What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a plumber during the COVID-19 pandemic?
If possible, it’s best to set up a virtual consultation or phone call with a plumber near during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can send a message to a professional plumber near you and ask if they are available to video chat or have a phone call. Use that time to discuss the work that needs to be done. Make sure to ask any questions you have about the project. And lastly, ask the plumber how they handle payments and whether they have any specific safety precautions in place to comply with social distancing.
Generally, plumbers are often considered essential service providers. Essential service providers vary from state to state and city to city, however. For the most accurate information, check your official state or city government website to see whether a plumber is considered an essential service in your area.
Read CISA’s publication on identifying critical workers to find out more information on a national level. Some, but not all, jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.
Contact plumbers near you beforehand to see if they can complete the project without entering your home — for example, by entering the garage to fix a broken water heater. If the plumber needs to enter your house to do the job, you should proceed only if both parties feel comfortable with the project. Consider taking extra steps such as waving instead of shaking hands, staying 6 feet apart, using digital payments and sanitizing common areas.
A plumber will need to enter your home to fix plumbing issues like dripping faucets, clogged sinks or toilets and leaky pipes. They might not need to come into your home if the faulty appliance is located outdoors or in the garage. Before you begin the project, contact plumbers near you to find out they will need to enter your home.
Some plumbers accept digital payments -- Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, etc. -- for their services. Before you hire a plumber, ask them if they accept your preferred online payment. Many also feature digital payment options on their profiles. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, digital payments are typically considered safer than cash and credit cards.
If you see a profile that states the plumber is offering remote services, contact the plumber before hiring them to see what those services include. Although plumbing is a job that has to be done in-person, you can ask them if they offer virtual consultations or an online walk-through.
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.