How to Hire a Qualified Plumber

bathroom-plumberHesitant to hire a plumber out of fear that they won’t have proper qualifications or charge you fair prices? With the right preparations, have no fear: you may discover that hiring a plumber is easier than you thought.

Simply follow these tips:

Determine the type of plumber

The extent of the plumbing repair or replacement can determine the kind of plumber you should hire. Plumbers often advertise a specialized skill set, most commonly focusing on building and remodeling projects or existing system repair. They further refine their skill level by trade credentials:

  • Apprentice plumbers are still in training, often working alongside more experienced tradesman.
  • Journeyman plumbers graduated from their apprenticeships and now have licenses. They can do most plumbing work, but typically don’t run plumbing companies.
  • Master plumbers are the most qualified option, complete with years of plumbing experience and additional vocational education certifications. These are the plumbers who run their own businesses.

For basic plumbing services, you can rely on a journeyman plumber to complete the job. For more complex issues, you may want to request the help of a master plumber.

Verify current licenses

While the specifications differ, most states require plumbers to at least obtain a license. Reference your state government website to search online databases and find plumbers listed as professional license holders. The National Contractor License Service is also a good resource for researching your state’s licensing requirements.

Lean on other opinions

When you’re in need of plumbing services, start your search by asking neighbors, friends and family members for recommendations. Online reviews and testimonials can also be helpful resources for determining a plumber’s reliability and qualifications.

Ask the right questions

While the cost of a plumber may be among your first inquiries, your search should extend well beyond “the cheapest plumber near me.” Ask plumbers about cost estimates and expected payment schedules before they perform any work. It’s also acceptable to inquire about references, plumbing experience and proof of license, registration and insurance before hiring a plumber or contractor service.

Prepare with home repair plans

Being prepared before a plumbing or home repair issue arises is always a good strategy. Plans from Service Line Warranties of America can help you pay for covered water, sewer and other service line repairs.

5 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes

As frigid temperatures settle in, your first instinct is to turn up the heat, grab a blanket and cozy up with hot drinks. Don’t forget that your pipes are vulnerable to freezing at this time of year.

When temperatures are low during winter months, your pipes may have a higher chance of freezing or bursting. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety reported that burst pipes are an especially common cause of property and water damage, costing homeowners upwards of $5,000 to repair.

The good news is that there are preventative measures you can take to help avoid hefty repair bills and keep your water running smoothly. For example:

  1. Set the thermostat

Be sure to keep your thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night. While you may be used to turning the heat down when you sleep, this should be avoided as the outdoor temperatures decrease during these hours.

  1. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinets

This step allows the warm air from inside your home to reach the pipes under sinks and appliances, especially overnight. An important reminder from Consumer Reports: Remove harmful cleaners or chemicals from these cabinets if you have small children at home.

  1. Let cold water run

When it’s especially chilly outside, let the cold water drip from the faucets for a few minutes. Running water through pipes, especially exposed ones, is an especially effective way to prevent them from freezing.

  1. Keep garage doors closed

Blocking the garage from the chilly air is especially important if this is where your water supply lines are located.

  1. Insulate everywhere

The best long-term solution to avoid frozen pipes is to add proper insulation in your attic, basement and crawl space. It’s also important to seal doors and windows to prevent drafts of cold outdoor air sneaking inside. You can also use foam pipe insulation or heat tape to wrap exposed plumbing.

If your pipes freeze despite your best preventative efforts, you may be able to save them before they burst. Leave the faucet on – even if there isn’t any water flowing. Start heating the pipes closest to the faucet, using a hair dryer, electric heating pad, space heater or towels soaked in hot water. If the water doesn’t start flowing, leave the faucet on and call a licensed plumber for help.

Being prepared before home repair issues arise is always a good strategy. Plans from Service Line Warranties of America can help you pay for covered water, sewer and other service line repairs.

