When do I need a plumber?

19 November 2018

Just because you use the toilet regularly, doesn’t mean you know how it works. It’s not uncommon for people who think they know how to fix a problem to make the issue worse, because they thought they knew as much as a professional. Especially if you're in need of gas plumbing, never try to attempt doing this kind of work yourself as it can be extremely dangerous.

Another reason to call in the professionals, is when you have a tradie complete a job that requires a Plumbing Compliance certificate, only a licensed plumber will be able to provide this to prove the job has been done to a professional standard. If you’re unable to provide this – because you tried to do a job yourself – you may have a problem being covered by your insurer if there is damage caused.

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What are the different kinds of plumbers?

No different to electricians, teachers or policemen, there are different kinds of plumber with varying specialities. Make sure you know which kind of plumber you need before you start ringing around so you get the right tradie for the job.

Residential plumbers

The title ‘residential plumber’ would have you think these are the people to call to fix your leaking taps – this is not always the case. Residential plumbers are often trained in the building of the plumbing network in a new home or home renovation.

These plumbers usually work a fixed-day on a job site, which means they usually don’t do call outs to fix minor problems outside of working hours.

Commercial plumbers

Commercial plumbers are trained to work on large-scale projects and job sites such as schools, hospitals and public buildings. The tools and methods these plumbers use are often much larger than residential work and require a different work method.

Service and repair plumbers

If you need a new toilet installed – these are the people you call. Service and repair plumbers have experience and training to problem-solve and fix a multitude of issues that can arise in a home. Due to the nature of their work, a good plumber should also be a good communicator and able to empathise with you and your situation and why you need a job done.

How much will a plumber cost?

How much a plumber is going to cost is dependent upon a few factors: what type of job, where the job is and when you need it done. Even if the first plumber you hear from gives you a price you think is reasonable, get multiple quotes just so you know you are getting the best deal.

What type of job

Depending on the complexity of the job, it will take different amounts of time to do the job. Simple jobs like changing the washer on a tap will not take long for most plumbers, where unblocking a drain way take longer if the issue lies a long way down the pipe. The plumber probably won’t be able to give you an answer as to how long the job will take until they look at the problem. So, make sure to ask before they start, but don’t expect an answer over the phone.

Where the job is

There are thousands of qualified plumbers in Australia, and chances are there is one near you. If you're looking for a specific type of plumber, one that specialises in hot water heaters for example, may charge a travel cost if they have to travel long distances to get to you. Others may ‘start the clock’ from the time they leave their place of business to get to you and the travel time will be part of their hourly rate.

What time of day

If you're calling for an emergency fix after hours, don’t stress. Many plumbers offer a 24/7 service where their hourly rate will not change, but there may be an extra ‘out of hours’ cost.

Plumbers with varying levels of experience will also charge different amounts, but according to tradie-finding service hipages, you can expect to pay roughly the amounts below.

The figures below are a rough estimate and will range depending on the nature of the job and what state you live in.

Common Service Approx. Low $ Approx. High $
Fix a dripping tap $60 $140
Replace taps $80 $250
Install a toilet $160 $550
Hot water service replacement $1,200 $4,500
Install hot solar hot water system $3,500 $12,000
Replace your drainage system $5,000 $20,000
Re-plumbing a house $6,000 $12,000

Source: hipages, October 2018


What should I ask my plumber?

If you have a leaking tap, for example, if you were to call and ask for a quote to get a plumber to come to you, there are a few things you should know beforehand to prevent wasting your time, the plumbers’ time and water.

Telling a plumber that there is water on the floor of your laundry is not very helpful. Ask yourself the following questions to give the plumber an idea of what the problem is before they arrive, in case they need to bring any special tools.

Can you see where the water is coming from?

  • Is it an appliance leaking?
  • Is it still leaking?
  • Have you turned the water off?
  • Is it hot or cold water?
  • Is it water at all?

A good local plumber may be able to solve your problem over the phone – saving you both time and money.

7 questions to ask when hiring a tradie

Once you've identified that you have a problem you can’t fix yourself and you think you've found a good local plumber, always ask if they are licensed (especially if it’s the first time you have hired them). Plumbers across Australia need to be certified to carry out works in your home, so make sure they are qualified and able to prove it if asked.

Plumbing is a messy job and water can get into every nook and cranny of your home – damaging your walls, floors and belongings. So, make sure you plumber also has public liability insurance before they start work, just in case something goes wrong.

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Any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.