5 steps to ensure you get the best
There is no more important feature of your home than its plumbing. Forgotten and ignored until there is a problem, the freshwater and wastewater pipes that keep your house clean and healthy are vital to the livability of your family.
Because few people inspect and maintain their pipes, when an accident occurs, it usually catches everyone by surprise and can quickly become a disaster without professional help. A water leak within your walls can do extensive damage to sheetrock, flooring and ceilings. A wastewater pipe problem can create a health hazard if not corrected immediately.
Plumbing problems can often necessitate more extensive repairs. Access to pipes and fixtures can be problematic without damaging other parts of the home. Ignoring problems, however, can lead to even worse issues and much more extensive repairs as mold can quickly take root, making your home a health hazard.
1. Preparation is important
The best time to look for a plumber is when you don’t need one. Taking the time to check out qualifications and references can be time consuming and, during an emergency, can put your home and family at risk.
Be proactive about plumbing. If you are moving into a home, have a plumber come out to inspect the pipes and fixtures. If there are problems, it is more cost effective to fix them before they break.
2. Finding a plumber
Talk to friends, family and neighbors to find out who they use. Call the companies they recommend, or look them up online, and identify the services they offer. Check their references, ensure they are licensed and bonded, and talk to some of their current customers.
The local Chamber of Commerce is also a good place to find out information about neighborhood plumbers. Those companies that have been in business for years have roots in the community and will avoid doing anything that could damage their reputation.
This step is about weeding out companies you are not comfortable with or you feel don’t have your best interests at heart. If the references aren’t top quality or if the recommendations are dodgy, cross them off the list. Winnow your list of potential plumbers down to about three, then pick up the phone.
3. Interview the company
Nearly all plumbing companies offer a free interview for potential customers. Prior to calling you should have created a list of questions and concerns that are important to you. Questions about emergency and after-hours responses and charges; whether the company belongs to any professional or business associations; and the licenses that the company carries.
Be upfront with the plumbers. Tell them you have narrowed your options down to three and that you are doing your homework. Ask them how much it would cost to do an inspection of your plumbing.
4. Check references
Online or in-person discussions are important, but it can make you feel a lot better if you know – from other customers – that the plumbers you are looking at can do the job. As an industry, word of mouth referrals and references are still vital for most neighborhood plumbers. In addition to checking references, run their name through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). You want to know who you are dealing with.
5. Inspect your home
After choosing a company, ask them to inspect your home. There is a fee for this, of course, but it can identify looming problems and weaknesses in your plumbing before they become an emergency. Like every other part of the home, plumbing needs maintenance.
“We appreciate customers that do their homework,” said a representative from Northern Beaches Plumber. “When the customer takes the time to do what is best for their home before an emergency, we have a better chance of assisting them when it strikes.”
Doing this before it is an emergency will give you a better understanding of what your plumber can do. It also makes you familiar to them. You want to create a relationship with your chosen plumber. Yes, it is a job to them, but that job can go much easier and be done better if you are more than a name, address and phone number to the plumber.