Plumbing leaks dripping faucets showerheads, and toilet typically result in unnecessary water and sewer charges. The City of Milwaukee Water Works estimates that a leaky toilet can lead to water wastage of over 200 gallons daily, at an additional cost of about $100 each billing quarter or $400 each year. However, smart homeowners avoid these unnecessary rise in their water bil by hiring a qualified to fix leakages and help optimize their plumbing system. Regardless of how you come in contact with the plumber, you should not hesitate to ask the following questions to determine if they are qualified and eligible to work in your city:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Milwaukee?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Milwaukee?
- Do You Comply with the City of Milwaukee Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Milwaukee Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Milwaukee?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Milwaukee?
In Wisconsin, plumbers are mandatorily required to obtain a plumbing license from the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to be eligible to work anywhere in the state, including the City of Milwaukee. Anyone who offers plumbing services or acts as a plumber without obtaining the required licenses from the Department will be fined up to $500 or imprisoned for 30 days. Residents of Milwaukee must understand that it is their responsibility to confirm a plumber's license status before signing an agreement. You can confirm your plumber's license status using the Department's license lookup tool.
The plumbing license types issued by the Department include master plumber license and journeyman plumber license. The requirements for these licenses vary. For example, to obtain a master plumber license, applicants are required to show records of not less than 1,000 hours of practical experience as a journeyman plumber for three or more years in the state or proof of completing a plumbing course from an engineering school or college approved by the Department. Applicants are also required to pass a state examination approved by the Department. Similarly, to obtain a journeyman plumber license, applicants must have obtained one year of work experience consisting of not less than 1,000 hours. In addition to this, anyone who intends to obtain a journeyman license must also provide proof of completing plumbing training and related instructions to the Department. Before hiring a plumber in your area, you should always find out the type of plumbing license the individual obtained from the DSPS. For example, in Milwaukee, only master plumbers can independently install plumbing systems. Journeyman plumbers cannot handle plumbing system installations unless they are supervised by a licensed master plumber.
In addition to state-issued plumbing licenses, plumbing contractors in Milwaukee are additionally required to obtain a plumbing license from the city's Department of Neighborhood Services. You can confirm a plumber's license status by calling the Department at (414) 286-2268. Likewise, interested persons can also direct all inquiries concerning state-level licensing to the DSPS by calling (608) 266-2112 or (877) 617-1565.
In Milwaukee, the hourly cost of hiring a plumber is determined by factors like the plumber's experience or qualification, the type of plumbing work involved, and the cost of plumbing materials. Considering that the hourly cost of hiring a plumber may vary among plumbers, it is always important to have an idea of what your project may cost. You can achieve this by getting multiple estimates from at least three different plumbers near you.
A plumber in the City of Milwaukee earns an annual average wage of $71,020. Listed below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in the City of Milwaukee compared with plumbers in other parts of Wisconsin and other major cities in the country:Milwaukee Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$34.14Wisconsin Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$32.31Los 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 Labor Statistics
The City of Milwaukee regulates home improvement and construction work through the adoption of the Wisconsin Building Code. By adopting and enforcing the Wisconsin Building Code, the city ensures that all plumbing activities, including installation, maintenance, or alteration of plumbing systems, meet the minimum plumbing and building standard in the state. When considering hiring a plumber near you, you should ensure that the individual is familiar with the Wisconsin Building Code. This will protect you from liabilities such as fines and statutory penalties due to Code violations. Per the requirements of Section 101.66 of the Building Code, performing any home improvement or construction work in violation of the Code may attract a fine of not more than $500 per violation. Residents of Milwaukee should also read and understand the Code as this can help you identify when a contractor is non-compliant. You can direct all inquiries concerning the Building Code to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services by calling (608) 266-2112.
Anyone who intends to provide plumbing services in the City of Milwaukee must obtain a plumbing permit from the city's Permit and Development Center. Before hiring a plumber in Milwaukee, you should always ensure that the individual is eligible to apply for a plumbing permit in the City. Except for plumbing permits for a one-family building owned and occupied by the same person, all plumbing permit applications can only be made by either a master plumber or utility contractor who has a plumber's performance bond and certificate of liability insurance filed with the City Attorney. The master plumber or utility contractor shall submit plans and specifications for the project alongside the permit fees.
Once a plumbing permit is issued, your plumber can commence work, and inspections can be scheduled as the work progresses. Plumbing inspections are performed by the city's Department of Neighborhood Services via its Plumbing Inspection Section, and you can schedule an inspection with this Section by calling (414) 286-3361. Common plumbing work inspections in Milwaukee include storm sewers inspection, sanitary sewer inspection, waste and vent piping inspection, water distribution piping inspection, and sanitary drains inspection.
Milwaukee plumbers offer a variety of plumbing services, including sump pump installation and repair, water heater repair, drain cleaning, bathtub installation, toilet installation, and pipe repair and installation. However, before hiring a plumber in Milwaukee, you should ensure that the individual is competent enough to provide the services you need. You can do this by asking about their years of practice and if they have special qualifications in that particular area of plumbing. You can also ask the plumber to provide references from previous clients who had the same plumbing needs as you. Do not hesitate to contact the plumber's previous clients for more information where necessary.
