Plumbing

How Much Does a Plumber Cost? The Average Rate for Hiring a Plumber

How Much Does a Plumber Cost

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  • Typical Range: $175 to $480
  • National Average: $327

Plumbing is a much-appreciated but often forgotten part of a home. It’s the network of materials that make sure the water and sewer systems work appropriately behind the scenes so a home’s inhabitants can enjoy their modern conveniences. A homeowner will need to hire a plumber when installing any new fixtures that use water and especially when there’s a necessary repair. Doing your own plumbing repair is a recipe for disaster if you accidentally create a much bigger problem by using the wrong tool or securing a fixture improperly. If you’re wondering, “How much does a plumber cost?” the price range is $175 to $480, or an average of $327. These costs usually cover tasks like toilet repair, faucet installation, and leaky pipe repair. When budgeting for plumbing repairs or updates, review this list of considerations.

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How Much Does a Plumber Cost? Cost Factors to Consider

Plumbing costs can vary due to the job’s complexity, the materials needed, and how long the job will take. You can also expect to pay more for emergency plumbing repairs, especially if it’s after hours. The average hourly rate for a plumber is $45 to $200, depending on the following factors.

Job Complexity

As with most repair jobs that require a skilled laborer, a complex job will cost more than a simple one. This is one reason a homeowner can hire a handyperson or journeyman plumber to unclog a garbage disposal but will need a master plumber for a main line issue or undetected leak. More complex jobs also take longer to complete, which means a homeowner will pay more labor costs.

Timing

The repair’s timing can affect costs in two ways. First, if the region has a busy construction market, it may be hard to get a plumber scheduled for repairs, and the demand could increase the price. Secondly, calling a plumber for an emergency plumbing repair will always cost more. Most companies charge an extra trip fee of $100 to $350. Make sure to ask about the hourly rate and any emergency fees when finding an emergency plumber.

Location

Geographic location affects the cost of hiring a plumber since skilled laborers have a higher hourly rate in most urban cities. Additionally, if the region has a shortage of plumbers, the increased demand for plumbers may have boosted rates more than usual. Enter your zip code into a plumbing cost calculator to determine the average rate for your location.

Supplies and Materials Needed

Some plumbing jobs don’t require extensive materials, but others do. For instance, if you’re replacing an old faucet, you’ll pay for the cost of the faucet and any other plumbing parts that need updating, in addition to standard supplies like caulk. Replumbing a portion of the house includes extensive materials and supplies that will increase the cost.

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Plumber’s Expertise Level

Master plumbers work their way up from apprentice to journeyman first. Apprentices often accompany master plumbers until they receive their own certification. Journeymen are certified to complete most common household plumbing repairs independently with an hourly rate of $45 to $90. Master plumbers charge an additional $25 to $75 an hour or more, but they’re qualified to handle complex tasks.

Labor and Permits

Expect to pay between $45 and $200 per hour for a plumber, depending on the factors above. The average rate is usually $70 to $120 per hour, not including any trip fees or materials. Small repair jobs don’t require a permit to complete the task. Still, suppose a plumbing job involves the sewer line, inaccessible pipes, newly installed plumbing, plumbing rerouting, or water heater installations. In that case, a plumber will be able to obtain the proper permit from local authorities. Every location is different, but the average permit cost is $75.

How Much Does a Plumber Cost

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Additional Costs and Considerations

The complexity of a job, timing, and plumber’s experience level aren’t the only factors that determine how much a plumber costs. Also, consider service fees, haul-away fees, trip fees, and the extent of the repair. Depending on the situation, some of these costs may apply to the total price for plumbing repairs.

Service and Diagnostic Fees

Plumbing companies may charge extra fees to ensure costs are covered. Service fees are usually a flat rate of $150 to cover the cost of materials and travel time. If there’s a leak that’s difficult to locate, you may be charged an additional $100 as a diagnostic fee.

Condition of Home’s Plumbing

Older homes may have plumbing that needs significant or frequent repairs. If a house has galvanized plumbing materials, you will likely pay at least $100 more for plumbing repairs. Consider having the plumbing fully updated if you find you’re often paying for a plumber.

