Plumbing is one of those systems that homeowners don’t think too much about. As long as the water flows freely when we turn on the tap, and doesn’t leak or drip, we’re inclined to ignore it.
But then, a problem occurs. Maybe the problem is the drip-drip-drip of the faucet, or the glug-glug of the garbage disposal leaking, or even the sound of your wife’s scream when that first icy blast of water hits her in the shower after the hot water heater quits.
You need a plumber right now.
The ideal time to find a plumber is when you don’t actually need one. The easiest time to find a plumber is when you decide you want a new garbage disposal, or faucet upgrade. But time is a luxury we don’t all have all the time, so here is a run-down on some of the ways to find a great plumber:
1) Licensed, bonded, insured--
Handymen are great, and we love them, too, because they can do a half-dozen odd-jobs at once. But, plumbing is one of those things that it is really better to have someone who is certified.That washer your handyman over-tightened might lie in wait until you’re out of town for the weekend, then suddenly burst and flood your home. There is an exponential worsening of problems once water gets out of control.
2) Online reviews tell a story
Consistency is the key. Look for a company customers consistently rate highly. As with any review system, there may be one or two who end up unhappy. This is normal in an industry which constantly deal with home crises, but, it requires service people have to give their best effort every day. Constant bad ratings should be a warning.
3) Watch out for over-the-phone prices.
A plumbing repair is not like giving a haircut. Without knowing exactly what the problem is, it’s impossible to give a fair estimate. Of course, that goes without saying that if the problem is pretty straight-forward, it shouldn’t be hard to give a quote over the phone--barring the unknown.
4) Education. A good plumber will take continuing classes, constantly look for ways to learn new things, keep abreast of new technology and innovation. Plumbing used to be pipes and fitting. Plumbing now is Uponor, sewer cameras, water softeners, and more.
5) Referrals from friends, family and other pros. Plumbers who do a good job leave happy customers and word spreads from friend to friend. A good plumber arrives promptly, find and explains the situation, repairs the problem and gets your water back on. A good plumber is aware of your inconvenience and after-hours service fees, which requires a balance.
Even professionals from other trades know the better service professionals, since they frequently have to cooperate with one another on building sites For example, if you were to ask me the name of a great electrician, I could tell you straight off that RSB Electrical is one of the best in the business.
6) Try a company in a non-emergency setting
If you want to have a plumbing company in your contacts, but would prefer to know more about them before an emergency, the easiest way to do that is to have them come out and do a non-emergency task--maybe change out a faucet or install flexline instead of plastic hose to your appliances. Then, they aren’t strangers anymore: they’re professionals who you know you can trust.