Tips for Finding the Best Plumber

Do you manage a building or own a house? You need to have a good plumber in your back pocket because the day will come when you need his or her services.

If you live in a small town that only has one plumber, the choice is simple. But if you live in a city that has many plumbers, you need to know how to find a good one.

Unfortunately, some plumbers don’t have your best interests in mind. In this guide, we give tips on:

  1. Finding an honest and competent plumber
  2. Evaluating a plumber’s work
  3. Understanding what services plumbers usually offer

Abacus Plumbing in Austin TX Provides Professional Plumber Services To The Following Areas


How to Find a Plumber

Word of Mouth

Getting recommendations from people you know and trust is one of the best ways to find good restaurants, reputable online purveyors, great camping sites, or whatever. The same goes for service providers. Neighbors and local friends and family can tell you the plumber they hired and liked as well as that plumbing company to avoid.

Remember that not all recommendations are equal, and you may need to take some with a grain of salt. Neighbor Bill who recommends his brother’s plumbing company may be biased. Usually, the most reliable word-of-mouth referrals come from people who don’t have a dog in the game.

Your Local Chamber of Commerce

Check this source. Many Chambers mandate that businesses meet certain requirements in order to join, which can instill some confidence that vendors on the list are reputable.

Search Online

Type “plumber near me” in your browser to produce a list of all local operators.

If you use Google, you’ll find that a search of this type generates contractors’ Google business pages plus their star ratings and reviews. A quick look at the star rating a contractor has achieved helps to sort the list according to company quality. Of course, some plumbers don’t have a Google business page, but it’s a quick way to evaluate those that do.

The good thing about Google reviews is that businesses cannot alter the comments. A negative review stays as is, and you can see how the company has responded to it. The way companies respond to negative reviews can be almost as helpful as the content of their positive reviews.

Read Reviews on Other Sites

Look up the companies you’re exploring on other sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, The Better Business Bureau, and People utilize different sites when they leave reviews, so skim them all.

Explore Plumbing Company Websites

When you’ve whittled an initial list of candidates down to a manageable number, visit each plumber’s website. As you do, make a note of the following:

  • Whether it is locally or nationally owned
  • If 24-hour services are offered (or just a 24-hour answering service)
  • The range of services provided
  • How easy it is to talk to a live person
  • If workers are background checked
  • If the company is licensed and insured

How Many Companies Should You Call?

We recommend calling three plumbers. This step comes after going through your original list, looking at multiple companies’ reviews, ratings, and websites, and identifying the top three contenders.

In your call with each plumber:

  • Describe your plumbing problem or need (the sewer is backing up; the water heater died)
  • Ask how much it will cost to address the problem
  • Ask how soon someone can come out

Most likely, you’ll just get a quote for the service call. If the service can be rendered within a certain period, the service call fee may be all you have to pay.

However, if it’s a bigger service needed, you will likely set up an estimate visit (usually free), and during that visit, the plumber will provide a quote for the job.

How to Evaluate a Plumber

When you’re trying to find a plumbing company that will become your go-to service provider, pay attention to how things go right from the start. Make notes, either in your head or on your phone or on paper.

  • Did a representative answer your first call, or did it go to voicemail?
  • How long did it take to get a call back?
  • Was the representative knowledgeable?
  • Was it easy to get the information you needed and set up a service call?
  • Did you get a clear price?
  • Was the service charge and job pricing in line with what other companies charge?
  • Did the plumber arrive on time for the service call?
  • Did he or she understand what you needed to have done?
  • Throughout the visit, did the plumber explain the services being performed?
  • Did you have a good understanding of the charges? Any surprises?
  • Did you get a receipt?
  • Were you contacted after the visit with a request to leave a review?

The way you answer the above questions will help you determine if you’ll call this plumbing company back in the future.



What Services Does a Good Plumber Offer?

Evaluating a plumber will include evaluating the company’s services. You want to get established with a provider that can do everything you need over the years of your responsibility for the home or building. Right now, you might just need a faucet replaced. Next year, a water heater might need maintenance. Hopefully, you never have to have a whole house repiped, but if you do, you want a dependable company for the job.

Look to see if the plumber you’re considering hiring provides all the following services.

