Friday, March 14, 2014

Mike Holmes: How to Hire the Right Plumber For the Job

March 11 was World Plumbing Day. Did you forget to thank your plumber? Chances are, unless you're married to one, you did. Plumbers are some of the unsung heroes in this world that make civilized living possible. Indoor plumbing allows us to bring clean water into our homes and take the dirty water away. Could you imagine what life would be like if you couldn't take a shower or flush a toilet? Plumbers literally make the difference between living in the first world versus the third world. This is all the more reason to be selective when hiring one to do work in your home. So how do you hire a good plumber? Most of us aren't plumbing experts and wouldn't know how to spot a good job or a bad job even if we were looking right at it. First things first, Mike Holmes states that a good plumber pays attention to detail. When examining a job, look to see if the job is done neat. Look for sloppy or dripping glue from the ABS joints. Is the soldering on copper pipes clean and neat? If it's not, then you should probably move on. Talk to your potential plumber and ask him questions, and don't be afraid to ask for examples of his work, because as Mike always says, a good tradesman is proud to show off his work. Lastly, always make sure that if you're moving lines, you get a permit, because a good plumber will always get all necessary permits for the job. Follow Mike's advice, and you'll be sure to avoid disaster down the line.
 
From the Montreal Gazette:

 Mike Holmes: What to look for when hiring a plumber

Be proactive, don't wait for a disaster


After a decade, Mike Holmes still cares because he knows the work he, his crew and others do makes a real difference to the people they help.

Photograph by: Alex Schuldt/The Holmes Group, Postmedia News

World Plumbing Day was on March 11 — a day those of us who know a good, licensed plumber should take a moment to thank our lucky stars.
Don’t know one? To avoid a bad hire, add a licensed plumber to your contact list long before you need one. Don’t wait for disaster to strike when you have an emergency. It’s these kinds of situations that can lead you to hire the wrong person — someone that could make an even bigger mess of your plumbing.
If you are new to a neighbourhood or plan to move soon, check out local plumbers and talk to past clients. Ask them how happy they were with their service and work. And how fast was the plumber on the scene when they needed them?
Here are some other tips to help you find the right plumber:
No. 1: Check their insurance. A licensed plumber does not need to carry insurance, but the company he works for does. The minimum liability coverage for most plumbing companies is $2 million, but the pros I work with carry $5 million.
Companies that take on bigger jobs will need more coverage, but more liability coverage also gives homeowners more peace of mind and security because they know they’re covered if something goes wrong that was the plumber’s fault.
Regardless of the amount, always call the insurance company to verify the coverage and make sure the company’s insurance hasn’t expired.
No. 2: Always do a background check and look at their work history. This applies not just to the jobs they do for the company they work for, but side jobs as well. Look at recent jobs, jobs they finished a month ago, a year ago, five years ago. Older jobs tell you the durability, quality and longevity of their work.
Ask them about the different kinds of jobs they do, and how many they personally (not just their company) do each year. A full-house plumbing reno can take a week to two weeks. If the plumber you’re checking out does these types of jobs, they shouldn’t be doing more than 25 a year.
Most homeowners will check out their general contractor, and go see their past jobs, but they won’t vet a potential plumber they’re thinking of hiring. It might be that they think plumbing isn’t something you need to go see. Or maybe they wouldn’t know how to judge the work of a good plumber; here are some clues:
A good plumber pays attention to details, so you should too! You can judge the technical knowledge and skills a plumber has by looking at the details of her work.
For example, look at the strapping on the pipes, and how the pipes are supported. Are they strapped nicely and level? Straps and supports cost money, so it’s an area where a plumber can go cheap.
Is the glue around the ABS joints clean? Is there any glue dripping? Also, look at the quality of the soldering around copper pipes. It should be clean and neat.
What about the slope of the pipes? Pros will slope their pipes to prevent water from sitting in the pipe and possibly freezing — which we know isn’t good.
And we can’t forget permits. You don’t need one for plumbing repairs, but you do if you are moving fixtures — and a good plumber won’t do the job without a permit.
Just like any other good contractors, good plumbers are proud of their work, so ask to see some examples.
Thanks to smartphones, plumbers can take photos of their work as soon as it’s done, giving them more references (all my service guys take pictures of their workmanship).
The last thing to remember is that good plumbers explain their work. When they meet potential clients, they are clean and presentable, and can explain the job in great detail and in a way you can understand (layman’s terms).
But if a plumber says, “Ya, don’t worry, I can do the job. It will cost you this much,” and they don’t explain what they’re actually going to do — for example, how they plan to reroute plumbing lines — then they’re not the right plumber and it’s time to move on.
Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

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