How to Hire a Good Plumber in Columbus
While plumbing problems like dripping faucets and leaking toilets may seem insignificant, they can result in serious water wastage. Ignoring dripping faucets and leaking toilet refill valves can lead to wastage of approximately 500 gallons to 21,600 gallons of water respectively in the City of Columbus. This additional consumption can cost you significant sums of money through water use charges.Therefore, it is essential to retain the services of a competent plumber in Columbus to fix water leaks promptly. A quick fix can save you more than $2800 annually. Asking friends, colleagues, and neighbors is a good way to find plumbers near you. However, you should always ensure that your plumber is competent to carry out the services you are employing them for. You can do this by asking the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Columbus?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Columbus?
- Do You Comply with the City of Columbus Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Columbus Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Columbus?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Columbus?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Columbus?
Section 4114.107 of the City of Columbus Code states that only a duly licensed journeyperson plumber can work in the city. Violating this code will result in fines of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 180 days, as detailed in Section 4111.99 of this code.
Plumbers that wish to provide their services to residents of Columbus are required to obtain licenses from the City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Department and the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB). Ensuring that a plumber you intend to hire has the necessary license grants you the confidence that your work can be done at the right quality and in compliance with the city requirements.
The City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Department issues Journeyperson plumber licenses to qualified parties who meet the following requirements:
- They must have either attained a minimum of five years of full experience in installing plumbing services such as potable water systems or completed a United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship Training (USDOL, BAT) apprenticeship program
- They must have completed and passed the National Standard Journeyman Plumber - F25 written exam (conducted by an accredited agency) with a grade of at least 70%
Similarly, the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) issues licenses for commercial plumbing contractors in Columbus. The requirements include:
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old
- Applicants must be citizens of the United States or be a legal resident
- Applicants must have experience of not less than five years in plumbing or be registered engineers with three years of experience in plumbing
- Applicants have not been convicted of a list of disqualifying offenses
- Applicants must pass the plumbing trade exam administered by the OCILB
- Applicants must have a minimum of $500,000 in contractor liability coverage
You can verify the state-issued license of a plumber in Columbus via the eLicense Ohio Professional Licensure System portal. To verify city-issued licenses, you can contact the City of Columbus's Department of Building and Zoning Services at (614) 645 -7433.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Columbus?
The fees for hiring a plumber's services in Columbus depend on the nature of the work, the cost of materials, and the fees for the required permits. For the best bargain before proceeding with your project, it is advisable to compare prices from at least three different plumbers near you.
A plumber in the City of Columbus earns an annual average wage of $58,580. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Columbus compared with plumbers in other parts of Ohio and other major cities in the country:Columbus Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$28.16Ohio 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 work in Columbus must be done in accordance with the Ohio Plumbing Code, which sets out the guidelines and regulations for the design, installation, alteration, repair, relocation, and maintenance of plumbing systems in the city. Hiring a licensed plumber is vital to guarantee the quality of your work and ensure the required compliance with the city plumbing code, as a licensed plumber will be familiar with this code. Compliance with the city plumbing code also prevents potential penalties and civil punishments that are associated with code violations. You can contact the City of Columbus Building and Zoning Department for information on the city's plumbing code requirements at (614) 645-0082.
Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Columbus Code?
Section 4113.61 of the City of Columbus Code of Ordinances states that a plumbing permit is required for all kinds of plumbing work in the city. However, there are exceptions for some types of plumbing work, which include:
- Repair work not affecting sanitation, such as mending leaks in valves, faucets, or water supply pipes
- Repairing a broken water heater, fixture, or tank
- Flushing a house drain or sewer
- Freeing up a frozen pipe
The City of Columbus Building and Zoning Department issues plumbing permits in Columbus. To apply for a plumbing permit, download a Plumbing Permit Application, fill it in and submit, along with any necessary plans and designs for your project, to:
- Building and Zoning Services
- 111 North Front Street
- Columbus, OH 43215
- Phone: (614) 645-7433
- Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
You can also apply for a plumbing permit online using the Citizen Access Portal. Note that you must register a user account before utilizing this portal. Once your permit application and any required plans have been submitted, these documents are reviewed for approval. depending on the specific nature of your project, your plans may require review by additional departments. Plan review for commercial projects takes four weeks after submission, while plan reviews for family residential projects take approximately one week, and two sets of plans for the proposed project are typically required. Note that for plumbing work in residential and commercial buildings located in multiple historic districts and areas in the city, a review of the proposed design is also required before obtaining the permit to begin work. After the review is concluded and the application is approved, a permit is issued, and work can commence.
Finally, it is important to note that once your project commences, it may require inspections to ensure that the work being done is compliant with the work detail on the permit, plans, and plumbing code. Inspection requests can be made online using the Citizens Access Portal or calling (614) 645-8235. To schedule requests for the next business day, ensure they are made before 4:00 p.m. on a business day. General permit and inspection-related queries can also be directed to the Columbus Building and Zoning Department at (614) 645-7433.
What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
Plumbers in Columbus offer various plumbing services for residential, multifamily, and commercial property. These plumbers are generally expected to provide services for new plumbing work, the repair of already installed systems, the maintenance of already installed systems, or emergency plumbing repairs. However, it is vital to ensure that the skill set of your intended plumbers is adequate for your project before hiring them. For example, residential plumbers typically focus on residential property, while commercial plumbers are usually more involved in the plumbing work of non-residential facilities such as restaurants, factories, warehouses, retail buildings, and shopping malls.
