Take some advice from a local plumber (me)…
I’ve been working on plumbing, heating & cooling for more than 20 years. During that time I’ve seen a lot of the same problems, heard a lot of the same stories and developed a pretty important checklist of things to consider. Take it from your local plumber and keep a few things in mind:
1) If you found a “plumber” on Craigslist or through the Pennysaver, there’s a good chance they are licensed, bonded and insured. If they injure themselves while working on your busted pipes, guess who is liable? That’s right…you are. This is a classic example of being penny wise but pound foolish. Don’t risk shoddy work or an insurance claim over saving $30 on your plumbing service.
2) To piggyback off of point #1, don’t trust what you read in the Yellow Pages either. Anyone can write-up a compelling ad, or make unfounded promises. The best local plumbers will have referrals available and will have a good online reputation. A little homework can save you a lot of grief!
3) If you get a plumbing quote or estimate, and it seems to good to be true…it probably is : / As is true so many times in life, you get what you pay for. In the case of a trusted local plumber, you’re paying for experience and peace of mind. Consider the cost/benefit ratio before deciding on who is going to do critical plumbing work in your home.
4) I’ve spent a lifetime answering calls on Monday from wives who are trying to ‘fix’ what their husband did over the weekend. Sometimes the damage has gotten worse. If your hubby isn’t real handy, urge him to give us a call first. There’s no shame in hiring a professional!
5) Small drips and leaks can add up fast…real fast. A leaking faucet coupled with a running toilet can use more than 200 gallons of water in a 24 hour period. That’s alot of waste! If you can’t get it fixed quick, call a licensed plumber. It’ll be better for you and the environment in the long run.
6) Please…don’t put bricks or big stones in your toilet tank. It’ll keep it from flushing correctly. Oh, and don’t use liquid drain cleaner…that stuff will ruin your pipes! Just buy a plunger, and if that doesn’t work, then give us a call.
7) Tampons don’t flush well. On this note, even flush-able baby wipes don’t always flush so well. If you can, keep everything but toilet paper out of the toilet. This video highlights just how hard wipes can be on your plumbing:
8) If you’re one of those people who finds yourself constantly jiggling the handle of your toilet, just buy a new flap valve (this is the rubber cover over the hole in your tank). It’s $5 and your time to fix it. It’ll cost you 10x that just to have a local plumbing pro show up and look at it otherwise.
9) Warranties and in-writing guarantees matter. If you are going to have even minor plumbing repairs done, get the warranty of the work in writing. A quality plumbing professional will have no problem doing this, and standing by their work.
10) If winter is right around the corner, make sure to disconnect your hoses and shut off the outside faucets. Plumbing problems in winter are no fun for you or me : )
11) Don’t worry about plumbing material mark-up. So many people ask what my mark-up is, or what I’m charging for materials. Yes, you could buy the materials cheaper…but what would you do with them once you have them? Most any business marks up their material costs. It’s part of doing business.
12) Last, but not least, PLEASE make a point of knowing where your main water shut-off valve is! So much damage can be avoided if you shut the water off as soon as there’s a problem. Knowing is half the battle!
I hope you find some of this useful, or at least interesting. Remember, A1 Columbia Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is here to serve you whenever you have a plumbing problem. As always, we’d prefer that you save money and avoid a disaster. Just know we’re here if you need emergency plumbing services!