Haul-Away Fees

While there won’t be haul-away fees for minor repairs and upgrades, any significant plumbing work replacing existing materials will include a haul-away fee to dispose of the excess materials properly. In some states, special disposal requirements could apply depending on the material.

Trip Fee

Many plumbers charge a trip fee. A trip fee covers the distance plumbers travel between jobs and supply locations, and the cost ranges from $50 to $300. The farther a home is from a plumber’s service area, the higher the trip fee. If a home is within the plumber’s service area, a homeowner will only pay the lowest trip fee or none at all. Alternatively, some plumbers don’t charge a trip fee, but they charge a minimum 1- to 2-hour service fee regardless of how long they stay.

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Fee for Work Outside Normal Hours

On average, plumbers charge time-and-a-half or triple the standard hourly rate for after-hours repairs. This could be charged as a flat-rate fee of $100 to $350 on top of the hourly rate. Expect to pay extra for weekends and holidays as well.

Water Damage Repair

Unfortunately, there are times when a significant leak causes damage to another part of the house. A leaking pipe usually costs $150 to $350 to repair. For severe pipe bursts, water damage becomes the highest cost of a plumbing repair. A homeowner will likely need to hire a different company to help repair the damage to other materials. Water damage repair costs usually run between $1,000 to $4,000.

Additional Repairs: Electrical Work, Drywall Repair, Carpet Installation, and More

Major water damage repairs are only part of what may need attention after a pipe bursts in a house. Depending on the severity and location of the leaking pipes, some of the internal electrical wirings could have been compromised by water damage. Outlets, light switches, and more could require repair for $150 to $500. Repairing damaged drywall could cost an additional $300 to $800 depending on the extent of the damage. If the water damage affected the carpets, all or part of the carpet would need to be replaced. It costs $200 to $2,500 to replace damaged carpet. A sewer pipe leak means the lawn will be torn up during repairs, so expect to pay $1,000 to $2,600 to replace the sod damaged by heavy equipment if it can’t be saved.

Plumbing Inspection

You might not have heard of a plumbing inspection before. It’s a helpful tool for people looking to purchase an older home or a home with possible signs of plumbing problems. For an average cost of $165, a plumber can do a home inspection to determine the state of your plumbing system from top to bottom.

Plumbing Contractor

The word “plumber” is often used interchangeably when referring to any task that involves plumbing; however, there is a difference between a plumber and a plumbing contractor. A plumber works on repairs or small installations and is the person you call for emergencies. A plumbing contractor works on new construction projects, renovations, or additions.

How Much Does a Plumber Cost

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How Much Does a Plumber Cost? Types of Plumbing Jobs

No two plumbing repairs are the same. Plumbers could encounter a challenge that you weren’t able to identify over the phone, or the repair could turn out to be a lesser disaster than expected. From burst pipes and clogged drains to radiator repairs and water heater installations, the types of plumbing repairs cover the spectrum—and so do the costs.

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Slab Leak Repair

One of the more dreaded repairs is a slab leak. A slab is the concrete foundation on which a house rests, and it takes special equipment to locate the problem. The costs for slab leak repair include $125 to $400 for detection and $500 to $4,000 for repair. The flooring will need to be removed, and the plumber will likely need to jackhammer through parts of the concrete foundation before removing and replacing the leaky pipe.

Leaky or Burst Pipe Repairs

Leaking pipes can become a big problem over a short time, but a burst pipe is an immediate emergency. If the leak’s location isn’t apparent, the plumber will need to spend extra time to detect the source ($100 extra). Repairing the leak costs $150 to $350. Burst pipe repairs will cost more since damage to other materials in the house, from drywall to carpets, will need to be factored in. Expect to pay $1,000 to $4,000 for cleanup and repairs.

Ceiling Pipe Repair

Depending on your plumbing system and the leak’s location, you may have to call a plumber for a ceiling pipe repair. If the problem is severe, a plumber will have to cut into the wall to access the issue. Expect to pay around $675 for ceiling pipe repairs, plus any additional construction repairs.

