Frequently asked questions for plumbers
A plumber is a skilled profession that installs or repairs fluid handling systems and components in a home or workplace.
Depending on the job, plumbers typically install, repair, or maintain a variety of pipes and fittings, drainage systems, and fittings. They work closely with general contractors, electricians, and other construction professionals when building or renovating new homes. Plumbers must be able to follow construction plans and designs and be able to diagnose and correct a variety of plumbing problems and failures. They also perform routine plumbing and sewer inspections. Plumbing contractors also prepare bids and provide cost estimates to the client, keeping accurate records of work performed and materials used.
There can be many reasons why you should contact your local plumber, including:
- Installation of new faucets, showers, bathtubs and toilets
- Fix a leaking toilet or leaking/bursting pipes
- Replacing cracked or clogged sewer pipes
- Water heater repair or replacement
- Upgrading old or existing plumbing pipes throughout your home
- Installation of water-using appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines
- Repairing defective garbage cans
- Unclog sinks and drains
- Assistance in assessing and repairing gas leaks
When looking for local plumbers, it's always best to ask for quotes from at least three companies. This will give you a better idea of what you can expect for a job. You can also ask friends and family for referrals or use the internet to read customer reviews. If you're dealing with an emergency, make sure the plumbers in your area offer these services and can help you out of hours.
There are several ways to find a quality, reliable local plumber. Use Porch.com to find handyman services for over 1,100 different types of home projects, including plumbing. We will connect you with independent professionals who will help you with any task, big or small. Here are some tips to help you find a reliable local plumber in your area:
Always read the reviews of different plumbers before making a decision. Most customers will gladly post a review of their experience online, whether positive or negative. Reading reviews is a great way to get a clear picture of your plumbing contractor's skills and aptitude, customer service, and how the service matches the price.
Before you hire a plumber, make sure you get a clear, written estimate of the job. The cost estimate must include material and labor costs. Keep in mind that estimates are just an estimate of the cost, and the total cost may be higher or lower depending on the outcome.
Make sure your plumber is fully licensed for the job. Most states have specific licensing requirements for plumbers, so make sure the plumber in your area is state-issued and up-to-date. Professional plumbers typically need to have one to three years of experience as apprentice plumbers.
When looking for a plumber in your area, there are a few warning signs you may notice. Always avoid unlicensed and uninsured plumbing contractors. Another red flag is plumbers who show up without tools or don't have the right tools for the job. If a plumber gives you a quick quote over the phone without physically examining the problem, it may be worth reconsidering.
Most plumbers charge an hourly rate of $45 to $150 an hour or more. However, some plumbing companies may charge a fixed fee depending on the job. If you pay a flat rate, you are more likely to negotiate the price than if you pay by the hour. The average cost of a plumber's job is $125 to $450, including labor and materials. Many plumbing contractors charge a minimum service fee of $50 to $200 for whatever needs to be done. If you're dealing with an emergency and need a plumber, be prepared to pay two to three times as much for work done after hours, on weekends or on holidays. On average, most emergency plumbing charges range from $125 to $170 an hour.
Of course, there are several factors that determine how much a plumber costs. Your area and the current need for skilled and skilled plumbers matters. Material cost also plays a role as some components, such as copper tubing or specialized components, tend to cost more than standard parts. Simple repairs or minor jobs like cleaning a drain or unclogging a sink can cost anywhere from $75 to $250. More complex jobs like repairing a sump pump or replacing pipes cost more, usually $500 to $500, $800.
To determine the price of a plumber, keep in mind:
- Get an offer in writing so you have a cost estimate on paper.
- Find out how long the project will take to better understand the total number of hours required.
- Ask how many people are needed for the position as this may affect the total cost.
- Determine if special parts or materials are needed as this can also add to the final cost.
Water heater maintenance is important to avoid costly repairs and subsequent damage to your home. Leaking water heaters can wreak havoc on your home's construction and cause quite a mess. In general, most tank-type electric water heaters should last between 8 and 12 years. Gas water heaters tend to have a shorter lifespan, closer to 6 to 8 years. Tankless water heaters are a popular choice for many homeowners as there is no extra water tank to contend with. If you own a tankless water heater, these units typically last 20 to 25 years, making them a smart long-term investment.
Regardless of the type of water heater, proper maintenance is important to prolong its life and maintain the optimal water temperature. For gas and electric tank water heaters, remember to rinse the tank regularly. This will prevent the formation of sediment inside the tank, which is a common cause of problems with water heaters. While you can flush the tank yourself, it's best to seek out a professional local plumber who can do the job and make sure it gets done right. Also, leave the pump connected to the water heater and look for signs of danger, including loud noises, no water heating, or signs of rust in the water or the pump and in and around the tank. Rust is a common sign that your water heater needs professional attention. This usually indicates a faulty or damaged part and water leakage around the unit or the pipes connected to it. Inspect the heater inlet valve frequently to make sure it shows no signs of rust or corrosion. In most cases, severe rust or corrosion near the pressure relief valve or other major parts means that the water heater may need to be replaced.
The cost of a new water heater varies by type, size (capacity) and brand. Most tank-type electric water heaters cost less (about $100 to $200 less than gas), while tankless water heaters are generally the most expensive. Keep in mind that while a tankless water heater will cost more upfront, it uses less water, so you'll save money on water use and overall energy use in the long run.
Whether you choose a gas or electric tank model, you need to determine the tank size you need for your new water heater. A house for one or two people usually requires a 20 to 30 gallon tank. Families of three to four people should choose a 30- to 50-gallon tank, and homes of five or more will need a tank of at least 50 gallons. Tankless water heaters measure water at a rate of 2 to 6 gallons per minute, or GPM. Tankless water heaters with a higher flow rate of 4-6 GPM are best for mid-sized families.
The average cost of a new water heater is approximately $1,200, including the new heater and installation labor. A gas or electric water heater costs between $650 and $2,100 including all materials and labor. Tankless water heaters cost more on average, with total prices ranging from $1,000 to $3,500. Tankless water heaters can be powered by electricity or gas, depending on the type of connection available.
Most plumbing contractors can install water heaters and charge an hourly rate in addition to the heater and other necessary supplies.
Operating costs depend on the style you have. Electric water heaters cost about $36.50 a month, while gas costs less at about $18.70 a month. Tankless water heaters cost between 24% and 36% less overall, whether they are gas or electric.
If there is no hot water in your home, you may have a problem with your water heater. Always consult your local plumber if you are concerned about your water heater leaking or if you notice any signs of rust or corrosion. There are several reasons why a water heater may not produce hot water. Here are some common problems homeowners may encounter:
If there is a gas leak in your home, your gas water heater may not work. If you suspect a gas leak, immediately close all gas shut-off valves and then contact your local gas supplier for assistance.
If you have a gas or electric water heater, look for leaks. Any sign of a water leak indicates a serious problem. As soon as you notice a leak, contact your plumbing contractor so they can fix the problem and make any necessary repairs or replacements.
Sometimes you may not have hot water in your home if the gas water heater indicator light goes out. Check if the indicator light is on; if not, turn it on and confirm you are getting hot water.
A loose connection or wiring problem can cause the electric hot water heater to fail, so make sure all wires are securely fastened and power is supplied to the unit. Contact an electrician if the problem is too complex or dangerous for you to solve yourself.
A faulty thermostat can affect tankless, electric and gas water heaters. Check that the thermostat is in good working order to make sure it is not causing a hot water shortage in your home.
Mineral and sediment buildup can cause tankless water heater failure, especially if you have hard or well water. Be sure to replace your tankless water heater filter regularly to prevent sediment buildup.