Monthly Archives: February 2012

Seven Steps for Hiring a Plumber

Hiring a plumber is not as difficult as climbing Mount Everest. However, if not done properly it is as tragic as falling from Mount Everest. Just kidding!  Once you have decided to hire a plumber  for your building you have to consider these seven steps.

First step is to approach your family, friends,  office colleagues for recommendations of professional plumbers  they have hired. There are two types of plumbers. The first category specializes in repairs.  The second category specializes in remodeling and the construction field. Make sure the plumber they have referred is specialized in the construction field.

Second step is to shortlist two to three plumbers whom you feel would be the most efficient in doing the job right the first time. Now you have to compare their experience,  references, and reliability.Those who are well established in the field are often more competent than some fly by night contractors. Compare their proven performance so that you will have an idea of their work experience. If needed you can contact the reference names given to you either by phone or in person.

Third step is to discuss your project with the prospective plumbers and ask for their quotation. You can ask them to visit the site. Ask for  a quote in detail for the total cost including material and labor charges. Consider the time estimated  for the project  completion by each plumbers.  If the time estimated in months or days  by one plumber  is less and the cost is high you may have to choose the one with the less expensive quote . Match the quote against your cash budget. This will come down to a judgment call on your part. Sometimes you might decide to go with a more experienced plumber and pay a little more, or vice versa.

Fourth step is to compare the qualifications of the  plumbers. A professional plumber will have proper liability insurance and workman’s compensation. Make sure the prospective plumber has a proper insurance policy. Another important thing to look for is the certification or the license of the plumber. You can also check if there is any complaints against the plumber with the Better Business Bureau. Look for the work permit of the plumber. A professional plumber will make these documents available for your inspection if you request them to.

Fifth step is to check the service guarantee by the professional plumber. You have to ask the plumber for a guarantee in fulfilling the project,  if any eventuality arises in the course of work. If there is no guarantee, your money, time and  effort will be at risk.

Sixth step is to ask about safety measures. Assuming that you have already established that the plumber has insurance, you may ask about any further safety measures they may want to use while working in your home or business.

Seventh step is to summarize all of this information for a clean, clear picture.  By touching on all of the valuable points discussed above you have hopefully reached the point where you are ready to select your  professional plumber. Keep in mind all these seven steps to hire a plumber so that you are making the right decision quickly and with confidence.

What to do with Frozen Pipes

Millions of families across the country have a catastrophe somewhere in their homes due to frozen pipes. Their lives are disrupted every winter with flooded rooms and high cost repair bills. However, if a pipe freezes and the response is swift it is possible to thaw the pipe before it bursts. Pipes normally freeze when they are adjoining outside walls. The most vulnerable to freezing are those running through unheated quarters, and once the water is frozen, the water flow will be cut off, leading to split pipes due to ice expansion.

The first piece of evidence that your pipe is frozen is when you awake in the morning after a very cold night and turn on your tap. If there is no surge of water and only a trickle flows down and abruptly stops; you have a frozen pipe. So thawing the pipe will be necessary. Here is advice on what to do with frozen pipes.

. First, locate where the pipe is frozen, then switch off the key water supply. This move will avert the water from spurting out once the pipe is thawed. Afterwards, open the taps in the house.

. If water is not flowing anywhere inside the home, a pipe close to the water meter is probably frozen. Place your hand on the meter and the nearby exposed pipes. If the pipes are extremely cold, that is a sign that they are probably frozen.

. If water flows in just one part of the home, a pipe in an exterior wall or un-padded crawl space is most likely the culprit. Try opening bathroom and kitchen sink cabinets to permit warm air from the home to heat-up the pipes.

. After locating the frozen pipe, open the distressed faucet completely while opening other hot water faucets as well. When the water begins to stream from the distressed pipe, secure all faucets to a dribble. Do not attempt to completely shut the distressed faucet pending the total defrosting of the pipe and after water is flowing freely.

Other workable methods and one of the safest thawing techniques involves a moderate heat source hair dryer, household iron, or heat lamp. Propane torches or other open direct flames will heat the pipes too fast, possibly causing an explosion. Some people may suggest putting rags into boiling water and wrapping them around the frozen pipe. A professional plumber would never recommend such a technique since obviously it would be quite messy with an unpredictable outcome.

When thawing pipes with a hair dryer or heat lamp at all times work from an open faucet toward the frozen part. This will permit steam to be released and from being trapped by ice, which can result in a burst pipe. With the faucet open, it is easy to see when the ice has dissolved. A great way to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place is to wrap them in electrical heating cable, afterwards covering the pipe with insulation to preserve heat. A heating cable can be utilized to thaw a frozen pipe as well.