The Ins and Outs of Finding a Great Plumber
Homeowners, business owners, and property managers alike inevitably need the help of a good plumber. A little research goes a long way when it comes to navigating the world of plumbers and plumbing services, and you will be grateful for the time you put into finding a good plumber before you call someone for repairs. You will avoid expensive and recurring issues that could result from hiring a poor plumber, and your home and wallet will thank you.
How to Find a Plumber
Ask Friends and Neighbors
The best way to choose a plumber is to find one with a great reputation. Just like you would with restaurant recommendations, ask your neighbors, family, and friends. They will tell the truth about their experiences and won’t recommend someone who overcharged them or didn’t do a good job. Word of mouth is a prime resource when looking for a great plumber.
After talking to local people you trust, check rating and review sites like Yelp, Google, or Angie’s List. Keep in mind that some reviews may be fake, but you can usually tell which ones they are if you read enough of them, and you’ll still get a helpful overall impression of the quality and character of the company.
Search the Internet
The last method is to type “plumber near me” in the Google search bar. This will bring up lots of plumbers in your area to check. Visit the websites of the top three plumbers that come up and look around them.
A plumber’s website should answer several questions that you should be asking. When was the company established? Do they offer around-the-clock service, or will they be closed at a time that you’re in a bind, like a Saturday night when your water heater goes out? Who actually does the work? Will you have to pay for an estimate? Are they licensed and insured? Do they offer a warranty? Is financing an option?
Ask Questions of Prospective Hires
Call the top three plumbers from your search. You can get a good first impression and an idea of the company ethos by calling them and having a conversation. First things first, did a person answer the phone or did it go straight to voicemail? If you had to leave a voicemail, how long did it take for the company to return your call? Was the representative kind and courteous? Was he or she knowledgeable and able to answer your questions?
After you have had conversations with your candidate companies, select the one that made the best overall impression and set up a visit for them to come to your home, business, or property to give you an estimate.
Just because a plumber comes out to give you an estimate does not mean you must choose their company. If you don’t have a great feeling about the plumber, call the next company on your list. You want a company with people you trust and feel comfortable calling at any time for any plumbing problem.
How to Begin
At this point, it’s time to decide on a plumber and move forward with hiring one for a project. Start with a small job like replacing a faucet or fixing a troublesome toilet to see how the plumber does. It might be risky to jump in with a huge job, like repiping a whole house, without first seeing the plumber’s quality of work.
Be observant in all aspects of the hiring process. Look for clear and smooth communication with the plumbing company, ease of scheduling, timeliness of arrival, execution of the job, good clean-up, timely and accurate billing, and a follow-up call or email. Remember, you’re looking for a plumbing company that you can call with any problems you may encounter for the years that you own the property. You need to know that you can rely on them and that you have a good relationship with them. Being detailed in your initial assessment will help you immensely in the long run.
A Good Plumber’s Services
Now that we’ve covered the process of finding and hiring a plumber, let’s go over the services that a good plumber should offer. The ideal plumbing company will offer an extensive list of plumbing services. You want to be able to call one company for all your plumbing needs.
Installing and Repairing Water Heaters
Were you aware that plumbers are the ones who install, fix, and maintain water heaters?
Water heaters are usually kept out of sight, like in a garage or a closet, and therefore out of mind, forgotten about until it’s too late. You find yourself standing in the shower as freezing-cold water pours down, and you remember that yes, you do have a water heater, and no, it is not working. This is the point when you perform a rushed online search for a plumber and hope you find a good one — unless, of course, the careful research that we suggested is already done and you have your trusty plumber on speed-dial.
Your plumber will be able to repair your water heater. He or she will also have plenty of new water heaters in stock that can be quickly installed if yours is past the point of repair. And then you can get back to your shower, sans freezing-cold water.
When you do reach that time of needing a new water heater, consider replacing your standard water heater with a tankless unit. Instead of the large storage tanks in standard water heaters, compact tankless water heaters use internal coils.