Main Line Leak Repair

The main water line is the lifeblood of your plumbing system. When it has a problem, you’ll hear rumbling in the pipes or see gushing water outside the house. Repairing a main line leak costs $750, but replacing it with a new installation costs an average of $1,500, although it could go as high as $4,000. Until a pro surveys the damage from a main line leak, it’s hard to know how much a plumber will cost for this job.

Clearing Clogs

Drains have a way of getting clogged over time, even if we try to prevent the wrong items from going down them. Unclogging a sink or drain usually isn’t a difficult task, so you could hire a handyperson to complete the job for around $45 per hour. Serious clogs could cost up to $200 to repair, so prevention is key to saving money on this cost.

Plumbing Replacement

Replacing bad plumbing can quickly become a big job. It’s one thing to replace the P-trap under the sink, but it’s another thing to install a new toilet. The standard hourly rate usually applies, but the total cost to replace plumbing is usually around $350 to $2,000. Sinks, toilets, and faucets run between $150 to $525, but new showers or bathtubs often cost $1,000 to $5,500.

Sink Installation

If the drain lines are already installed when putting in a new sink, you won’t have to pay as much. Kitchen sinks tend to cost more to install since they are bigger and often include a garbage disposal. Bathroom sinks are usually a simpler, straightforward installation. The average cost of sink installation is $200 to $525.

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Radiator Repair

Basic radiator repairs are usually charged at a flat fee of $60 to $80. A plumber can help diagnose a leaky, noisy, or malfunctioning radiator. If you have a water heater that needs repair, expect to pay $550 on average.

Sump Pump Installation

Some areas need sump pumps to help remove excess water that could accumulate under a house. Installing a sump pump could cost $650 to $1,800, depending on the system’s complexity. You can install one of two types of sump pump: pedestal, which costs $70 to $400, or submersible, which costs $140 to $300. Repairing a sump pump could cost between $300 and $700.

Water Heater Installation

The cost to install a water heater varies based on the kind of system you choose: A standard installation costs $750 to $1,400 (or more for high-efficiency units), solar costs $2,000 to $5,200, and tankless costs $1,000 to $1,800. If the water heater is replacing an old unit, the price could increase if the original plumbing was damaged in any way.

Rerouting Plumbing

Sometimes plumbing needs to be rerouted, especially during a remodel or addition. The exact price is difficult to nail down since it depends on several factors, but check with plumbers in your area for a quote. Just rerouting the plumbing line costs $650 to $1,500 on average, but this doesn’t include any additional costs for drywall, framing, or concrete work.

Whole-House Plumbing

Whole-house plumbing is another price that’s challenging to define since every home has its own style and challenges. As an average baseline, expect to pay around $11,500 for a 2.5-bathroom home. The kind of pipe used (CPVC, copper, or PEX) will influence that price.

How Much Does a Plumber Cost

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How Much Does a Plumber Cost? Signs You Need a Plumber

Hearing the telltale sound of a leaking pipe is just one possible sign that you need a plumber—or it may mean that you just need to turn the faucet off all the way. Leaky faucets are only one of many reasons to call a plumber. A slow-draining sink, low or no water pressure, a constantly running toilet, or plumbing installations are all reasons you’ll want to have a plumbing pro come to your house.

Slow-Draining Sink

Any fixture with a drain should be draining the water as fast as it’s filling. If you find you’re standing in water in the shower, it’s probably time to call a plumber. Drains can get clogged by rodents, hair, gunk, or toys, but a plumber can quickly get the drain flowing properly again.

Low Water Pressure

It’s frustrating to be unable to properly rinse the shampoo out of your hair due to low water pressure. If the shower head isn’t the problem, then the faucet’s aerator could be the culprit. Have a plumber inspect the shower plumbing and determine whether it’s a simple fix or a bigger leak.

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Backflow Issues

Backflow is not fun. It’s made up of all the wastewater that should have exited the house, but instead, it’s making an unpleasant entrance on the carpet or hardwood floors. Sometimes this happens when the water pressure is too low. A plumber can work with the main water line to ensure it runs properly and avoid another backflow problem.

