With the spread of smartphones and easy internet access, more and more people are using the information resources they have at their fingertips to become self-sufficient experts. After all, why would you pay someone to perform a service that you could learn to do yourself after watching a three-minute YouTube video? What does it matter if the person in the video claiming to be an expert doesn’t really know what they’re doing?
What could possibly go wrong?
When it comes to your plumbing, quite a lot. While some online resources can be helpful, one of the biggest challenges plumbing services face is combating widespread misinformation about their trade. Frequently repeated myths and longstanding misconceptions can be found everywhere online, sometimes right alongside perfectly good advice. These ideas are repeated so often and by so many people, that they’re eventually portrayed as “common sense,” even by people who should know better!
Here are four particularly widespread and potentially damaging misconceptions regarding the plumbing industry:
Misconception 1: Plumbing is simple
It’s an unfortunate truth that people routinely underestimate the complexity of their household plumbing and undervalue the expertise of the plumbing professionals who install and repair it. They often think of plumbing in basic terms that don’t go far beyond the concept of water flowing through pipes.
In reality, plumbing is a complex engineering problem that demands expertise in physics and chemistry. Plumbers must consider how pressure exerted by liquids and gases affect piping, how the pretense of bacteria affects sanitation, and how different construction materials can potentially affect water quality.
Due to all these factors, a professional plumber has to be far more than simply a “guy who unclogs your drain.” In addition to working through a rigorous apprenticeship or vocational program, plumbers must also pass state examinations to obtain a license and complete additional training to earn certifications for performing more specialized work. There really is no such thing as a “typical” plumber due to the wide range of specializations in the trade.
Misconception 2: A handyman is just as good as a professional plumber
“Don’t pay a plumber for that, I can fix it for cheap.”
Although well-intentioned, this suggestion is enough to make a professional plumber cringe. Oftentimes, people with some experience in a construction trade take it upon themselves to install or repair residential plumbing for a very low price.
As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
If you’re fortunate, the quality of the work will simply be shoddy and need to be replaced when it fails again. In serious cases, repairs or installations by a handyman could actually overlook serious health and safety requirements. This could lead to extensive property damage or even health hazards.
Contracting with a professional, licensed plumber not only ensures the work will be done properly, but also that it will comply with local regulatory requirements. And since any reputable plumbing service is insured, you can rest easy knowing that any problems that arise during installations or repairs will be covered.
Misconception 3: Plumbers overcharge for parts
When a plumbing service provides an itemized list of parts and labor, people often focus on the price of parts. There’s a perception that plumbers overcharge for parts that customers could have purchased on their own for much cheaper.
But the reality, of course, is that you’re not really paying for the price of the materials, you’re paying for the expertise and experience of the people using them and the support that allows them to do their job well. The plumbing industry is complex, with a great deal of costs not immediately obvious to the casual observer. Between overhead, insurance requirements, wages, fuel, parts storage, licensing, and ongoing technical training, it can be expensive simply to get a plumbing technician to a job site in the first place!
Misconception 4: Plumbers are for emergencies only
Too often, people ignore long-term plumbing issues because they don’t seem like much of a problem. Unfortunately, small issues have a way of growing into bigger, more expensive ones. From a leaky pipe fitting that leads to a moldy ceiling in the baby’s nursery to a slow running drain that winds up completely clogged during Christmas dinner, no plumbing problem ever gets better all on its own.
To avoid expensive and potentially dangerous situations involving your household plumbing, it’s a good idea to have even minor problems addressed as soon as possible. Regular plumbing inspections are another good measure, not only for peace of mind, but also because they build up a history of known issues, installations, and repairs that allow technicians to respond to new problems more effectively. While there are up front costs associated with service contracts like this, the preventative maintenance will usually offset the cost over time, especially when it helps to avoid more serious issues.
Whether you have a plumbing emergency or want to avoid one in the future, it makes sense to trust someone with experience and a longstanding reputation for doing quality work. Express Sewer & Drain has provided fully licensed and insured services to the Sacramento area for many years. Contact us today to set up a solution for your plumbing needs.