The week of February 14, 2021 will not soon be forgotten and many of us
are still dealing with issues that arose from frozen pipes. It is easy to understand
and expect that plumbers or wannabe plumbers are well aware of these issues.
While the need to act quickly is very important, we still need to act
carefully. Plumbing issues and the resulting water damage can be expensive and
extensive. The resulting damage could cause you to need temporary housing and
disrupt your daily life. Water damage can lead to mold growth and even affect
Therefore, to “act carefully” in this instance means to act wisely. You need
to be wary of plumbers who hang flyers on your door or solicit by telephone. Do
your homework on the internet to find out how long the plumber has been in
business and whether it has any extensive complaint history. This is not a time to
go with the least expensive plumber who you do not know anything about and
seems to only operate out of a personal van or pickup truck, rather than the
company vehicles we see around town.
One thing I have seen a lot of on social media sites like Facebook and
Nextdoor, are unlicensed plumbers by way of handymen, pool repair companies,
builders, other types of subcontractors, all offering to “help.” Please be smart if
you decide to use a non-plumber. You have voided any insurance or other home
warranty coverage that could pay for any resulting damages. These people should
only be used in absolute dire emergency situations and you should use them to do
the absolute minimum to put your home at a status quo until you can get a licensed
plumber out to do the remainder of the work.
Make sure that you have a quote for the work before they begin. If at all
possible, get it in writing. Make sure you have the complete information of the
contractor before they do the work, including the plumbing license number. If they
have insurance or are bonded, get that information upfront. You will never get it
once you start having problems. Beware of anyone who starts increasing their
quote. Don’t ever pay upfront. If you pay anything upfront, make sure that it is
just a deposit and that you have left the majority of the payment after the final
work is done. I try to never pay in cash as you cannot prove that you paid them
and you might just end up with a fraudulent lien on your home. If you do pay in
cash, make sure you get a written receipt from the contractor.
You need the plumbing repairs done correctly the first time and only
licensed plumbers with insurance are going to warranty their work. The last thing
you want to result from this winter storm is a lawsuit against an unlicensed
plumber for making the situation worse.