How Much Does a Plumber Cost?
Homeowners can solve any plumbing problem by hiring a licensed plumber to repair leaky pipes or even install a new sink. How much does a plumber cost? A plumber will run $180 to $489, or an average of $331.
- The typical cost range to hire a plumber is between $180 and $489, with a national average of $331.
- The main factors affecting the cost to hire a plumber are the plumber’s expertise level, type of service, job complexity, supplies, labor, and geographic location.
- Hiring a professional plumber for a project can be beneficial due to their training and expertise, specialized tools, emergency service, long-term solutions, ability to deal with complex issues, warranty protection, and efficiency.
- Some minor plumbing tasks may be performed by homeowners or renters themselves. However, a professional will be able to carry out this work safely and efficiently and be better equipped to handle larger issues that are not straightforward DIYs.
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. DIY plumbing repair is a recipe for disaster; a homeowner can accidentally create a much bigger problem when they use the wrong tool or secure a fixture improperly. So just how much does a plumber cost? According to HomeAdvisor, the price range for a plumber is $180 to $489, or an average of $331. These costs usually cover tasks like toilet repair, faucet installation, and leaky pipe repair. Whether a homeowner is dealing with a burst pipe or budgeting for small kitchen remodel costs, this list of considerations will help them make sense of plumbing prices.
Factors in Calculating Plumber Cost
Plumbing costs can vary due to the job’s complexity, the materials needed, and the length of time the job will take. Also, homeowners can expect to pay more for emergency plumbing service, especially if it’s after hours. The average plumber cost per hour is $45 to $200, depending on several factors. Some people use a plumbing cost estimator to get an idea of the cost of their project, but accounting for the following factors will provide homeowners with a rough idea.
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. Their services will have the lowest costs of about $45 to $90 per hour. Journeypeople are certified to complete most common household plumbing repairs independently with an hourly rate of $70 to $120. Master plumbers charge approximately $90 to $200 an hour or more, but they’re qualified to handle complex plumbing tasks.
Plumbers perform a wide variety of services, from fixing small leaks, unclogging drains, replacing plumbing pipes, and putting in showers to installing and maintaining water, sewer, or gas lines. They can also install systems like water heaters and softeners or purification systems. These services can vary greatly in cost depending on the complexity. Fixing leaks and fixing clogs are among the cheapest services, usually running between $150 and $450. On the other hand, having a plumber install a bathtub can cost anywhere from $4,150 to $11,000. Types of plumbing services will be covered in more detail below.
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.
Some plumbing jobs don’t require extensive materials, but others do. For instance, if the project entails replacing an old faucet, the price will include the cost of the faucet and any other plumbing parts that need updating, in addition to the cost of standard supplies like caulk. Replumbing a portion of the house includes extensive materials and supplies that will increase the cost.
Homeowners can generally expect to pay between $45 and $200 per hour for a plumber, depending on the factors above. Some plumbers charge a flat fee of around $100 to $400 for basic jobs for clients who are within a specified radius. Those who live outside of this radius may be responsible for a callout fee of $50 to $300. Fees for more complex projects, like bathroom remodel costs, are likely to be charged by the hour. Extra costs will also be incurred for emergency service, especially on holidays.
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 may have boosted rates more than usual. Homeowners can enter their ZIP code into a plumbing cost calculator to determine the average rate for their location.
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. Homeowners will also want to take into consideration 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.
Small repair jobs don’t require a permit to complete the task. Still, if a plumbing job involves the sewer line, inaccessible pipes, newly installed plumbing, plumbing rerouting, or water heater installations, a plumber will be able to obtain the proper permit from local authorities. The cost of this will vary from location to location but can run anywhere from $30 to $500.
Service and Diagnostic Fees
Plumbing companies may charge extra fees to ensure costs are covered. Service call fees generally range between $100 and $350 to cover the cost of materials and travel time, and this typically covers the first hour of work as well. If there’s a leak that’s difficult to locate, there may be an additional diagnostic fee.
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 and the existence of hazardous components.
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 could be. If a home is within the plumber’s service area, a homeowner will pay only 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.
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. While it isn’t typically expected that clients tip a plumber, some homeowners may deem it appropriate if the professional has to come out after hours or on a holiday.
Water Damage Repair
Unfortunately, there are times when a significant leak causes damage to another part of the house. For severe pipe bursts, water damage becomes the highest cost of a plumbing repair. A homeowner will likely need to hire one of the best water damage restoration services to help repair the damage to other materials. Water damage restoration costs usually run between $1,000 and $5,000.
