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If you own a house or commercial building, you're bound to need a plumber at some point. Here's a list of the different kinds of plumbing services you might need assistance with:
You might only think of needing a plumber when the pipes in your house burst. However, a plumbing contractor also installs all of those pipes, whether they're made of PVC or copper, in your building. Professional plumbing services also lay pipe in place for wastewater, rainwater runoff and even air conditioning systems.
Not only do they install pipes, plumbers set up sewer lines and vents as well as gutters, down pipes and storage tanks for residential and commercial facilities.
Just like getting a regular oil change for your car or truck, your home's pipes and water system also need regular maintenance and check-ups to ensure they're running right. This is why plumbers also offer upkeep services to test your entire plumbing system on a monthly or biannual basis to catch any issues with your pipes before they become an emergency.
This type of work spans from moving a water line or cleaning a sewer line to installing an ice maker or even a hot tub.
Most likely, you'll need a plumber in case of an emergency repair. Services can run the gamut from repairing a clogged toilet and leaking faucets to replacing whole water heating systems. Some jobs can take just a few hours while others might require a day or two of work if the repairs are extensive, such as replacing a hot water heater.
Other tough jobs could require your plumbing contractor to put his or her carpentry skills to work by sawing through walls to get to your pipes.
You can also hire a plumber to get the cost-saving advice you need. If you're interested in buying a new home or property, it's smart to hire a contractor or a plumbing service to not only tell you if the building's foundation is sound, but also if the pipes are in good working order. You wouldn't want to purchase a new house and repair the damage someone else did to the property. This is why many plumbers also offer consultancy work to check a facility's water and gas systems and advise home and building owners on best practices they can perform to minimize damage to their pipes.
Having plumbing work done, whether it's for your home or business, can be incredibly expensive. That's why it's vital for you to ask a plumbing service the right kind of questions before you hire them. You want to do as much due diligence on your part as possible to get a professional who will not only do quality work but also charge you a fair price for it.
It's best to hire a plumber to do a simple, everyday maintenance task for you first so you can judge his or her work. If you're happy with it, save their contact information so you'll have them on hand in case you need an emergency repair. This can spare you the extra worry and anxiety of having to track down a plumber if you have a broken pipe. Additionally, it can save you from being overcharged.
However, what should you ask a plumbing service if you've never even hired one before? Here are a few questions that can help you identify the professional from the amateur:
Are you licensed and registered?
Some states do not require plumbers to be licensed, but for the safety of your house, the people living under your roof and for your pocketbook, you'll want a licensed plumber to do the needed work.
A licensed plumber means the person completed the necessary education or training required to work as a professional tradesperson. Hiring a licensed plumbing service means the people working on your building are knowledgeable about water and gas pipes. If you use unlicensed workers, you run the risk of them damaging your home even further and endangering you by doing faulty work.
Check your state's laws beforehand, as hiring an unlicensed plumber could be illegal where you live.
Not only do plumber apprentices have to complete their training and education to receive their licenses, they also are required to pass a criminal background check and carry liability insurance. Hiring just anybody can make you vulnerable to fraud since unlicensed plumbers might not know what they're doing or could pretend to fix something and end up charging you for the incomplete work.
Are you insured and bonded?
A trustworthy plumber will have both commercial liability insurance as well as be bonded. The insurance and the bond protects the plumber from paying for any damages made to your house out of pocket. Having professionals that carry both of these policies can protect all of you from any mishaps that could occur while they work on your building. Remember, not all plumbers are the same and not all of them carry the necessary insurance and bonds to protect themselves and your home from damage or shoddy work.
How many years have you been in business?
Not only do you want a licensed and trustworthy professional, you'll want one who's been in business for a few years. More experience also means the plumber will have a prior work history you can check. A more inexperienced plumber might not have many customer reviews or examples of his or her work to show you.
What, if any, professional associations do you belong to?
It can never hurt to ask plumbers if they're part of a professional association, whether it's a state or national group. Being a part of a professional organization provides an extra guarantee that the person you hire is licensed and offers you a warranty for their labor.
