$119 - $145Plumbing for remodel or home addition$4,141 - $5,353Toilet installation or replacement$145 - $157Bathtub installation$1,817 - $2,222Drain line video installation$246 - $281Septic system installation$6,981 - $8,8294Gas line installation per linear foot$29 - $42Septic tank cleaning or pumping$259 - $305Sewer line cleaning$165 - $252Sewer line installation and repair per linear foot$58 - $73Swamp cooler installation$2,212 - $2,369Sump pump installation$$808 - $1,162Commercial plumbing contractor per hour$92.92 - $100Residential Plumbing Contractors per hour$70 - $79Water main installation or repair per linear foot$41
Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Cleveland?
Residents of Cleveland pay up to $63 per 7,480 gallons of water, and any form of water wastage can significantly impact this water bill. With household leaks leading to more than one trillion gallons of water wasted annually nationwide, these plumbing issues are best attended to as soon as they are detected. While plumbing problems need urgent attention, some issues require more urgency than others. These include overflowing toilets, burst pipes, clogged sink drain, leaky fixtures, sewer backup, and water heater malfunction. When you require a fix for an emergency plumbing solution, it is vital that you are able to hire a plumber close to you with the skill, equipment, and experience to fix the problem quickly. You can find competent plumbers near you via Google review, the Better Business Bureau, or Yelp. Note that you can always confirm the authenticity of these plumbers before hiring them by checking their registration with the Cleveland Department of Building and Housing via phone number (216) 664-2884.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Cleveland?
Hiring a plumber who is insured protects you from financial liabilities if the plumber suffers any physical injuries while working on your project. Plumbing contractors in Cleveland are required to have a minimum of $200,000 in contractor liability insurance. This contractor liability insurance includes $100,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for property damage. To this end, before hiring a plumber for your project, you should request that they provide information on their insurance coverage, and you should verify this information by contacting the appropriate issuing organizations.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Cleveland
The very nature of real estate means that a significant amount is spent annually on new construction and home improvement projects, including plumbing system upgrades and repairs. However, this attracts shady plumbers or con artists pretending to be plumbers, who take advantage of unsuspecting Cleveland homeowners by trying to fraudulently obtain money from them. Some examples of scams used by these individuals include:
- Deliberately performing substandard plumbing work despite charging premium rates.
- Requesting large down payments and subsequently not carrying out the work that has been paid for
- stopping the plumbing work before it is completed and requesting additional payment to conclude the work or completely disappearing, despite having been paid for the job
In October 2018, the Ohio Attorney General's Office announced that it would be filing a consumer protection lawsuit against a home improvement contractor in Cleveland for collecting payments totaling more than $4,000 and performing shoddy work. To protect yourself from scams like these, here are some tips to follow:
- Do not hire a plumber unless you have verified their license.
- Do not accept unsolicited plumbing inspections and repair offers from random plumbers in your neighborhood.
- Always remember that the Ohio Home Solicitation Sales Act allows you to cancel a plumbing contract signed at home within three business days of signing if you start to suspect foul play.
- Be wary of plumbers that provide unusually low quotes for your project or claim to have leftover materials from previous jobs.
- Ensure that all agreements with your plumber are documented in writing before the start of the project
- Do not make cash payments.
- Before selecting a plumber for your work, always request quotes from more than one plumber to compare.
- Always request references from your intended plumber and contact these references to get first-hand information on the plumber's work habits.
- Avoid large down payments for your project.
If you have been at the receiving end of a plumbing scam, you can report the scam to the Consumer Protection Division of the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs by calling (216) 443-7035. Alternatively, you can also file a complaint via an online complaint form, or by downloading and mailing a pdf complaint form to:
- Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs
- 2079 East Ninth
- 2nd Floor
- Cleveland, OH 44115
Beyond submitting a complaint to the Consumer Protection Division, you may choose to seek damages for the scam. If this is the case and the amount does not exceed $6,000, you can retain the services of an experienced attorney and file a small claims suit at the Cleveland Municipal Court located at:
- Level Two - Court Tower
- 1200 Ontario Street
- Cleveland, OH 44113
- Phone: (216) 664-4790
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday