Finding a Plumber

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Some information gathered from Eyes on Huntsville

It's dark and you’re finally comfortable and about to doze off, but somewhere in the back of your mind you hear the sound of water running. Is the water running somewhere? Is a toilet handle stuck? You leave your warm bed, turn on the light, and to your horror, see a flooded bathroom! You scramble to turn off the main water valve, but by this point the carpets are wet, the tile is soaked, and you're sure you see your son's rubber ducky floating down the hallway. What do you do now? Most people are going to need to call a plumber, but which one? Finding a plumber doesn't have to be difficult; getting a good plumber, especially in the middle of the night, takes a little planning and research.  The following suggestion will help you find the right plumber for the job.

In most circumstances I would suggest using a certified or licensed plumber. You can obtain a quality job from a competent non-certified plumber, but you reduce your risk hiring a licensed plumber. Licensed plumbers must follow state regulations governing how the work is done and local safety and building codes. A licensed plumber is also more likely to carry liability and worker's comp insurance.

Get at least two bids on any project. I hate to say it this way but if you don’t get at least one other bid, you may get ripped off. Do your research: search the internet, talk to others who have used various plumbing services, ask neighbors and friends for plumbing referrals. I’m a big believer in referrals so seek them out. I’d also suggest researching the better business bureau, your local chamber of commerce members, and maybe even a local business group like Business Networking International (BNI).

Find out how long they’ve been in business and if they are a local company or a franchise. A solid reliable company with longevity will be around in a year or two if you have a warranty issue.

Many people will tell you to not use a plumber that won’t give you pricing for small jobs over the phone. I think it depends on the situation. Many times they do need to see the job to give an accurate estimate. Remember though that before you allow them to make the service call, because they usually charge a $50-70 service call charge, you may feel compelled to go with a plumber even if they give you an unreasonable estimate. If the plumber won’t give you an estimate over the phone, find out as much information as you can while on the phone: hourly rate, service call charge, license, member of BBB, and warranty.

When the plumber arrives at the job and has evaluated the problem and presented you with a final estimate, ask him how he had arrived at his price. Ask for an itemized estimate if the price seems too high. Compare it with the hourly rate and service call charge you collected when you first called. If you see any inconsistencies, ask about them and negotiate.

If you have an emergency like midnight flooding do what you can and have a prepared plan. If you can turn off the water to the house, or stop a leak some other way, do it and wait until the morning to start finding a plumber. If you can’t wait, there are 24-hour emergency plumbers available in most cities. Using the suggestions in this article will help you have a name and number ready when the emergency occurs. Making your decision long before disaster strikes you’ll avoid the mistakes of a heat-of-the-moment decision.

Your plumbing is easily one of the most important parts of your household, and with that in mind you will want to make sure it is up to par. According to Safeco, 30% of all home water-damage claims result from appliance failure and another 62% from faulty plumbing. When it comes to plumbing emergencies it’s not a matter of if it’s going to happen, it’s a matter of when. Find a plumber now and have that number ready for those emergencies or big projects that require a professional.