Do you remember your last car purchase? The process was probably more involved than looking at the yellow pages, selecting a random dealer, or buying the first car you looked at. Nevertheless, this is the way many people choose to select a plumber. Sometimes, it’s the most impressive looking listing in the phone book that captures your attention or merely the first one your eyes land on. In the same way, your search for the right car for your needs; you should also make comparisons of price, competency, and service quality when choosing a plumbing contractor.
Identifying a good plumber
One of the best ways to find a good plumber is to ask family or friends for recommendations. Since most people need professional plumbing help from time to time, your sure to get some good advice. Real estate agents, contractors as well as local plumbing supply stores are all good resources for this information. Your city government may also have a list of plumbers that are familiar with local codes.
As you search, you’ll find two different kinds of plumbing professionals. Some specialize in repairs, while others routinely perform remodeling or new construction work. When you need leaks fixed, a sink is clogged, or an emergency situation occurs, call a plumber with experience in repairs. If the situation requires installing additional pipes or replacing a bad pipe, your best bet is to call a plumber who works on large projects.
You’ll want to get references, but make sure to ask if the plumber specializes in commercial or residential jobs, and enquire about the type of work they were hired to complete.
A number of qualifications will differentiate professional plumbers from any other type.
State license and certification — Most states require plumbing professionals to have a license or state certification to engage in this type of work. You should call to make sure that the license is still in force and ask if there are any complaints pertaining to it.
Insurance — Check to ensure that the plumber you hire is insured against accidents with liability insurance. It is their responsibility to offer a copy of their insurance policy.
Better Business Bureau — Your local Better Business Bureau can provide you with and information they might have about any complaints that might have been filed against potential candidates.
Questions you should ask
Once you have a shortlist of potential plumbers for your project, have a few to come to your home to take a look at the work needing done and give you an estimate. Any contract between you and a plumbing contractor should explain what is involved, what is included in the work, and how and when payment will be made. Be sure to ask about the quality of materials used. Don’t forget that faulty materials can create more problems later on and cause damage to your property.
You should never allow a plumber to install sub-standard or inferior materials. Request that quality materials are used that come with manufacturer’s warranties to the consumer. This might cost more upfront, but it will pay off in the long run if anything should go wrong or if parts need replacing.
Reliability and performance
A lot of homeowners are unaware that newer materials are available these days that are better when having a plumber replace leaky copper pipes. It doesn’t make sense to replace a failed material with the same kind. Ask your plumber about alternative materials when repairing or replacing copper pipes.
Pipes and connections made of durable chlorinated polyvinyl chloride are of higher quality than copper pipes. These will not corrode, etch, or accumulate tartar, and that means future failures and costly replacement pipes will not be necessary. Flow Guard Gold CPVC systems eliminate condensation, which reduces the risk of damage to structures, walls, and contents that can happen with metallic systems. They also help to maintain better water quality because there is no metal to leach into tap water.
Along with asking about materials quality, you should ask the plumber you wish to hire the following:
Business and Referral experience: While interviewing plumbers, ask how long they have worked in this industry. Ask for referrals so you can find out if former clients would recommend them for your work. Ask these individuals about the quality of work performed and if the job was completed to their satisfaction.
Permits: Ask the plumber if you or they will be responsible for getting necessary permits.
Service guarantee: Will you be provided with a guarantee? You will want a guarantee just in case problems arise that are associated with the initial installation.
Commitment to safety: There is always a risk for accidents when housing improvements are underway. For this reason, you should ask any plumber you are interviewing about how they will avoid damage to your property or the potential for injury. One problem that occurs with copper pipes involves the welding torch that can come in contact with wooden beams or drywall when working in close quarters. Using non-metallic alternative materials like CPVC pipes can eliminate the risk of igniting a fire.
Cleaning: Ask if the plumber you choose will clean up the area he is working in after he has finished the job. You don’t want to have to spend hours cleaning up after the work is done and the plumber leaves your home. Determine if there are any disorders you should expect. When CPVC pipes are used, you should not be left with copper or other metal chips or oil on your floors or carpets.
Comparing prices is a good thing, but don’t forget that cheap does not necessarily correspond with the quality of work. You may have to pay more for higher-quality performance. At the same time, there is no reason to pay the highest price either. Better materials should cost more, and you will get your money’s worth.