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Plumbing by the Numbers – What every homeowner should know about costs before calling in the plumber

Here’s a sentence you’ll never hear come out of the mouth of a homeowner: “Oh boy, I just can’t wait to replace and upgrade my piping.”

Nobody plans on plumbing replacement, it just kind of happens, and it generally happens when you least expect it. We all prefer to spend our home improvement budget on fun stuff like new counter tops, flashy appliances, or even a new deck or hot tub. But the reality is that when the unsung heroes of our home (think roof, electrical, plumbing) go belly up, we really have no choice but to bite the bullet and get the job done as quickly as possible.

As professional plumbers, we understand that our service isn’t always cheap and that in many cases homeowners are going to opt for the do-it-yourself option. And to be honest, sometimes you are better off to bust out your tool belt and give it the old heave ho before you call us in. Other times, however, you may end up costing yourself more money than just knuckling down and paying for professional help from the get go. This guide is to help you weigh those two options in given scenarios.

Before we break into specific cases, let’s start off with “The Rule.”

“The Rule” states that any time you risk water damage to your home by not calling in a plumber you are costing yourself money. After fire, water is the costliest home destroyer there is. Don’t risk astronomical remodeling costs to save a few hundred bucks.

So…you need to keep something very important in mind here. The prices listed below are NATIONAL AVERAGES and NOT our prices. For a quote on a given job in Key West or the Lower Florida Keys,  please give us a call at 305-872-1876.

Prices fluctuate, so we thought it would be best to use the average prices nationwide to reflect the general trend. Plus, since this is going on the internet why not help out homeowners across the board and not just the ones living in our territory.

Plumber fixing sink drainRepair a Clogged Drain – $248

A clogged drain is the #1 plumbing problem encountered in the home. While it’s a dirty job, most backed-up toilets simply need some work with the plunger. Before calling in a professional, put on some rubber gloves and see what you can do on your own. If all you needed was a good plunge, you are wasting your money by calling a plumber, even if it is gross.

Same goes for a drain, try a plunger first. Another idea is to empty your trap into a bucket under the sink.

If you attempt to unjam a garbage disposal, make sure to shut off power first!

Install a Water Heater – $978

While having a new water heater installed isn’t cheap, you will want to think twice about doing this one on your own (especially if you have a gas heater). If you have extensive experience in doing home improvement work then perhaps it is worth your while to hook it up on your own, but there are several pitfalls that can cost you big bucks if things go wrong.

Clean Septic Tank – $433

Money well spent. Don’t even think twice about it!

Plumber ReSeating ToiletInstall a Toilet – $410

Installing a toilet is a fairly simple task if you know what you are doing, but a poorly seated tank on the wax ring can have raw sewage dripping through the ceiling in no time.

If you want to install your own toilet, pay for it the first time but tell the plumber that you want to watch so that you can do it yourself on the next go around. As with many plumbing fixes, the DIY version is not that difficult if you get it right. But get it wrong and now your costs just quadrupled!

Repair a Toilet – $251

If your toilet issues are inside the tank, then this is something that most homeowners can try to tinker with on their own. Replacing a flap valve or adjusting the handle are easy, and mistakes won’t cause any more damage. But if the problem is what happens with the water AFTER it leaves the bowl, you’re better to get a professional in before you have serious water damage.

Repair a Drain Line Breakage – $738

This job goes under the category of “you can do it, but are you sure you want to?” Pipes that are not under any pressure are not that difficult to work with, even for a newbie, but drainage pipes are disgusting and may require extensive digging to expose and find the problem. If you want to spend 2 straight weekends digging and working in filth and using the neighbor’s toilet in the interim doesn’t bother you, then feel free to save yourself this money, but most likely by the end you won’t feel you got your money’s worth by giving up so much free time for such a nasty job.

General Plumbing Call – $353

Across the board this is the average expense of calling the plumber. The basic idea here when thinking about doing a task on your own is to do a risk-reward analysis. You need to ask yourself, “What is the worst that can go wrong?” If the answer is “a lot” then call a plumber. If you need to sweat fittings or do other work inside walls where water damage could ruin structural fixtures of your home, call a plumber. If you are working with septic, you are probably going to want to call a plumber.

But if you’re dealing with a leaky faucet, an ornery (but basically functioning toilet), or PVC pipe that will not be under any pressure, perhaps a trip to the hardware store and a few hours of your time will save you money. To a great extent it depends on how valuable your time is to you and how handy you are with a wrench.

Bluewater Plumbing Solutions is the local plumbing contractor of choice for the Lower Florida Keys and Key West for plumbing repairs and new commercial and residential construction.

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