What to know before you have a plumbing emergency |
Home & Garden

What to know before you have a plumbing emergency

Before an emergency, the wise homeowner will establish a connection with a highly rated local plumber and locate the home's main water shutoff valve. Quickly turning off water could forestall extensive damage.

Before an emergency, establish a connection with a highly rated local plumber. Find your home’s main water shutoff valve. Quickly turning off water to your home could forestall extensive water damage

The immediate need to restore plumbing service can leave an unprepared consumer susceptible to scams. Angie Hicks of Angie’s List offers these red flags to watch out for:

Unusually low bids. If a contractor doesn’t provide the full cost, he or she may later ask for more money to complete the job.

No contract. Without a written estimate and detailed contract, a contractor could try to inflate the price. Don’t sign a contract unless it specifies all pertinent details, including how much will be paid and when. Be aware that some states limit the amount of money a contractor can accept upfront.

Scare tactics and high pressure. Beware of contractors who try to rush you into costly action to avoid a crisis, such as a sewer overflow. In most cases, you can avoid or reduce damage by shutting off water to the home. In general, when faced with a high-pressure pitch, take time to get another opinion.

Using low-quality materials while charging for better. Make sure the materials you pay for are what you expected. For example, cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) piping and copper tubing costs more than other types because they’re considered higher quality. A contractor might promise to use top-flight parts and may charge for them, but actually install lower-quality items. If you have any reason for doubt, ask for a parts list and check prices of similar items online or at a store.

Planting evidence. We’ve heard stories of workers operating in pairs, with one talking to the customer while the other creates “evidence” of a broken sewer pipe. In a related practice, some show you video “proof” of a problem, but the images they provide show an entirely different system. To avoid this, ask a technician to videotape something identifiable near your sewer cleanout.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.