About 7.15 million waterborne illnesses and 6,630 waterborne illness-related deaths occur in the United States every year. These figures drive home the importance of having your water and sewer system well-maintained by a qualified plumber near you. Plumbing in the United States is done in accordance with specific industry codes, with the International Plumbing Code and the Uniform Plumbing Code of 2021 being the most commonly adopted ones. Some states also have locally adopted codes. For example, plumbing contractors in Illinois and California utilize the Illinois Plumbing Code and the California Plumbing Code respectively.
While, to find the best plumber nearby, you may ask friends or neighbors, or go through the local near me directory, you can select the most qualified plumbing contractor for your task by by asking these questions:
Are You a Licensed Plumbing Contractor?
Whatever your area in the US, you cannot just hire any plumber near you. The plumbing industry is strictly regulated and every state has licensing requirements for plumbing contractors. These requirements differ by location, but they generally involve the plumbing contractors working for a particular number of years and passing a written exam. Many areas typically issue state-level plumbing licenses based on the contractor's level of experience. For example, the State of Texas issues tradesman plumber- limited, journeyman, master, and plumbing inspector licenses. Plumbing contractors can obtain a tradesman plumber-limited license only if they are registered apprentices that have at least 4,000 hours of plumbing experience. Obtaining a journeyman license requires at least 8,000 hours of experience while a master plumber must have spent at least one year as a journeyman plumber.
In Connecticut, a journeyperson license is issued to plumbers that have completed a registered apprenticeship program, and a contractor license is issued to a plumber that has been licensed as a journeyperson for at least two years. Maryland issues journeyman plumbing licenses to individuals that have spent four years as an apprentice and have 7,500 hours of training experience, while master plumber licenses are issued to journeyman plumbers that have at least two years and 3,750 of training experience.
Note that not all states issue state-level plumbing licenses. In states like New York, Kansas, and Pennsylvania, licenses are issued locally by counties, cities, and municipalities.
Always make sure that the plumbing contractor you have searched out near you is properly licensed. You can verify licenses online by utilizing the licensing information website created and maintained by the National Association of Contractors Licensing Agencies. It is also advisable that you contact the consumer protection agency in your state of residence to find out the specific plumbing license requirements for your area.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Plumbing Contractor?
In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 6,100 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses and 33 fatal occupational injuries amongst plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters. Hiring a plumbing contractor that is properly insured helps protect both you and your plumbing contractor from any financial liabilities if any injuries occur to either of you or a third-party as a direct result of your plumbing project.
Before you hire a plumbing contractor near me, make sure that you are shown irrefutable proof that the contractor is properly insured. You can do this by asking for a copy of the contractor's insurance certificate. Even though states have varying insurance requirements, it is always a good idea to hire a plumbing contractor that has both general liability and workers' compensation insurance coverage.
In addition to being insured, a professional plumbing contractor should also be bonded. While insurance offers you financial protection if an on-the-job injury occurs, bonding offers you financial protection if the contractor defaults on the job. This means that you will get duly compensated if your plumbing contractor does not complete the job or if the job is not done properly. Bonding requirements differ by state, therefore it is advisable that you contact your local consumer protection agency to find out the specifics for your area of residence.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
You should always hire a nearby plumbing contractor that is adequately suited to handle your plumbing problem. Plumbing contractors generally fall into three groups based on the scale of the job required. These groups are Residential Plumbers, Commercial Plumbers, and Service and Repair Plumbers.
Residential plumbers are skilled at handling small scale plumbing system jobs like installing pipe systems in houses and ensuring that the water systems, pipes, and toilets in these houses function properly. Commercial plumbers handle large scale plumbing jobs like the installation, repair, and maintenance of plumbing systems in industrial buildings, schools, hospitals, and factories. Service and repair plumbers are plumbing contractors that are specially trained to handle the repair and maintenance of plumbing systems in both residential homes and commercial businesses.
Plumbing contractors can also be classified as Water Supply Plumbers and Sanitary Plumbers. This classification is based on the type of plumbing that they handle. Water supply plumbers mostly specialize in installing and repairing water tanks and pipes. This includes fitting deferred sanitation systems and excess pipes and connecting them to their respective tanks and outlets. On the other hand, sanitary plumbers handle plumbing system problems that are related to sanitary pipes and tanks. This includes installing and maintaining bathtubs and fitting showers and toilets with water heating systems.
Finding out the type of plumbing work that an installer or repairer is specialized in helps you hire a contractor that is qualified to handle your project.
Who Will Do the Work?
Before signing the contract with the plumber near you, you should find out how many workers the job will require. It is common for apprentices to accompany plumbing contractors that are working on a project. You should always ask your contractor how many people will be involved in any actual work that has to be done. Determine that these apprentices are qualified enough to handle the job and that they are properly insured and bonded.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
Professional plumbing contractors generally offer warranties on either the materials that they used for the plumbing project, their workmanship, or both. These warranties serve as guarantees that high-quality materials were used for the project and that the project was done properly. You should always ask your plumbing contractor which warranties they offer and what they cover. Do not take for granted that your plumber is near you, it is always a good idea to get these warranties in writing. This is because warranties generally have specific terms and conditions that must be followed. Getting your warranties in writing ensures that these conditions are clearly stated.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
Not all plumbing jobs require a permit. Minor repairs to a plumbing system like repairing or replacing sinks and toilets that are not concealed by a wall do not require permits. However, jobs like installing or replacing new pipes and water heaters require permits. As a general rule, you must obtain a permit for any construction, renovation, or remodeling project that will result in a significant alteration of your home's structure or footprint. Note that you can be fined for carrying out a project before obtaining the required permits.
