Choosing a Qualified Plumber

by Rachel Laurendeau on May 30, 2012

In most cases, plumbing issues around the house are not DIY projects. Sure, you can probably deal with every day drips and clogs yourself or change a toilet or showerhead, but when it comes to major plumbing problems or upgrades, you’ll probably want to leave it to the pros.

Here are some points to consider when you’re looking to hire a qualified plumber for a home improvement project around your home or when a plumbing emergency strikes.

• The best way to find a plumber is to go by reputation. Ask for referrals from friends, relatives or neighbors whose advice you trust.
• If you know a builder, contractor or real estate agent, ask them who they would recommend since they frequently deal with local plumbers.
• You will, of course, want to know that the plumber is licensed. In most states plumbers are required to be licensed for that particular state. Ask for proof of license; once they’ve given you their license number, you can verify that it is current and that there are no complaints against them.
• Ask them what type of insurance they have. You want them to have liability insurance and have a workers’ compensation policy.
• You are looking for an experienced plumber, preferably a master plumber or a well-trained apprentice working under his or her license. Make sure that the person you hire knows and follows code requirements for your area.
• As you would do with any work you are having done, get a written estimate beforehand and make it clear that any additional expenses should be cleared with you prior to moving forward. Of course, there are certain scenarios where it is impossible to get a firm quote, for example, if the plumbing problem occurs behind a wall or ceiling, they can’t know the extent of the damage until things are opened up.
• It is common to receive a warranty on services provided by a plumber. Ask what type of warranty is offered, its length and what it covers (service, parts, etc.).

Most of us don’t think about hiring a plumber until a last minute plumbing crisis such as a burst pipe or broken water heater comes up. However, the best time to choose a plumber is before a plumbing emergency when you have time to make well thought out decisions.

If you found this blog interesting, you may also want to read Tips to Working Well with Your General Contractor.

Feel free to leave a note in the comments below, telling us how you chose the plumber for your last home improvement project.

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