Common cost estimates for plumbing services in Columbus include:Residential plumbing contractors rate per hour$63 - $71Bathtub installation$1,656 - $2,024Toilet Installation or replacement$137 - $142Water main installation or repair$28 - $46Clearing drain clog or blockage$107 - $132Sump pump installation$736 - $1,100Drain line video inspection$224 - $256Gas line installation per linear foot$27 - $38Septic system installation$6360 - $7556Septic tank cleaning or pumping$236 - $277Sewer line installation and repair per linear foot$53 - $68Sewer line cleaning and repair$150 - $230Swamp cooler installation$2,015 - $2,160Commercial plumbing contractor rate per hour$85 - $92
Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Columbus?
Plumbing problems typically require a rapid response. Seemingly small drips from faucets can add up very quickly, while clogged toilets, water heater problems, low water pressure, and other issues can be pretty inconvenient. Up to ten percent of households have leaks in their plumbing systems, leading to a waste of 90 gallons of water or more per day. With Columbus residents paying up to $5.46 per 500 gallons of water used, stopping these leaks as soon as possible is essential. With that being said, some plumbing problems, such as water heater trouble, overflowing toilets, clogged kitchen sink, and interior leak, typically need a swifter response than others. Ensuring that the plumber you hire is close to your location and has the right experience and knowledge to fix your plumbing issue is important in quickly resolving emergency plumbing problems.
You can find a competent plumber near you using the Better Business Bureau portal to filter accredited plumbers in Columbus or Yelp's business review website. Note that, before making the final hiring decision, you should always make sure to verify the license of your intended plumber.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Columbus?
Plumbers face numerous work-related hazards and so it is necessary to make sure that any plumber you hire is duly insured. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 158 fatal work-related injuries occurred in the State of Ohio in 2018, and three of these fatalities involved plumbers. To this end, plumbing contractors in Columbus are required to have a minimum of $500,000 in contractor liability coverage. This contractor liability coverage covers claims of damage to clients' homes as well as the costs of any injuries suffered during a project. Before hiring the services of a plumbing contractor in Columbus, you should ensure they provide proof of their insurance cover, and you should also authenticate this insurance cover with the relevant issuing organization.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Columbus
A Havard University study on home remodeling mentions the City of Columbus as one of the cities in the United States with a continued increase in spending on home improvements in 2017. Unfortunately, the considerable amount of money spent on home improvements in Columbus has attracted dishonest plumbers that are looking to scam unwary residents of the city. A few examples of scam techniques used by these dishonest plumbers are:
- Collecting a large down payment, taking the money, and simply running without performing the work or providing a refund.
- Starting and receiving payment for a significant plumbing project and then stopping suddenly without notice, leaving the work uncompleted, with promises to complete the work. Ultimately, the plumber ends up ignoring the client's phone calls and cuts off communication completely.
- Carrying out substandard plumbing work that leaves the homeowner having to completely redo the work at an additional cost.
Given the inherent risks of falling for a scam when looking for plumbers near you, you should consider taking the following steps before hiring any plumbers in Columbus:
- Avoid making payments to your plumbers with cash as this eliminates a paper trail, encourages a potential scammer, and can eliminate proof of monetary exchange if a scam is committed and requires investigation.
- Ensure you verify the license of a plumber before hiring them.
- Always request estimates from multiple plumbers
- Always ask your intended plumbers for contact information from previous customers who can affirm the quality of the plumber's work and professionalism.
- Always check the track record of a potential hire via the Ohio Attorney General's Office Consumer Complaint Search and the Better Business Bureau before signing a contract or making a payment. You can also check Google Review and Yelp for reviews on the plumber's performance.
- Be wary if a plumber requests a sizable down payment. Instead, opt to make your payments coincide with the stages of the work done by the plumber, such as start, midpoint, and completion.
- Get all promises the plumber offers on the project in writing.
- Be suspicious of prices of materials and services that are ridiculously low or claims from a plumber to have materials left over from a recent job. These might be signs of a traveling scam artist.
- Be aware of the Ohio Home Solicitation Sales Act, which grants you a three-day grace period during which you can still cancel a contract. This act is applicable for most contracts signed at home, including plumbing contracts.
- Be wary of unsolicited plumbing inspections. These inspections typically lead to the discovery of non-existent plumbing issues.
In June 2019, the Ohio Attorney General filed a lawsuit against a plumbing contractor in Columbus for accepting money from consumers, failing to deliver plumbing goods, and providing shoddy repair services. You can report plumbing scams to the Consumer Protection Section of the Office of the Ohio Attorney General by calling (800) 282-0515. Complaints can also be filed online or by downloading a consumer complaint form, completing it, and mailing the completed form to:
- Consumer Protection Section
- 30 East Broad Street.
- 14th Floor
- Columbus, OH 43215-3400
Note that filing a complaint with the Consumer Protection Section does not guarantee the refund of your funds from an errant plumber. If you seek damages where the amount does not exceed $6,000, you can consider hiring an attorney and filing a suit at the Small Claims Division of the Franklin County Municipal Court located at:
- 375 South High Street
- 16th Floor
- Columbus, OH 43215
- Phone: (614) 645-7381
- Hours: 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday