How to Hire a Good Plumber in Spokane
During the wintery months in the City of Spokane, if you found yourself using over 12,000 gallons of water a month as a single-family home, it is time to call in the plumber to check for undetected leaks. Leakages like this can waste up to 100,000 gallons of water per year adding several hundred dollars to your bill. However, before you settle for any plumber in Seattle, ask these questions to confirm the professional is qualified to complete your job satisfactorily::
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Spokane?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Spokane?
- Do You Comply with the City of Spokane Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Spokane Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Spokane?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Spokane?
It is expedient that your plumbing work is done by a plumber who has been duly licensed. Besides putting you at risk of poor repairs and home improvement scams, hiring unlicensed plumbers in Spokane is also unlawful and attracts a fine of up to $5,000, depending on the number of violations.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries oversees the licensing and regulation of plumbers in Spokane, and license applicants are typically required to satisfy certain requirements. Such requirements include being at least 16 years old and completing a plumber trainee certification program. Applications for the trainee certification program can be done in person at any of the L&I field offices or by mail. To apply by mail, you must obtain and complete a downloadable Application for Plumber Trainee Certification form and deliver it to the address on the form. During this trainee program, successful applicants must work as plumber trainees for four years or more under the supervision of a certified journey-level plumber. Additionally, plumber trainees are expected to acquire practical knowledge on commercial or industrial plumbing installations.
To verify if a plumber has been duly licensed, you can check the Washington Department of Labor and Industries' online verification portal.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Spokane?
Before engaging a plumber for your plumbing project, it is essential to check price estimates from different plumbers near you. Doing this will help you determine whether a plumber's pricing rate is excessive or reasonable, and save you from overspending. However, note that a plumber's charge depends on different factors, such as the nature of your plumbing project, the cost of required materials, and the plumber's skill. For example, a master plumber would likely charge more than a journeyman plumber for the same service, because a master plumber generally has a higher level of expertise.
A plumber in the City of Spokane earns an annual average wage of $60,140. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in the City of Spokane compared with plumbers in other parts of Washington and other major cities in the country:Spokane City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$28.91Washington State Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$36.04Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.04Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.71Chicago Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$44.20Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22.66Washington D.C. Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$27.93
Source: U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics
The Spokane Plumbing Code contains a set of rules and regulations that govern the construction, installation, and maintenance of plumbing systems in the city. The plumbing code is implemented to eliminate common problems associated with plumbing projects, such as air pollution and poor sanitation. It also regulates the quality of materials used in plumbing projects across the city and protects homeowners from questionable construction methods that could endanger them. Violating the provisions of the plumbing code may result in civil penalties, which include a monetary fine of up to $5,000, a jail term, or a combination of both the fine and jail term. Therefore, to avoid code violation penalties and to also ensure your plumbing work meets the minimum standard requirements within the city, it is vital that the plumber you hire is not only licensed but also familiar with the city's plumbing code. The Spokane Development Services Center oversees the enforcement of the city's plumbing code, and interested persons can contact this center at (509) 625-6300 for plumbing code inquiries.
According to Section 17f.100.020 of the Spokane Municipal Code, a permit is required to install, alter, replace or remove plumbing systems in the city. These plumbing systems include plumbing fixtures, waste-discharging devices and systems, vent pipes, and water distribution systems. However, there are specific plumbing works that do not require a permit. An example of these plumbing works includes the repair of faucets or valves, as long as no change is made to the piping of the faucet or valve in question.
Before applying for a permit, you must first confirm the location of your property and make sure that it falls within the City of Spokane. You can use the tools provided on the city's Open Data Maps and GIS webpage to help with this. If your property is within Spokane City, you can then proceed to apply for a plumbing permit. Applications for a plumbing permit can be made online, by email, or in person. Online permit applications are done through the Spokane Citizen Access portal. However, permit applicants must open an account or log in to their already registered account before they can utilize this online portal. To apply for a permit by email, applicants are required to obtain a downloadable plumbing permit application form and email the completed form to the Spokane Development Services Center. Finally, in-person permit applications can also be made at the Development Services Center located at:
- City of Spokane Office
- 3rd Floor City Hall
- 808 West Spokane Falls Boulevard
- Spokane, WA 99201
Every permitted plumbing work in Spokane requires at least one inspection. These inspections are generally to ensure the plumbing work is done according to the plumbing code, and city standards.
To schedule an inspection, you contact the designated inspector on your permit by phone or email on or before 8:30 a.m. on the day you want your inspection. Your permit number, job site address, contact name, and phone number where you can be reached on the day of inspection should all be included in the message. If you need to reschedule an inspection appointment, you can do so online. However, only those who have registered for an online permit system will be able to do this. Whenever the inspector discovers materials used or work performed do not comply with the plumbing code, the inspector will reject the work and require the permittee to make the necessary material and workmanship changes within fifteen days. For more inquiries, you can contact the Spokane Development Services Center at (509) 625-6300.
