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Get Quotes from Top Plumbers in New York City, NY

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plumber in New York City

Per day, residents may lose up to $17.81 on faulty faucets and over $29 on broken toilets that are not fixed on time. Hiring a professional plumber in New York City to fix these leaks immediately can save you upward of $6,000 in a year. When searching for a good plumber near you to fix a water or gas leak, damaged sewer pipe, or revamp your home's plumbing system, it is common to ask friends or neighbors for pointers. Regardless of how you come in contact with the plumber, you should always ask the following questions to be sure your contractor is proficient and qualified to work in the city:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in New York City?

Ensuring that your intended plumber is duly licensed not only provides you a measure of guarantee on the work to be done but also protects you against potential financial and legal problems. Per Section 28-408.1 of the New York City Construction Codes, all plumbing work in the city must either be done or directly supervised by a duly licensed master plumber. Violations of this code can result in civil and criminal penalties of monetary fines of up to $25,000, imprisonment of up to one year, or both.

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) administers Journeyman registration and Master Plumber licenses to qualified individuals. Requirements for undergoing Journeyman registration include being older than 18 years of age, and either satisfactorily completing a New York State registered training program with one year's working experience in New York City or having a minimum of five years full-time experience working under a licensed Master Plumber. Note that one of these years of work experience must be in New York City. On the other hand, the minimum years of total experience for obtaining a Master Plumber license typically depends on where and how this experience was obtained, and it usually ranges from three to seven years.

You can confirm the registration or licensing status of your New York City plumber through the online search portal provided by the DOB. Note that individuals that are involved in the construction, repair, or alteration of residential buildings and structures in New York City are typically required to obtain a separate Home Improvement Contractor license from the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP). You can confirm that your plumber has fulfilled this obligation by calling 311 or (212) 639-9675 or by utilizing the DCWP's license search webpage.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in New York City?

Getting multiple estimates from different plumbers near you is a good way to ensure that you end up with the right one. Compare prices between at least three plumbers and select the one that is best suited to your budget. Note that the amount of money you will be charged by a plumber is typically determined by factors like permit and material costs as well as the type of work to be done and its labor intensity.

Plumber in New York City earn an annual average wage of $74,420. Below is a breakdown of the mean hourly wages for plumbers in New York City compared with plumbers in other parts of New York State and other major cities in the country:

New York City Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage
$35.78
New York State Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage
$34.50
Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage
$29.04
Houston Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage
$26.71
Chicago Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage
$44.20
Miami Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage
$22.66
Washington D.C. Plumbers Hourly Mean Wage
$27.93
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the New York City Building Code for Plumbing?

Hiring a plumber that is not only duly licensed but is also familiar with the city's plumbing code helps ensure that you are not issued any violations from the DOB, and saves you from potential civil penalties. The New York City Plumbing Code is a set of regulations that governs the erection, installation, alteration, repair, relocation, replacement, addition to, use, or maintenance of plumbing systems in the city.

This code was put in place to provide minimum standards of safety for New Yorkers and it covers a wide array of topics, ranging from fixtures, faucets, and fittings, water heaters, and water supply and distribution, to sanitary drainage, special piping, and storage systems. While licensed Master Plumbers in the city are typically familiar with the specific requirements of the NYC Plumbing Code for various plumbing projects, it is always a good idea to get confirmation on this from your intended plumber. You can also contact the DOB's Customer Service Unit at (212) 393-2550 to get more information on NYC code violations.

Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by New York City Code?

You will typically need a plumbing permit for any work that involves the alteration or modification of piping in New York City. However, per Section 28-105.4 of the city's construction codes, certain types of ordinary work are exempt from permit requirements, provided that the work is done by a licensed plumber. This includes the removal or alteration of domestic plumbing systems that are not connected to a fire suppression or fire protection system. Similarly, simple repairs or direct replacements of existing faucets and fixtures can be carried out without a permit. Obtaining the necessary permits for your plumbing project is important, as failing to do so can result in having fines and other penalties imposed on you.

NYC plumbing permits are issued by the city's Department of Buildings (DOB) and permit applications are primarily classified as either New Building or Alteration permit applications. Alteration permits are further subdivided into Types 1, 2, or 3, based on the level of alteration involved in the project. Depending on the scope of your plumbing project, you may be required to hire a state-licensed professional engineer or registered architect to submit construction relevant plans and applications before you can obtain the necessary plumbing permits. Once these plans have been reviewed and approved and all applicable fees have been paid, then your contractor can apply for the required permit. Plan filings and permit applications are done online via the DOB NOW: Build platform. Note that utilizing this platform requires the creation of a user account. The DOB provides interested parties with access to filings resources that can help you with the online plumbing permit application process.

Also, the DOB typically carries out mandatory inspections at various stages of plumbing works that require permits, and must also sign off on these projects once they are completed. These inspections include underground piping inspections, rough piping inspections, and piping tests. Note that you may be required to obtain a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy before the DOB signs off on your project. Queries concerning the plumbing permitting and inspection process can be directed to the DOB at (212) 566-5000. Queries can also be made in person at the following locations:

Bronx Borough Office
1932 Arthur Avenue
5th Floor
Bronx, NY 10457
Phone: (718) 960-4720
Brooklyn Borough Office
210 Joralemon Street
8th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (718) 802-3723
Manhattan Borough Office
280 Broadway
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10007
Phone: (212) 323-7287
Queens Borough Office
120-55 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens, NY 11424
Phone: (718) 286-8350
Staten Island Borough Office
Borough Hall
10 Richmond Terrace
2nd Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301
Phone: (718) 420-5418

Note that in-person inquiries must be made between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays at the borough office where your intended project is located. Likewise, phone lines can also only be reached between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.