Cleaning and Repairing Drains
Clogged or backed up drains make for an annoying and often disgusting problem. Sometimes a plunger or a commercial product can get the job done, and sometimes it requires taking the plug apart and fishing around for gunk and hair with a long hook. And sometimes not even that works.
Don’t fret. A professional plumber has more than a plunger and a hook. He or she has all the right equipment to track down clogs and clear pipes, including high-pressure jets that break apart obstructions and allow water to flow freely.
Leak detection does not mean noticing that you have a constant drip of water coming from your ceiling. Leak detection is about identifying hidden leaks in drains, pipes, toilets, water supply systems, oil pipes, or steam pipes. It requires specialized equipment, such as electronic leak detection machines, that any good plumber will have.
An electronic leak detection machine compares the sound waves produced by pipes and can differentiate between leaking and non-leaking ones. Other factors, like pressure, pipe thickness, and types of fluids in the pipes, will result in sound waves occurring differently.
The leak detection machine analyzes and interprets sounds that are amplified by a component in the machine. This sound analysis is how leaks can be identified and addressed. Having a plumber that can detect and fix a leak will prevent damage and save you the expense of a big repair.
Repairing Sewer & Water Lines
When you experience sewer or water line issues, a plumber is the person to call. Sewer and water lines are susceptible to compromise and damage due to tree roots penetrating them or debris washing in. It can be hard to identify the problem, however, because these lines are often underground.
Call a plumber the moment that you think you may have a problem with your sewer or water lines. A blockage or a break in the line can lead to damage that is costly to fix, so waste no time in getting the issue addressed.
An annual inspection of water systems is recommended so that sewer and water lines will continue to perform as they should, and so that any vulnerable spots are reinforced or repaired. An inspection of the sewer and water lines by a plumber will bring to light breaks or cracks, blockages or leaks, corrosion or collapsed pipes, penetration by tree roots, or off-grade piping.
What causes blockages in water and sewer lines? The causes vary depending on where the lines are located and what is going through them. Some examples are cooking substances like grease and fat; hair, toothpaste, and makeup; cleaning products such as detergent and soap; paper products such as toilet tissue; leaves and dirt collected in downspout drains; oils and chemicals from floor drains; and dirt and tree roots in buried pipes.
Even with this number of variables, plumbers are equipped with the necessary tools and expertise to unclog sewer lines, water pipes, and all types of drains.
Repiping is the process of replacing old pipes with new pipes. A whole pipe system in a house or building eventually needs to be replaced simply due to the deterioration of the system over time. Repairs keep pipes functioning but at some point, replacement is the best option.
A repiping project will require different types of pipes around a house or building, as any plumber knows. Copper piping is one example. It is usually used in water supply lines connected to sinks and toilets. PEX tubing is another type of pipe: a durable and flexible material that holds up to freezing temperatures. PVC piping may be found in vents, water lines, and drain pipes.
Your plumber will utilize a combination of these kinds of pipes to complete a repiping job.
Video technology is now available for plumbers to get a good look at the inside of sewer and water lines. A cable with a tiny camera affixed to the end is inserted into a pipe or a line, and video footage gets sent to the plumber. Diagnosing problems and planning repairs is made much easier with this helpful tool. Video technology also assists plumbers in confirming that pipes or lines are clear and that any blockages have been eliminated.
Water Conditioning Services
If you own a home or business in an area with iron or sulfur in the water, you already know the value of water conditioning or water softening services. These services are often offered by plumbing companies.
For soft, treated water in a targeted fixture, a point-of-use system is a good option. If you need soft, treated water throughout the entire house or building, a whole-house softener and filtration system is the way to go.
You now know the steps to take to find a qualified and reliable plumber. You also are aware of the variety of services provided by good plumbers. With this information, you should be able to find a service provider that will be your go-to for all plumbing issues for years to come.
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