You should contact your local building department to find out the permit requirements for your area of residence. One advantage of hiring professional plumbing contractors near you is that they generally know the types of plumbing projects that require a permit in your city and the necessary steps for getting these permits. In many cases, these contractors include the cost of pulling permits in their bill estimates.
Will You Provide References?
One way to ensure that the plumbing contractor you intend to hire for a project is qualified for the job is by asking for references. Professional contractors will not hesitate to provide you with information on projects that they have completed. This is usually in the form of pictures. However, it is recommended that you ask your contractor for contact details on not less than three people that they have done a similar job for, and if possible visit the site of any on-going project they may currently be working on. You can also search for reviews of plumbing contractors from local clients near you online through websites like Google Reviews, Better Business Bureau, and Yelp.
Do You Have a Business License?
A business license is a license that legally allows a company or firm to operate in an area. It is always a good idea to make sure that the local plumbing contractor that you intend to hire works for a duly registered company or firm. You can find out the requirements for obtaining a business license in your state by contacting the Secretary of State's office. This office can also help you verify the validity of any business license that any plumbing contractor nearby presents to you.
What Are Common Plumbing Problems?
Listed below are some common plumbing problems that can be resolved by a professional plumbing contractor:
- Clogged shower drains and baths
- Slow draining sinks
- Jammed garbage disposal
- Dripping faucets
- Worn out hose bibs
- Low water pressure
- Clogged toilets
- Running toilets
- Leaky pipes
- Burst pipes
- Faulty water heaters
- Sedimentary build-up
- Sump pump failure
- Backed up sewer systems
How Much Does Plumbing Cost?
The average cost of plumbing in the United States is $200 - $500. Depending on the type of project, this cost can go as low as $50 or as high as $2,000. Labor typically costs $50 - $200 per hour. Some other common plumbing cost estimates are:
Estimates for plumbing repairs:
Estimates for plumbing replacements/installations:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Plumbing?
The type of plumbing project that you wish to undertake is the main factor that affects the cost of plumbing. Repair jobs generally cost less than replacement or new installation jobs. This is because replacement or new installation jobs are more labor-intensive and require more materials. For example, the average cost of repairing a faulty toilet is $150 - $300, while the average cost of installing a new toilet is $250 - $750.
What Qualifications Should Plumbing Contractors Have?
There are more than 442,800 plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters currently employed in the United States. Even though most plumbing contractors learn on the job through apprenticeships, the minimum requirement for becoming a licensed plumbing contractor is typically a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent. Many plumbing contractors also further their education by attending vocational-technical schools.
In addition, some companies and firms may require in-house training and professional certifications before employing plumbing contractors. Licensed and certified plumbing contractors tend to be more professional and better experienced than other contractors. Note that plumbing contractors are required to undergo a mandatory lead-safe work practices training and certification course offered by the Environmental Protection Agency or an EPA-authorized agency before they can work on apartments, houses, and child-occupied facilities that were built before 1978
Do You Need a Handyman or a Plumbing Contractor?
You should always hire a professional plumbing contractor to handle any plumbing issues you have to the acceptable standard. This is because professional plumbing contractors are specifically trained and licensed to handle a wide variety of simple and complex plumbing problems. On the other hand, nearby handymen are typically jacks of all trades that are not knowledgeable enough to handle complex plumbing issues. Therefore, even though it may seem like the cheaper option to hire a handyman, it is always in your best interest to hire a qualified plumbing contractor near you to limit possible liability resulting from work-injury or poor installation.
What Are Common Post Plumbing Expenses?
The cost of hauling away old plumbing debris is the most common post-plumbing expense. This can cost you $20 - $100 depending on the amount of debris that is generated by the project. Some projects may also require your contractor to remove or cut through certain parts of your home. These parts of the house will have to be repaired or replaced. For example, if you have a burst or leaking pipe, you may have to repair your drywall. This can cost you an additional $350 - $500.
Many professional plumbing contractors include the cost of disposing of this debris in their estimates. Some contractors also include the cost of any non-plumbing repairs that have to be done because of the job. You should always find out from your contractor whether these fees will be included in your bill or whether you will be charged separately for them. Hiring a plumber near you may limit these other costs due to proximity.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Plumbing Expenses?
It is estimated that over 23% of all homeowners' insurance losses in 2018 were caused by water damage and freezing. A standard homeowner's policy will generally cover water damage to your home that is caused by a sudden and accidental plumbing problem. Examples are damages caused by burst pipes or leaking showers. Note that if the plumbing problem is due to poor maintenance, long-term leaks, or a backed-up sewer, then your insurance claim may be denied. You should always find out the perils that an insurance company covers before you purchase a homeowners' insurance policy from them.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Plumbing Contractor?
Yes, you can use a digital payment platform to pay your plumbing contractor. Digital payment methods are generally quicker, more convenient, and more secure than conventional payment methods like cash, checks, and money order deposits. Note that not all contractors are comfortable with receiving payment via digital methods. Therefore, you should always find out the method of payment that your plumbing contractor prefers before paying for any service they provide. Also, it is advisable to collect a receipt from your contractor for any payments you make.