Water Gurgling Up

Plumbing fixtures should work independently of each other, so if the toilet starts gurgling when the shower turns on, have a plumber come as soon as possible. There’s a problem somewhere along the line that could become a disaster. The system is struggling to drain appropriately, so air is escaping from any available source. It should be repaired before it creates another air source where there shouldn’t be one.

No Water

Another serious plumbing issue arises when you’re surprised by the total lack of water coming from a faucet you just turned on. It’s a sign of a big clog or a more extensive leak. It could be challenging to locate the problem, but a licensed pro will know where to start.

Water Heating Issues

While you might enjoy a cool shower on a hot summer day, you’d prefer to have hot water come out of every faucet when needed. A malfunctioning water heater is usually the culprit. Since these units run on electricity or gas, only licensed pros should diagnose or repair whatever the problem is.

Burst Pipes

Frozen pipes in the winter can wreak havoc on a house when they burst. Sometimes only a single pipe bursts for other reasons, and it can be hard to determine where the problem originated. Avoid wasting time trying to find the leak on your own, and call for an emergency plumbing repair before the problem worsens.

New Appliance Installation

Installing any appliance that requires access to water lines is not as easy as it may seem. Be sure to have a qualified pro work with the unit and properly install the lines to prevent leaks.

Running Toilet

Toilets are designed to refill the tank and stop refilling when it’s full. If you hear your toilet running for longer than those few moments, then your toilet is simply running water straight down the drain—and costing you extra money on your water bill. In most cases, the seal in the tank has broken down and needs replacing.

Wet Basement

If there are water spots or damp areas in a basement, have a plumber check for leaks. Some basements are dark and moist already, so adding extra water only adds to the potential growth of dangerous mold or bacteria. Stay on top of water damage in the basement to avoid respiratory problems.

How Much Does a Plumber Cost

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How Much Does a Plumber Cost? Reasons to Call a Professional Plumber

Contrary to humorous stereotypes, plumbers are highly skilled and essential laborers who are critical to the success of modern living. While it’s not fun to have to call a plumber, you can count on a plumber to know just how to solve a plumbing problem and get your house running smoothly again. Here are the top reasons it’s a good idea to call a plumber when you need one.

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Training and License

To become a qualified plumber, someone must undergo rigorous training before obtaining a legal license to conduct plumbing repairs. There are many complexities to diagnosing and solving plumbing problems, so a homeowner wants to know that they’ve hired a fully qualified plumber who’s licensed to operate in the state.

Professional Tools

Most homeowners own a wrench or two, but plumbers own bibb seat tools, tube benders, sleeve pullers, and other specialized tools—and they know how to use them properly. Some plumbing tools are expensive and unavailable to the public, but rest assured that any major plumbing problem has a tool (and a plumber) ready to solve the problem.

Emergency Services

Acting quickly is key to preventing more damage when it comes to plumbing disasters. Burst pipes, leaking pipes, or lack of water are all top reasons to get a plumber over to your house as quickly as possible. Do an online search for “plumbers in my area” to get familiar with one or two companies you’d feel comfortable calling if you have an emergency.

Long-Term Solutions

Leave the jury-rigging to your dad: Professional plumbers work to solve problems with long-term solutions to make sure they have happy customers and reliable reputations. You’ll often receive helpful tips from plumbers about what to watch for or how to prevent future problems.

Issue Beyond DIY Fix

It’s common for homeowners to try solving a clogged drain on their own or wiggling a toilet handle repeatedly to get the toilet to stop running. Beyond that, most homeowners should step back and let a pro handle whatever the chore is. It’s simpler and faster to let a plumber quickly and professionally make the repair so you don’t make it worse.

Warranty Protection

Most plumbing companies have licensed plumbers who can warranty their work. That means any future repairs needed could be covered for free. Paying for a licensed plumber to make repairs and who provides a warranty is a good investment.

Time Saved and Quick Repairs

A homeowner might desire to complete a minor repair or installation, but they might not have the time. Hiring a plumber can ease the burden on a busy schedule. This is also true for emergency repairs. If a homeowner isn’t sure about what they’re doing, they could make the problem worse, so opt for a professional.