The services provided by a plumber are primarily determined by the plumber's expertise and specialty. In terms of expertise, the longer a plumber has worked in the field, the more likely the plumber is capable of providing a wide range of plumbing services. For example, master plumbers are usually more skilled than apprentice plumbers, as these master plumbers have typically acquired more plumbing experience.
Similarly, plumbers specialize in different plumbing areas and some plumbing works may necessitate that you hire a plumber who specializes in a particular area, For example, when planning a home plumbing repair, it is ideal to hire a plumber who specializes in residential plumbing services rather than one who specializes in commercial plumbing services. Accordingly, knowing what type of plumbing work you need to be done will assist you in hiring the right plumber. The following are types of specialty plumbers in Spokane City:
- Residential Plumbers: They specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing plumbing systems in residential settings. They work with plumbing systems such as pipes, water systems, and toilets and can usually solve any plumbing-related problems in the home.
- Service and Repair Plumbers: They specialize in performing various plumbing system maintenance and repair tasks in both residential and commercial settings.
- Commercial Plumbers: Commercial plumbers specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing tanks and pipes, and other types of plumbing systems in commercial settings. Commercial plumbers are skilled in working with huge numbers of outlets and pipes.
- Water Supply Plumbers: Plumbers who work with water supply systems such as tanks, kitchen tanks, overhead tanks, bathroom storage tanks, and pipes are known as water supply plumbers. Some of these types of plumbers also perform basic residential plumbing tasks such as unclogging kitchen, bathroom drains, and toilets.
Some common cost estimates for plumbing services in Washington include:Water main repair$300 - $1,250Water main installation$600 - $2,400Clogged drain repair$125 - $300Cost to fix a leak$150 - $700New Plumbing pipes cost$350 - $1,750Water heater installation$750 - $3,000Drain line repair$250 - $1,000
A lot of damage can be done if a plumbing issue is not addressed quickly. Pipe leaks are a common example of plumbing issues that could turn into a disaster if left unresolved, as these issues have the potential to cause flooding and property damage. It is estimated that 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water per day and that these household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually across the country. Besides pipe leaks, other plumbing issues such as clogged toilets, faucet malfunctions, leaking water heaters, and basement flooding can also lead to bigger issues like hiked water bills and poor sanitation. Accordingly, it is essential to treat all plumbing issues in your home as an emergency.
When searching for a plumber to attend to your plumbing emergencies, it is ideal to find one near you, so you can get a better response time. You can utilize third-party websites like Better Business Bureau or Yelp to find plumbers near you. However, make sure any plumber you find is duly licensed. You can verify a plumber's license through the online verification portal maintained by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries.
An insurance policy provides protection not only for your plumber but also for you. By hiring an insured plumber, you are shielded from bearing the costs of property damage or injuries sustained due to your plumbing project. Therefore, it is important that you double-check that the plumber you are considering hiring has an active insurance policy. All plumbers in Spokane City are required to have a Washington Continuous Contractor Surety Bond of $6,000 and maintain a general liability insurance coverage of up to $200,000 in public liability and $50,000 in property damage. You can confirm if a plumber has satisfied these bond and insurance requirements by requesting documentary proof. For more information on insurance requirements for plumbers across Spokane City, you can contact the Washington Department of Labour and Industries via email.
According to a report by Harvard University, 2020 was a record-breaking year for home improvement, with nearly $420 billion spent on home improvements and repairs. With so much money being spent on home improvements, it is unsurprising that there are cases of fraudulent individuals posing as home repair contractors to scam homeowners. These imposters primarily target the elderly and homes in affluent neighborhoods. They frequently appear as unsolicited plumbers who offer special discount prices for plumbing services, insist on upfront payment, and only accept cash. Below are some other warning signs of home improvement scams you should look out for:
- The repairperson drives an unmarked truck or van with an out-of-state license.
- The offer sounds too good to be true.
- The worker has no business identification, local address, or telephone number.
In October 2020, a fraudulent contractor was arrested by the Spokane police for scamming elder residents of $8500. A background check revealed that the individual had been cited twice by the Department of Labor and Industries in 2019 for failing to register as a contractor. Besides looking out for these warning signs, it is also important to take protect yourself by taking precautionary steps, which include:
- Verify the license of your plumber
- Keep an eye out for questions that aren't relevant, as fraudulent plumbers typically seek to evaluate your vulnerability. Be wary if a plumber inquires about your living situation or marital status, these questions help them figure out if you're an easy target.
- Take note of their payment preference. If they only accept cash or insist on it, it is most likely because they do not want to pay taxes on it and do not have the required insurance. Checks, credit cards, and debit cards are all better payment methods with receipts for proof.
- Avoid low estimates and prices that appear too good to be true. Compare prices from at least three plumbers.
- Always ask for a specific list of the materials you're paying for, and then cross-reference their prices at your local home improvement store.
If you suspect you have been contacted by a fraudulent plumber or have been the victim of a plumbing scam in Spokane, you can file a complaint with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. You can also contact the Spokane Police Department:
- Spokane Police Department
- 1100 West Mallon Avenue
- Spokane, WA 99260
- Phone: (509) 625-4100