Air pipes

Your pipes are rough, but that’s okay – and 8 other things your plumber wants you to know

Plumbers do the dirtiest work, but somehow the profession has earned a reputation as a scam. But what would you be without them? Where would your bathroom be? (Shudder.)

And let’s be honest. We do not schedule plumbing appointments months in advance. The plumbers are the ones we call frantically at 2 a.m., with water pooling around our ankles and stolen monogrammed hotel towels strewn across the floor. We call plumbers midmeltdown, and somehow they have to explain the inner workings of our pumps and valves in plain language and take action before more damage is done.

Just because it’s a dirty job doesn’t mean its practitioners aren’t deserving of our respect or understanding. Here are nine things plumbers want you, their customers, to know to clean up the air or the drains, so to speak. This is the first in a series on what entrepreneurs would like you to know.

1. Your drains are dirty. Really dirty. But that doesn’t mean you are.


“People have no idea what they’re flushing down the toilet,” says Jonathan Thornethe general manager of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Wichita, KS. You probably assumed it was pretty gross there, but if you’ve never seen someone meandering in your toilet or shower, this might surprise you. How? ‘Or’ What it’s rude.

But that’s normal. The amount of mud removed from your drains is not a reflection of your cleanliness or the skills of your plumber. The least useful thing you can do is notice how dreadful the bathroom looks in the middle of the renovation. They know, and it will get better.

“There’s nothing sexy about sewer lines,” says Thorne, “but when they don’t work, you definitely notice.”

2. They will clean up after themselves, but not after you.

Although the process can be complicated, good plumbers will leave your home exactly as they found it. “We want it to look like it did when we got there,” says Chris Wallaceowner of GFB Plumbing in dallas. But that don’t mean they’ll clean up your mess. Both Wallace and Thorne mentioned clients who expected their plumbers to add “housekeeper” to their duties.

“If we walk into a bathroom and there’s already sewage all over the bathroom, we’re going to unclog the clog,” Wallace says. “But we don’t carry a full range of maintenance supplies on the truck. If it’s ridiculous and they say, ‘What are you going to do?’ that you going to do about it? “”

“We try to go above and beyond, but sometimes you realize it’s going to take a coat of paint and new flooring,” says Thorne.

3. Don’t feel bad calling late at night.

Plumbing is a 24-hour job, so no reputable plumber will be vexed by a midnight emergency. “Call – we’ll answer,” Wallace said. “We don’t get mad. Sometimes we get the best jobs because they couldn’t find anyone else.”

4. Don’t overestimate your DIY abilities.

Unless you’re a serious DIYer, leave the plumbing to the professionals.

“Know your limits,” says Thorne. “Some guys don’t need a plumber. Some guys get the wrong tool, taking a small problem and making it a big problem because they shouldn’t have strained.”

It turns what could have been a quick fix and an easy job into an arduous ordeal that could involve lifting floorboards or tearing up your walls.

Yes, sometimes you can save money. But wouldn’t you rather spend a small amount of money now than a huge amount later? Plumbers may have to deal with waste, but that doesn’t mean they like waste.

“If your mechanical abilities are weak, leave them alone,” Wallace says.

5. Stay or leave during work, it doesn’t matter to us.

Don’t feel bad hanging around while your plumber works. “Unless they’re really grumpy, I don’t mind them watching,” Wallace says. In fact, many plumbers prefer that you stay, that way you can answer questions about the house in case of an emergency.

6. Maintain your appliances.

Your house does not take care of itself, even if it is new. Most water heaters require annual maintenance, such as flushing them out and checking the anode rod for corrosion. You should also regularly check your water shutoff valve for corrosion. Some retail stores will do this for you, but if yours doesn’t, don’t ignore your homework.

“The instructions are in the owner’s manual, but a lot of people don’t maintain their home’s plumbing,” says Thorne. “This can reduce its lifespan and cause problems down the line.”

7. Don’t wait for a crisis.

Do you hear a dripping faucet or a running toilet? A small leak in the basement? call your plumber nowbefore it becomes a major emergency and your basement floods or something equally tragic happens.

“If proper maintenance had taken place or full attention had been given, the problem would not have reached this level,” says Thorne. “To be aware.”

Fixing a small problem is much easier on your wallet and won’t require a major renovation. And see n° 4 concerning waste.

8. Know your home.

Quick: Where’s your shut-off valve? If you don’t know, find out now. You’ll save your plumber valuable time if something goes wrong (and prevent further water damage to your home).

“That way, if there’s a leak, or you notice the water is spraying or not turning off, you have the option of turning it off at the source,” says Thorne.

9. Plumbing can be expensive.

But just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s a scam.

“People don’t realize how expensive plumbing can be. It takes time, expertise, training and materials to get things up to code,” says Thorne. While you should always get multiple estimates, don’t dismiss one just because it’s expensive. When you hire cheap plumbers, chances are you’ll get what you pay for, and they won’t provide the same guaranteed service as more expensive plumbers.

It is not only the price that determines the quality. Check out the reviews on Angie’s List and Yelp– not to mention the Better Business Bureau– to ensure that the plumber you hire has the integrity and ability to handle a situation if it escalates. In particular, make sure the plumber is licensed and insured. If uninsured plumbers were injured on your property, says Thorne, they might be able to sue you for damages — and if they destroy your pipes while working on them, they might just drive out of town, leaving you to pay another plumber to do the repairs.

But at least then you can impress the new plumber with what you learned.

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