How Much Does a Plumber Cost

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How Much Does a Plumber Cost? DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

There are several plumbing tasks that many homeowners are willing and able to take on: unclogging drains, replacing shower heads or faucets, and replacing leaky gaskets in the sink. These tasks require basic tools and don’t take too long to complete. When plumbing problems become more challenging or threaten the rest of the home, that’s when you need to step back and let a pro in.

The last thing you want is to try to repair a plumbing fixture and cause an even bigger leak. More so, if you’re sure you have a leak, you waste valuable time trying to locate the leak on your own if you haven’t already called a plumber. Unless you have a background in plumbing yourself, leave the diagnosing and repairing of major plumbing issues to licensed plumbers who have trained for years to handle any problem that arises. Plumbers that offer warranties on their work also help save you money in the long run on the off chance you need further repairs. Finally, plumbers should also carry liability insurance to cover costs in case of accidents. Otherwise, if you cause additional damage or injure yourself, the liability is yours. Leave the big jobs and specialty repairs to plumbers so you can worry less.

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How to Save Money on Plumbing Cost

Plumbing repairs can add up fast, especially when it’s a major problem. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save money, though—sometimes through prevention. Now that you know how much a plumber costs, use these tips to save on plumbing costs.

  • Get a plumbing inspection. If you own or are looking to buy an older house, consider having a plumber inspect the house on a semi-regular basis to stay on top of potential problems.
  • Prevention is key. Install drain traps in the shower and sink to keep hair and other objects from clogging the drain. Don’t flush anything other than waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Keep a little water dripping from a few faucets to prevent your pipes from freezing if you expect frigid temperatures.
  • DIY the most simple repairs. It’s possible to do a few minor repairs on your own and save money on plumbing costs.
  • Consider adding a water softener. Hard water poses challenges to your plumbing system since it promotes limescale buildup in the pipes.
  • Get a referral from a trusted friend. Hiring a plumber who has done great work for someone you know means you can trust that the repair will be done correctly the first time.
  • Price shop when you can. When it’s not a middle-of-the-night emergency, it’s best to call several companies for a quote. Be as detailed as possible so the companies can provide all the potential costs. Plan ahead by collecting information about which company you prefer to call in case of an emergency.

Questions to Ask About Plumbing Cost

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions about plumbing costs or about the company you’re looking to hire. You’re trusting them with a major feature in your house that you rely on every day, so you should feel confident in your choice. Use any of the following questions as you talk with a plumbing pro.

  • Do you send licensed plumbers to make repairs?
  • Are you insured?
  • Do you ever subcontract out to other plumbers?
  • Can you provide references?
  • What are your service fees?
  • What is your trip fee, or is my home within your service area?
  • Can I review a line item quote?
  • How fast is your response time?
  • Do you offer 24/7 emergency repairs?
  • Do you also have plumbing contractors available for a remodeling job?
  • How accurate will the quote over the phone be?
  • Do you charge extra for any parts?
  • What kinds of specialties can your company do? (Septic tanks, washers, shower installation, and so on)
  • How long will the repair take?
  • Will you have to turn off my main water?
  • Do you offer any discounts?
  • What kind of warranties are included?
  • Do you offer an annual service plan?

FAQs

There’s a lot to understand about how much a plumber costs. Understanding the kinds of fees that plumbers charge will help in the decision-making process. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions to make sure you are prepared with as much information as possible.

Q. How much do plumbers charge per hour?

Typical hourly rates for plumbers cost between $45 and $200. Journeymen charge about $45 to $90 per hour, but they are only licensed to handle the most common household repairs. Complex problems or installations will require the help of a master plumber. Master plumbers are fully certified, and in some states, are the only ones who can legally complete some tasks.

Q. How much does it cost for a plumber to unclog a drain?

The cost to have a drain unclogged averages $125 to $300.

Q. Do plumbers charge more over the weekend?

Yes. Most plumbing companies have 24-hour service, but you’ll pay a premium. The rates vary from a flat fee of $100 to $350 extra or whatever the time-and-a-half cost would be based on their hourly rate.

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