Listed below are some of the cost estimates for plumbing services in the City of Milwaukee:Septic system installation$7,000 - $8,500Bathtub installation$1,830 - $2,250Toilet installation$145 - $170Sump pump installation$800 - $1,170Septic tank cleaning$250 - $300Water softener installation$960 - $1,500Well pump installation$725 - $900Sewer line cleaning$144 - $265Sewer line installation and repair$54 - $80Drain line video inspection$225 - $300Water main installation or repair$30 - $50
Milwaukee plumbers offer a variety of emergency plumbing services, which include, but are not limited to, fixing burst pipes, toilet leaks, water shut-off valve failure, failed sump pump, and sewer backup. Although most plumbing emergencies may look like a minor issue at first, residents must understand that ignoring a plumbing emergency may result in further damages to their plumbing systems, as well as expensive repairs. For example, in Milwaukee, sewer charges are based on how much water you use, and it does not matter if the water was consumed, leaked, or wasted down the drain. Therefore, it is very important to fix your plumbing leaks as soon as you discover a fault. You can save more than $10 on water bills by fixing plumbing leaks alone in your home.
While it is necessary to get any noticed plumbing problem fixed on time, you must also ensure that the individual you intend to hire is qualified and experienced enough to do the job. You can locate qualified and experienced plumbers near you using third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp. These websites maintain a list of plumbers near you, and they also contain customer reviews, which will help in accessing a plumber's experience, expertise, and professionalism. However, it is still your responsibility to ensure that the plumber you select is licensed. You can confirm your plumber's state-level license status by utilizing the DSPS license lookup tool. You can also confirm if the individual has obtained the city plumbing license by calling the Department of Neighborhood Services at (414) 286-2268.
In Milwaukee, plumbers are required to maintain general liability insurance covering liabilities such as bodily injury and property damage associated with construction work for each calendar year. The general liability insurance shall provide for limits of not less than $50,000 for each person injured or each property damaged during construction work.
Hiring a plumber that has general liability insurance protects you from construction-related financial liabilities such as medical bills for workplace fatalities and the cost of property damage. Taking this step is crucial, considering that the construction and extraction industry accounted for 18% of workplace fatalities across Wisconsin in 2019. You can confirm if your plumber maintains general liability insurance by requesting a certificate of insurance and verifying the information on the certificate from the insurance company that issued the certificate or by calling the city's Plumbing Inspection Section at (414) 286-3361.
In addition to maintaining general liability insurance, master plumbers in Milwaukee are also required to execute and furnish the city with a master plumber performance bond in the penal sum of not more than $10,000. You can confirm whether your plumber has done this by calling the Plumbing Inspection Section at (414) 286-3361.
According to home improvement rough work estimates published by the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development, the cost of home improvement work can range from $20 to $40,000 depending on the type of improvement and the size of the house you intend to work on. Taking the amount of money that residents may spend on home repairs and improvement in Milwaukee into consideration, it is not unusual to find unscrupulous individuals posing as legitimate contractors in the City of Milwaukee. In February 2021, a home improvement contractor was arrested for defrauding women in Washington, Waukesha, Walworth, and Milwaukee. The contractor collected money for home repairs, including plumbing work from the victims, and did not show up to do the work. You must understand that there are many other cases of home improvement scams involving residents of Milwaukee and the only way to avoid these scams is by getting the right information on home improvement scams. Home improvement scammers employ various methods to steal from their victims. These methods include requesting cash payment upfront and not showing up to the job, inflating the cost of plumbing materials, and making use of inferior materials that will require replacement after a short period.
You can avoid falling victim to plumbing scams by taking the following steps:
- Decide in advance what the plumbing work entails
- Be wary of extremely low bids, rates, or offers
- Use third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp to search for good plumbers near you
- Get estimates from different plumbers and make sure that each plumber is bidding on the same work
- Confirm your plumber's license status using the Department's license lookup tool.
- Ask the plumber to provide references of past clients and call to see if they are satisfied with the plumber's work.
- Always request a written contract and do not sign until you understand it
- Do not hesitate to consult an attorney if you have other questions
- Always ask for a lien waiver from the contractor when you make payment. This will prevent a subcontractor or material supplier from placing a lien on your home if the contractor does not pay the necessary bills
Lastly, if you suspect a plumbing scam, you can report the matter to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection online, by calling (800) 422-7128, or by mailing a completed home improvement complaint form to:
- Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
- Bureau of Consumer Protection
- P.O. Box 8911
- Madison, WI 53708-8911
However, you must understand that the Department typically resolves home improvement complaints by mediating between the customer and the contractor. If you seek full monetary compensation, you should file a small claims case against the plumber at the Milwaukee County Civil Court. Note that you can not claim more than $10,000 in small claims cases, and you should always seek the advice of an attorney before taking legal action.