Plumbers are skilled professionals who are trained to install and maintain pipes and systems for drinking water, sewage and drainage. They usually have trained through four- to five-year training programs, which include apprenticeships, via trade schools and community colleges. Plumbers’ areas of expertise typically go beyond pipes to include mathematics, blueprint reading, plumbing codes and water distribution. They handle plumbing emergencies, such as broken pipes or clogged drains, and install and maintain everything from a new piping system to a replacement faucet. Plumbers also know how to install bathtubs and showers, toilets, water heaters and dishwashers. Plumbers may work on residential or commercial sites, sometimes designing and laying out a pipe system during construction.
Whether you need a plumber to perform drain repair, install a new fixture, or replace rusty pipes, you need to make sure you hire someone reliable who will finish your job on time and within budget. Start by asking the plumbers on your short list these questions:
- What is the total cost? Make sure your estimate includes materials and labor. Find out whether the plumber will be providing the materials and whether you’re being charged an hourly rate (which is variable) or a flat fee.
- Is removal and cleanup included in the job? Some plumbers leave behind old parts, while others include the cleanup in the cost.
- Is the work guaranteed? Find out whether the work (as well as the parts or fixtures) are guaranteed under a warranty.
Follow these additional tips for confidently hiring a plumber or other skilled professional.