What You Need to Know to Hire the Best Plumber

Hesitant to hire a plumber out of fear that they won’t have proper qualifications or charge you fair prices? With the right preparations, have no fear: you may discover that hiring a plumber is easier than you thought.

plumbing

Simply follow these tips:

Determine the type of plumber

The extent of the plumbing repair or replacement can determine the kind of plumber you should hire. Plumbers often advertise a specialized skill set, most commonly focusing on building and remodeling projects or existing system repair. They further refine their skill level by trade credentials:

  • Apprentice plumbers are still in training, often working alongside more experienced tradesman.
  • Journeyman plumbers graduated from their apprenticeships and now have licenses. They can do most plumbing work, but typically don’t run plumbing companies.
  • Master plumbers are the most qualified option, complete with years of plumbing experience and additional vocational education certifications. These are the plumbers who run their own businesses.

For basic plumbing services, you can rely on a journeyman plumber to complete the job. For more complex issues, you may want to request the help of a master plumber.

Verify current licenses

While the specifications differ, most states require plumbers to at least obtain a license. Reference your state government website to search online databases and find plumbers listed as professional license holders. The National Contractor License Service is also a good resource for researching your state’s licensing requirements.

Lean on other opinions

When you’re in need of plumbing services, start your search by asking neighbors, friends and family members for recommendations. Online reviews and testimonials can also be helpful resources for determining a plumber’s reliability and qualifications.

Ask the right questions

While the cost of a plumber may be among your first inquiries, your search should extend well beyond “the cheapest plumber near me.” Ask plumbers about cost estimates and expected payment schedules before they perform any work. It’s also acceptable to inquire about references, plumbing experience and proof of license, registration and insurance before hiring a plumber or contractor service.

Prepare with home repair plans

Being prepared before a plumbing or home repair issue arises is always a good strategy. Plans from Service Line Warranties of America can help you pay for covered water, sewer and other service line repairs.

No Drano®? 5 Easy Ways to Unclog a Drain Naturally

There’s never a convenient time for your drains to clog. When it happens, you want to fix it immediately.

drain

And of course, when you look under the sink, you realize that there’s no Drano® to be found. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to naturally unclog drains, many of which require things you likely already have in the house. Plus, harsh chemicals in Drano® and other store-bought products may potentially damage your pipes.

Here are five natural methods to unclog a drain:

  1. Dish soap + hot water
    This remedy is especially effective for kitchen drains clogged by grease. Pour a solid amount of dish soap down the drain, and then top it off with a pot or kettle of boiling water. Greener Ideal recommends doing this at least once a week even when there isn’t a clog to prevent future greasy blockages.
  1. Salt + hot water
    Start by pouring half a cup of salt down the clogged drain. Flush with two liters of boiling water, followed by running hot tap water. Keep repeating the process until the water drains properly again. This remedy works best for clogged kitchen and bathroom drains.
  1. Baking soda + white vinegar + hot water
    According to Whole Living, this is the recipe for chemical-free success. Start by boiling 3 to 4 cups of water. Pour 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar into the clogged drain, and then follow up with the hot water. You should see the mixture bubble, pushing its way down the drain to clear the blockage.
  1. Hydrogen peroxide + baking soda
    Measure a cup of hydrogen peroxide and a tablespoon of baking soda, and then mix the two ingredients together. Pour the mixture down the drain, and wait for it to foam, which indicates that it’s breaking up the clog.
  1. Plunger + plumbing snake
    Stubborn clogs may require the proper tools to tackle. Start with the plunger, filling it with water and then placing it over the drain. Plunge rapidly for about 30 seconds, and then watch to see how the water drains. If it starts flowing down properly again, you’re good to go. If it’s still draining slowly, use a plumbing snake to dislodge the clog.

If the clog persists, there may be a more serious issue with your plumbing or sewer line system that’s beyond the realm of these remedies. We suggest you schedule an appointment with a licensed, professional plumber.

Being prepared for home repairs is always a good strategy. Plans from Service Line Warranties of America can help you pay for covered water, sewer and other service line repairs.