What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?

New York City plumbers typically offer a wide variety of plumbing services, ranging from fixing leaks and repairing or replacing faulty piping and fixtures in already existing buildings and structures, to installing piping and plumbing systems in new buildings. Plumbing services typically fall under four categories, which are, leak detection and repair, drain cleaning services, installations and replacements, and inspection and maintenance. Always confirm that the plumber you intend to hire is skilled enough to handle the job at hand. For example, while a journeyman plumber may be able to unclog blocked drains and fix leaky faucets, more serious tasks like piping system installations and repairs are best left to Master Plumbers.

Some common cost estimates for plumbing services in New York City include:

Bathtub installation
$2,000 - $3,500
Clearing clogged or blocked drains
$100 - $220
Drain line video inspection
$270 - $400
Faucets, fixtures, and pipes installation/repair
$40 - $250
Home remodel plumbing
$3,000 - $6,000
Septic system installation
$10,000 - $15,000
Septic tank cleaning/pumping
$300 - $450
Sewer line cleaning
$200 - $350
Sewer line installation/repair
$80 - $120 per linear foot
Sump pump installation
$1,000 - $1,600
Swamp cooler installation
$2,500 - $3,500
Toilet installation/replacement
$190 - $480
Water main installation/repair
$40 - $70 per linear foot
Water softener installation
$1,100 - $2,000
Well pump installation
$1,000 - $1,300

Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in New York City?

Most plumbing issues typically require emergency attention. These include problems like clogged toilets, burst pipes, and faulty sump pumps. Seemingly minor issues like dripping faucets should also be rectified as soon as possible. It is estimated that household leaks result in over 10,000 gallons of water wasted annually. With residents of NYC currently paying over $10 per 100 cubic feet as water and sewer charges, ignoring a leaky faucet in your home can be quite expensive.

While it may be tempting to hire any available plumber to handle an emergency plumbing situation, it is always in your best interest to confirm that this individual is licensed and skilled enough to handle the job. It is also advisable to utilize the services of a qualified plumber that is familiar with your location. This way, the problem can be sorted out as quickly as possible before it leads to more expensive damages. You can find licensed plumbers near you by utilizing the Find a Plumber portal provided by the Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York. This portal also allows you to filter searches by the type of plumbing services that you require. You can also utilize third-party websites like Better Business Bureau to search for plumbers near you.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in New York City?

Per NYC's RCNY §101-08, all licensed professionals in the city, including Master Plumbers, are required to maintain active and current general liability insurance. Evidence of this insurance policy is usually required before Master Plumbers can obtain permits, and the policy is expected to have a minimum coverage of $1 million per occurrence. Note that the specific coverage requirements for the insurance policy of licensed professionals in NYC are usually dependent on the scope of the work that the professional is expected to perform. You can contact the NYC Department of Buildings at (212) 566-5000 to get information on the specific insurance requirements that have to be met by your intended plumber for the type of project that you wish to carry out.

According to figures published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 91 fatal work injuries occurred in New York City in 2019, with about 26 of these fatalities occurring amongst construction-related professionals. Working with an insured plumber provides you with financial protection in the event of an unforeseen accident or injury occurring during your project, and you should always confirm that your intended professional has an active insurance policy.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in New York City

It is estimated that residents and property owners in metropolitan New York spend over $1 billion annually on home improvements and repairs. Given the amount of money involved, it is inevitable that there will be unscrupulous plumbers looking to scam unsuspecting New York City residents. In 2019, a Brooklyn contractor was charged in a 55-count indictment for allegedly scamming a Midwood couple out of more than $700,000 by receiving payment for construction work, including the installation of new water and gas lines, without performing the required jobs. Unfortunately, many similar stories exist, with most of these scams being targeted at older residents of the city. Fraudulent plumbers in NYC typically scam unsuspecting victims through various methods. These include requesting upfront payment and then not either not doing the job or deliberately doing a poor job so that they can get a callback. Another common plumbing scam in NYC involves using cheap materials for a job and then charging premium prices for these materials.

You can protect yourself against NYC plumbing scams by taking certain steps, such as:

  • Verifying the licensing status of any plumber that you intend to hire
  • Finding out if any disciplinary complaints have been filed against the plumber. The NYC Department of Buildings provides and regularly updates an online lookup portal that you can use to do this
  • Requesting references from the plumber before finalizing any agreements. If the plumber in question cannot provide you with at least three references, then you should search for a different plumber near you
  • Utilizing third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review to get additional reviews on the plumber. Reviews gotten via these sources are more likely to be unbiased and can help give you a clear idea of the plumber's level of professionalism and skills
  • Getting a written contract for your project and making sure that it describes the type, quality, and cost of the materials that will be used for your project
  • Never making full payment for your project until the job has been satisfactorily completed, and avoiding cash payments

You can report NYC plumbing scams to the city's Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) via the NYC311 online portal. You will be required to provide your contact information when filing this complaint, otherwise, it will be considered a tip. Complaints can also be filed by calling 311 or by completing two copies of a complaint form and submitting them either via fax to (212) 487-4482 or via mail to:

NYC Department of Consumer Affairs
Consumer Services Division
42 Broadway
9th Floor
New York, NY 10004

Note that restitution is not guaranteed when you file a consumer complaint. If you wish to seek damages or other forms of personal remedy to the tune of $10,000 or less, you should also consider retaining the service of an attorney and filing a suit at a New York City Small Claims Court.