Rarely does somebody set out to upgrade their plumbing. The pipes transporting fresh water to your home and wastewater from your home tend to do their jobs with the kind of anonymity reserved for theatrical stage hands. You don't appreciate them until something goes wrong.
When something does go wrong, speed is usually essential. Water damage can cause thousands of dollars in damage in no time. Leaks can soak floors, ceilings and foundations, causing rot and mold that may make your home uninhabitable. The quicker you address your problem, the better off you, and your wallet, will be. It might not feel like a great investment when you see that rush jobs come with premium costs. But the alternatives can be apocalyptic. Continue Reading
Clogs represent the No. 1 plumbing problem. But they're not always serious. A backed-up toilet, for instance, might just need swift work with a plunger. Or not. The most common sink problems involve the garbage disposal. Many of these problems can be avoided by being careful with what you stuff into it. Avoid corn husks, celery, grease, meat and starchy foods and always run plenty of water down the drain with disposables. Disposal clogs, like those in the toilet, can often be handled with a plunger. But if your disposal doesn't come on when you flip the switch, it may be jammed. You'll want to unplug the unit and follow the troubleshooting directions that came with the disposal.
If none of these measures fix the problem, you probably should consider calling a professional.
Serious plumbing problems might require not just replacement of a pipe or two but cutting into walls or flooring. Labor is almost always going to be your biggest plumbing expense, so the more involved the job, and the more that has to be torn up, often the more costly the job.
Sewer and Septic Issues
Septic issues stink. Literally. If you find you have a sewer or septic tank issue, keep your family away from the leak, and call a plumber immediately. The rush nature of the job might cost you a bit more, but it will keep your family safe and it will hinder further damage to your home. Waste water can contaminate your ground water, surface water and your yard with bacteria. Sometimes the fix may be as simple as fixing a clog, but other times it could be more complex, such as replacing a section of pipe. The key is to act quickly before a small problem becomes a big one.
Other Plumbing Cost Tips
It's always best to shop for a new plumber BEFORE your kitchen sink turns into Niagara Falls. Consider looking for a plumber for non-emergency jobs, such as moving a sink in a bathroom or changing out faucets. These can be handled as you do other work with contractors: Get a firm estimate and make sure you're apprised of any problems that arise.
Factors that affect cost include the quality of and number of fixtures, the time it takes for the job and when the job is needed. Holidays, weekends and after-hours emergencies, of course, will cost more.
Be aware that most plumbers and rooting companies charge upfront fees just for showing up, though those fees usually can roll into the cost of repairs and renovations.
Going for the lowest bids can be problematic. Some companies offer lower hourly rates, but then tack on equipment fees and other extras you might not have anticipated.
Also, be aware that not all companies employ licensed plumbers. If the job is a simple root-out-the-clog, that might be OK. But licensed plumbers are almost always better at diagnosing tricky problems (expect them to bring micro-cameras and other fun gadgets), and they're more likely to warranty their work.
One way to save money on plumbing is to consolidate jobs. If you know you've had a leaky faucet in your bathroom for weeks, ask your plumber about it while he or she is working on your toilet. It could save you money in the long run.