If you are like many people, your first thought when experiencing a plumbing problem is to call for professional help. Before you pick up the telephone, you should consider a few things. Unfortunately, your plumber is the least likely person to tell you these things.
One of the first things you will not hear from most plumbers is that you do not need them. Many plumbing calls have a minimal service call of $125 or more. That means that if the plumber does a job in five minutes, you are still stuck with the fee for the service call. In addition, it is possible for the homeowner to complete many of these tasks quickly without any help from the plumber. Clogged drains can often be solved using vinegar and baking soda, a plunger or a drain snake. Most traps under sinks can be removed, cleaned and replaced using no special tools. A quick trip to the plumbing store can give you all the parts necessary to stop a leaky faucet. You can often replace leaking supply lines for less than $20. By learning to do these tasks for yourself, you can save the cost of that service call for the times when you really need the plumber.
A second fact you will not hear from the plumber is that maintenance costs less than repairs. Maintaining items such as faucets and water heaters can add years to their life. It is often worth a service call at the normal rate to have the home inspected before a problem happens. If you wait until there is an emergency in the middle of the night, you will pay a premium for service. If you already have a plumber at your house for repairs, be sure to have the professional address all the plumbing problems or make the inspection to save a second service call.
Many plumbing companies do not reveal the hidden costs until the homeowner is presented with the final bill. When calling with a problem, be sure to give as many details as possible. Ask for an estimate. When given the cost estimate, ask if that will be the final amount you will pay or if there could be other charges. Some companies add travel time or mileage to the bill, so it is best to be informed before asking for help.
In a true emergency, you might need a plumber. However, in many cases, it is possible to fix the problem yourself. Consumers that take step to maintain their plumbing can often save expensive repair bills and help the equipment to have a much longer life span. If you must have the help of a plumber, be sure to ask about any hidden charges that could affect the final bill. The tips your plumber may not tell you can help to keep your home plumbing operating correctly for many years.