How to choose a Plumber you can trust?

How to choose a Plumber you can trust? Posted by on February 16, 2015 in General, New Mexico, Plumbing


This is a tough question. You hear so many horror stories about people’s experiences hiring “skilled experts”. (I’m using quotes here because sometimes we mistakenly hire someone who is “skilled” or “expert” only in his or her own mind – it’s easy to do) Often homeowners choose not to think about the “how” until faced with an emergency and then its an emergency and the “how” gets pushed aside and you just search for a “who” that is available immediately!

This has happened to me…

We bought our home five years ago. Plumbing was the furthest thing from our minds until one afternoon three years ago when my 5 year old announced that there was water in the hallway! What??? Turns out our hot water heater had sprung a leak. Yay! After shutting it off in a panic I called the only plumber I knew, in another town, an hour away to ask for advice. Luckily, he knew someone, local, and would get me in touch with him.

The problem was resolved relatively painlessly, the plumber arrived and resolved the problem quickly, knowledgeably and without totally draining my bank account! After the repairs were complete, I made sure to get his contact information. Having a local plumber was, obviously, important (thanks water heater for the reminder!) I refused to be stuck in panic mode when another emergency struck. Nope, not me. Next time I would know exactly who to call.

Of course an emergency did strike again.

And again, it was our water heater. Not to panic, I was prepared, or so I thought. I contacted the plumber who had come to the rescue before, but to my dismay he was not available – but he knew someone and would call for me and send him over right away. Phew! Again, the problem was resolved and the water heater was repaired and my bank account was spared!

Unfortunately, emergency struck a third time, and you guess it, it was the water heater. Yikes, a pin-sized hole was spraying water all over the closet. The only positive this third time was that I was now an expert at shutting off the water into the water heater as well as draining the water heater. (Oh, the joys of homeownership!)

As I was running through the steps of stopping the spread of water I started thinking….not only was this the third leak in the water heater but all the leaks had been in the same section of pipes. What I really wanted to do was call and give someone a hard time and say “Why, why does this keep happening?” but the problem was the previous repairs hadn’t been made by the same person, and while I knew that the new leak was in the same general area, I couldn’t be certain that it was in either of the two previous spots. And I had no documentation other than a hand written receipt as to what had been done and the receipts weren’t very specific.

I decided I needed a different approach this time.

I called an established plumbing company in town. I was hesitant to do so; I worried that I would be paying more for their name and not necessarily for better service. But I also knew I couldn’t continue this cycle of endless water heater repairs.

While speaking with them , I learned that they had worked previously at our home for the previous owners. The representative was able to give me a starting point for what fees would be charged. Right off the bat I knew this repair would be documented so if anything happened again all parties would have information as to what exactly was done. I knew this repair would be documented so if anything happened again all parties would have information as to what exactly was done. I knew the base where the fees for the repair would build. I felt informed and prepared!

If I had it to do over again I wouldn’t wait for an emergency to familiarize myself with my plumbing options. Take my advice plan ahead. On that note, here are a few pointers for finding a good plumber/ plumbing company you can trust:

  • Ask for References: A reputable and experienced plumbing company should be able to give you the names of recent customers in your part of town.
  • Get Estimates: Get a couple written estimates from different plumbers. Documentation is important to have if something goes wrong. (Obviously, this isn’t applicable in emergency scenarios).
  • Are they licensed, bonded and insured: While licensing and bonding requirements vary state to state, all plumbers should have insurance to cover accidents that may happen while on your property.
  • Where the company is located: Does the company you’re hiring have a physical address? Helpful should something go wrong and you are trying to contact the company.
  • Look at their history: How long have they been in business? Are they well established in your community? Is it a name you recognize and have heard of? Perhaps you have seen them working in your community. This means they have a reputation and will work to provide you with great service and keep their customers happy! It also means that you will be able to contact them later. You won’t be passed from one business to another like I was.
  • Document the work: Whenever possible make sure that you have an itemized receipt and description of the work that’s been done.
  • Do they offer a warranty: This might not apply to all jobs or vary depending on the work performed but it is important. It proves that they will stand behind their work!


  1. Shad Morris 2 years ago

    I really like that you say to see if they can give you a list of recent customers that they have helped. Since I would like to make sure that they will do a great job, it would be nice to talk to them and see how they did. Also, you might be able to ask them some questions that you may have.

  2. Ruth R. Nero 2 years ago

    This is a wonderful blog. Thanks for the useful tips.

  3. John Mahoney 2 years ago

    I agree that it is a good idea to ask for several estimates when looking for plumbing services. It makes sense that doing this can help you compare companies and make sure you find someone you can rely on. I would want to find someone that knows what they are doing and can educate4 me on how to care for my system.

  4. Tomas Killington 2 years ago

    My sister recently moved into an older home. She noticed there are some leaks in the pipes under her sinks, so she’s looking for a good plumber to come take a look. I didn’t realize how important it is to look at a plumber’s past work to ensure they are established in the community and trusted by others. I’ll be sure to share this information with my sister.

  5. John 2 years ago

    I liked your suggestion to look at a plumber’s history to determine what reputation they have. I have heard that checking references would be the best way to go about doing this since a long list of references usually denotes a lot of satisfied past customers. I’m looking at having my bathroom completely remodeled, so I’ll be sure to do this before hiring a plumber.

  6. Ernest London 1 year ago

    I like that you mentioned to ask a company if they offer a warranty. That way, you can know if a plumber will stand by his work and fix any issues that arise. I am going to remodel my bathroom, and I have been looking for the right plumber to help me. I will definitely ask about warranties as I search, thanks for sharing.

  7. Paul 11 months ago

    I’m glad I found a plumber I can trust.

  8. Ashley Maxwell 11 months ago

    I like how you said that a plumber should be able to work with water heaters. It’s nice how you said that they should be able to help in emergencies. My husband and I are looking for a skilled plumber to repair our water heater.

  9. Jenna Hunter 11 months ago

    I appreciate your advice on asking for references and estimates when finding a good plumbing service. The plumbing is a major part of your house and you would want it to be taken care of by serious professionals. I think that next time I need a plumber, I will take your advice as well as consulting with the BBB on the best plumbers around.

  10. Larry Weaver 11 months ago

    Thanks for the tip to ask for references of recent customers in your part of town from an experienced plumbing company. I am developing my home, and I need to start working on the plumbing. Being able to find good references and estimates will be traits I look for when finding a plumbing company to work with.

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