May I have a list of references?
While it's advisable to ask friends, family and neighbors if they can recommend a good plumber, they might not have anyone you can call. With that said, it's best to ask a plumbing service for a list of references that you can contact to get a good picture of the kind of work their business does and if it's quality or not.
Before you hire a plumber, contact their past customers if you're able to. These people can be a wealth of information if you ask them the right questions. Pose the following queries to these former patrons when you get the chance:
Do you offer a written warranty for your work?
Whenever you make a large purchase, you always request a receipt, right? Well, you will want a written warranty for any work or repairs done to the plumbing in your house. You want someone that's doing major maintenance or repair work on your house or commercial building to stand by his or her labor. Before you hire a plumber, ask him or her if they offer written warranties.
Will I need a permit for this work?
If a plumber needs to do major repairs to your house, the work could call for a permit. You'll want this since a permit provides added assurance that the work is done correctly. Having this added measure in place means an inspector will check the work your contractor or plumber does to ensure he or she did the job correctly. If you ever plan on putting your house or commercial building on the market, a real estate agent and prospective buyers will also want to check any large work you did to make sure it was done properly.
To keep yourself safe from fraud or a possible scam, always remember to ask plumbers for their license along with a written warranty for their labor. Besides this, further safeguard yourself by checking their references and ensure they or their company is insured and bonded to do their work.
While it's smart to get maintenance work done on your pipes every once in a while, there are a number of prevention tips that will not only prolong the life of your pipes but also help you save on your water bill. Here are a few you should keep in mind:
Be mindful of how much water you use in your bathroom, kitchen and even outdoors when watering your lawn. Make sure your toilet handle works properly and doesn't stick. You don't want it continuously flushing. Replace your old shower heads with more efficient low-flow options that can cut down on the gallons of water you use each morning.
Simple things such as turning off the sink while you brush your teeth or only running your dishwasher or clothes washer when you have a full load to clean can make more efficient use of water.
You won't always need to call a plumber to help you fix a nasty clog if you treat your pipes right. Don't use your toilet or kitchen sink like a trash can by stuffing hard to flush material down the drain or pouring fats and oils down the pipe. Throw coffee grounds and eggshells in the garage instead of in your sink. Also, only use your toilet to flush human waste and toilet paper, because any other materials could clog your commode.
Frozen pipes are hazardous and can cause massive amounts of damage to your home. To prevent your pipes from freezing during the winter, run your faucets at a trickle and keep your house's heater at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or above to keep the water flowing.
Plumbing problems come in all shapes and sizes. The following are some of the most common, as well as how to fix them:
If you turn on your bathroom or kitchen sink in the morning to find brown or rust-colored water coming out of your faucet, don't panic. The discoloration is most likely due to old iron pipes or recent use of a hydrant or water main that disturbed the usual flow of water. Keep your water running for a minute or so and it should run clear after a while.
Leaky and Dripping Faucets
Having a leaking or dripping faucet can run up your water bill. To fix it, first shut off the water under the sink then remove any decorative parts of the faucet and replace the washer and O-ring before reassembling everything.
Your water heater could be the cause of a lot of issues around your home, from a lack of hot water to foul smells and popping sounds. Hire a professional plumber to take care of the more complex jobs that a heater can require. However, if you're having hot water issues, you can simply examine the thermostat and adjust it accordingly.
If you hear odd sounds coming from your water heater, it could be due to sediment building up. To get rid of this, make sure you clean out the heater every few months. However, if you hear a boiling noise, it could mean the heater is overheating and you should call a plumbing professional as soon as possible.
Drain and Toilet Clogs
Before calling a plumber, try to unclog your drains and toilets yourself by using a plunger. Make sure you use a standard bell-shaped plunger for your sink and shower drains and a plunger with a flanged end for your toilets. If neither type can loosen the pipe blockage, put a plumber's snake to use. Ratchet the snake down the pipe to eliminate any clogs.