Believe it or not, faulty plumbing work can do more than just cause flooding, back up your plumbing system or waste precious water. Bad plumbing can also electrocute you, if the pipes aren’t properly grounded, or it can even start a fire.
One homeowner in El Paso, Texas learned this the hard way when a fire broke out in her house. She was at home when she began to smell smoke. She quickly left the house to call 911. The fire caused $20,000 worth of damage to her home. Fire investigators blame the fire on a plumber, who had been doing work three hours before the homeowner smelled any smoke. The fire started by a soldering iron in one of the back bathroom. Fire investigators didn’t say how the soldering iron started the fire three hours after the plumber left. But the damage was already done.
What’s the lesson here?
Fire investigators determined the homeowner had hired an out-of-state unlicensed plumber to do some work. Big mistake! It’s a pretty easy guess to say that either the homeowner was trying to get plumbing work done very cheaply, or the plumber lied about being licensed. Either way, the disaster could’ve easily been avoided.
Tips for finding a plumber
Find a licensed plumber
To get a license, a plumber must have a certain number of hours of training and pass an exam. The exact number of hours can vary by state. But if a plumber is properly licensed, you know they are well trained and competent to do the job right.
If you are not sure if a plumber is really licensed or not, you can verify their information online through your state. Professional licenses are public record. Most states have an easily searchable database you can look through to see if your plumber’s license is in good standing.
Does the plumber have liability insurance?
Having liability insurance means the plumber is covered for any mishaps, mistakes or accidents on the job. This means if your plumber accidently sets your house on fire, or floods your house, you can get financially compensated for damages.
Check for reviews
There are a lot of review websites out there that can help you find a professional. Find a plumber that has mostly positive reviews. Further, many reviews will give you extra information like if the plumber is on time, if they are courteous and if they charge fair prices for their services. Remember, there are a lot of plumbers out there. Don’t feel obligated to settle for an okay plumber. Go for the best.
Ask for references
Any plumber worth his/her salt will not just have references, but will be willing to provide them to you. Just make sure you take the time to call the references and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the plumber’s work.
Check for complaints
The best place to check for complaints is with your state’s licensing board. Different states handle complaints in different ways. But if there are a lot of complaints, stay far away. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see what kind of rating the plumber has.
Hopefully the above five tips will help you avoid the fire disaster the El Paso homeowner experienced. Doing your homework takes a little extra time, but it will pay off in the end when your home is not on fire or being flooded with toilet water.