More than 80 percent of homes in the Nashville area were built during the twentieth century. According to Neighborhood Scout, 30 percent were built before 1970.
The good news is that older homes were built strong to last for generations. All you need to do is to drive through some of our beautiful Middle Tennessee neighborhoods to know it’s true. Or maybe just look around your own home.
Why does age matter? It’s not the structure that’s the problem, it’s the infrastructure. The older the home, the more likely you’ll need a plumber to evaluate problems and set things right again.
How can you know if you’ve hired the right residential plumber to protect your big investment? Ask these five important questions before you sign an agreement.
#1: Are You Licensed and Insured?
What a plumber doesn’t know can hurt your home. It can also lead to more and bigger problems down the road.
So the first thing you might want to know is whether a prospective plumber has experience. If they’re licensed, chances are they have a significant amount of experience.
Better yet, this question kills two birds with one stone. If a residential plumber is also insured, you have some protection against negligence and poor work.
From our experience, the number of good residential plumbers in Nashville far outnumbers the bad, but it’s best to play it safe. So ask for proof of professional licensing and insurance. And while you’re at it, always ask for identification before allowing anyone into your home. An professional plumber won’t mind.
#2: How Are Your Rates Calculated?
Some plumbers charge by the hour and some have a flat fee for certain services, so they charge by the job. The latter is not as common, but still within the realm of possibility. Then there are those who use a combination fee structure. For example, your plumber might have a flat rate for a new toilet installation but might charge by the hour for additional work or unforeseen circumstances.
Ask up front how a prospective plumber calculates his or her rates. A small job could turn into a prohibitively expensive one if a plumber doesn’t communicate and you don’t know what to expect.
#3: Do You Provide Estimates?
If you’re like many homeowners, you probably have little idea of what a plumbing repair or installation job really costs. Parts are only a portion of the total. Labor requires skill and time, which has significant value. The only way to really know is to ask for an estimate.
At some plumbing companies, you’ll get a free estimate. A plumber will come to your home and check out the problem in person, then give you a quote for the work. Others charge for an estimate, but many of them apply that payment toward the final bill. Finally, some utilize a balanced approach with affordable diagnostics and affordable repair or installation work.
Find out where your plumber stands on estimates. Angie’s List says a phone quote is fine as a starting point, but you should not accept one as the final word. Until your plumber sees the job in person, there’s no way to know what they’re getting into or if the final bill will be higher.
#4: When Will I Know the Total Cost of the Work?
Many a homeowner has experienced shock after a repair person handed them a bill. That’s avoidable with a good quote and good communication from your plumber. Unless there’s an ironclad agreement in writing before the job that both you and the plumber have signed, there could be a variation in cost by the time the work is complete.
Ask your plumber when you’ll know the full cost. If it’s a straightforward job, they might know as soon as they give you their quote. If not, some variables might be unknowable until they’re at a certain stage of the work. Either way, communication is vital.
#5: Do You Offer a Warranty?
Great work is only great if it stays that way. Unfortunate is the homeowner who has signed the check to pay the bill and then found themselves stuck with a leak or other problem. That’s why you need a warranty.
So ask your plumber about their warranty terms. Terms can vary by company and by the type of job. For example, a residential plumber might offer a lengthy warranty on a new water supply line installation. For other work, the warranty might be quite limited.
Ask about the length of the warranty as well as exceptions and exclusions. If there’s no warranty, look for another plumber.
Jewell Mechanical’s Plumbing Maintenance Agreement
Naturally, no home’s plumbing can last forever. Even a house built today will need maintenance and eventually repairs. With a Plumbing Maintenance Agreement from Jewell Mechanical, you can shift the burden of worry onto the shoulders of experienced professionals who are licensed and insured.
So if you need a residential plumber to handle service and/or installations in the Metro Davidson County area or elsewhere in Middle Tennessee, contact us online or give us a call at (615) 469-5965.