Drain Clearing

Got a sink or tub that’s backing up? Or one that’s just taking forever to drain? You need to get the drain cleared.

Homeowners and property managers often clear drains by removing accumulated hair or pouring liquid products down the pipes to dissolve clogs. Sometimes these strategies are not enough, though.

Professional plumbers have the expertise and equipment to access and eliminate deep-down, stubborn blockages. Clogs of this nature form from washed-down debris such as soap scum, food particles, oil droplets, grease globs, hair, and other miscellaneous items. They accumulate along the sides of drains, building up in layers and narrowing the passage so water can’t flow freely. Eventually the passage gets so blocked that it doesn’t drain at all.

Professional plumbers can reach deep clogs, remove them, and get water flowing freely again.

Sewer Line Clearing and Repair

Sewer lines carry used water away from a house and out to a septic tank or to a municipal sewage system. They run underground so can get damaged by 1) ground that shifts, 2) invading tree roots, and 3) the random shovel strike.

Inside, sewer lines get clogged with oils, grease, dirt, soap, toilet paper, hair, chemicals, sludge, leaves, and bugs.

Leave sewer line repairs to the professionals. Your go-to plumber should offer sewer line clearing and repair as a standard service.

Most plumbers utilize small cameras threaded into sewer lines to take pictures or videos of clogged areas. This allows for targeted repairs. Gone are the days of digging up feet upon feet of sewer lines to find breached or problem areas.

Many plumbers employ hydro-jetting equipment to clear sewer lines. This equipment makes use of streams of water under very high pressure to blast apart clogs.

Slab Leak Detection and Repair

Slab leak detection is not a homeowner DIY activity. The plumber you select as your go-to company should offer slab lead detection and repair in its roster of services.

Most plumbers have special leak detection equipment that picks up soundwaves. The length of the soundwaves indicates where leaks are occurring inside pipes that lie beneath the slab. Being able to target breached areas of pipes means that repairs can get done without digging up the entire slab.

Plumbers also use leak detection equipment to locate breaches in above-ground pipes—water supply pipes, industrial oil pipes, commercial steam pipes, drains, and toilet outlets.

Water Heater Installation and Repair

Plumbers are the service professionals who install, maintain, repair, and replace water heaters.

Today’s most common water heater styles include the standard tank model and the efficient tankless model.

Standard water heaters come in various sizes. They contain a heating element that heats water inside the tank and keeps it at a constant temperature. Supply lines bring cold water to the tank; exit pipes take hot water out for distribution throughout the house.

Tankless water heaters do not have a storage tank. Their technology allows them to heat water on demand. Because they don’t need to store water, they can fit in much smaller spaces than the standard water heater. Tankless water heaters cost more upfront, but over the years, they end up costing less because of their efficiency and longevity.

Water Softener Installation and Repair

Plumbing contractors install, maintain, and repair water softeners and water conditioners.

Water quality varies from region to region. The substrate it travels through infuses water with minerals and particles that get deposited onto clothes, skin, and hair.

Water conditioners remove elements like iron and sulfur that color water and make it smell.

Water softeners get rid of minerals that leave deposits.

Water systems that take treated water throughout a house or building are called whole-house systems. Point-of-use systems are those that deliver treated water to specific fixtures.

House Repiping

A repiped house is one where old, worn-out water pipes have been removed and replaced with new pipes. Older homes sometimes need this service because age and exposure have made the plumbing system deteriorate beyond a reasonable ability to repair.

Pipes are made of differing materials according to their purpose and location. Copper pipes usually carry water to toilets and sinks. Drainpipes and vent pipes are usually made of PVC. Pipes that run through unheated areas–like attics and crawlspaces—may be made of PEX tubing or other materials that can withstand cold temperatures to a certain point.

Yours may be a new home that will never need repiping, but nevertheless, look for a plumber that offers this service.

Plumbing Guide Wrap-Up

We’ve written this guide to help you know how to find a reliable plumber that you can add to your stable of trusted service providers.

We’ve given a list of questions to ask as you evaluate different plumbers.

We’ve also given you a list of the standard services most plumbers provide. The plumber you settle on should offer all the services we’ve described.

With this guide, you can confidently identify, evaluate, and hire the best plumber in town!

This guide was written for you by Abacus Plumbing Austin.