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; an electrician can cost $50 to $130 per hour, on average. Repairing damaged drywall costs an average of $500, though costs could fall above or below that average depending on the extent of the damage. If the water damage has affected the carpets, all or part of the carpet will need to be replaced. Carpet installation costs $785 to $2,805 if the carpet is unable to be saved. A sewer pipe leak means the lawn will need to be torn up during repairs; a new lawn costs between $400 and $4,520 to replace the sod or overseed patches damaged by heavy equipment.
Not everyone has 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. A plumber can do a home inspection to determine the state of a plumbing system from top to bottom so the homeowner can have any potential issues addressed before they become major (and expensive) problems.
General Plumber vs. 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, also sometimes called a family plumber, works on repairs or small installations and is the person to call for emergencies. A plumbing contractor is who to hire for a bathroom remodel, new construction project, or home addition.
Types of Plumbing Services
No two plumbing repairs are the same. Plumbers could encounter a challenge that wasn’t initially identified 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. The following are the most common types of plumbing services and their costs
|Type of Service
|Ceiling pipe repair
|$500 to $2,500
|$150 to $350
|Leaky or burst pipe repairs
|$150 to $4,000
|Main line leak repairs
|$350 to $1,550
|$50 to $12,000
|$60 to $80
|$150 to $1,200
|Septic tank repair
|$650 to $2,950
|$230 to $6,500
|Slab leak repair
|$500 to $4,000
|Sump pump installation or repair
|$325 to $2,050
|Water heater installation or repair
|$250 to $5,500
|Well pump repair
|$350 to $1,500
|$4,000 to $12,000
Ceiling Pipe Repair
Depending on the plumbing system and the leak’s location, it may be necessary for a homeowner 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. Homeowners can expect to pay around $500 to $2,500 for ceiling pipe repairs, plus any additional construction repairs.
Drains have a way of getting clogged over time, even if a homeowner tries to prevent the wrong items from going down them. Unclogging a sink or drain usually isn’t a difficult task, so the best handyperson services in the homeowner’s area could complete the job. Clearing clogs starts around $150, but serious clogs could cost up to $350 to repair, so prevention is key to saving money on this cost.
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, which may cost extra. Repairing the leak costs $150 to $450. Burst pipe repairs will cost more since damage to other materials in the house, from drywall to carpets, will need to be factored in. Homeowners can expect to pay $1,000 to $4,000 for cleanup and repairs.
Main Line Leak Repair
The main water line is the lifeblood of any plumbing system. When it has a problem, it’s common to hear rumbling in the pipes or see gushing water outside the house. Repairing a main line leak costs $350 to $1,550, but replacing it with a new installation could go as high as $2,600. 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.
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 anywhere from $50 for an outdoor spigot to $12,000 for an entire house. Sinks, toilets, and faucets run between $150 and $900 each, but a new water heater often costs $600 to $3,500.
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 and determine the types of repairs that are needed.
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 homeowners will want to check with plumbers in the local area for a quote. Just rerouting the plumbing line in order to move a wall costs $150 to $600 on average, but this doesn’t include any additional costs for drywall, framing, or concrete work. Moving bathroom fixtures can cost $450 to $1,200.
Septic Tank Repair
A broken septic tank can be a major emergency, as it can leak hazardous waste into the ground surrounding the home. Septic tank repairs can range anywhere from $650 to $2,950 in cost depending on the material and the part that needs service.
If there are already drain lines when a new sink is being installed, installation costs won’t be as high. Kitchen sinks tend to be an unexpectedly pricey part of kitchen remodel costs, since they are bigger and often include a garbage disposal. Bathroom sinks are usually a simpler, more straightforward installation. The average cost of sink installation is $230 to $6,500.
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. Slab leak repair can cost anywhere from around $500 to $4,000. 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.
Sump Pump Installation or Repair
Some areas need sump pumps to help remove excess water that could accumulate under a house. A sump pump costs between $650 and $2,050 to install, depending on the system’s complexity. Repairing a sump pump averages around $325 to $750.
Water Heater Installation or Repair
The cost to install a water heater varies based on the kind of system: A standard installation costs $850 to $1,650 (or more for high-efficiency units), solar costs $1,700 to $5,500, and tankless costs $1,220 to $3,500. If the water heater is replacing an old unit, the price could increase if the original plumbing was damaged in any way. Water heater repairs cost $250 to $975.
Well Pump Repair
Well pump repairs cost $350 to $1,500. Well pumps are complex units with many parts, but the most common problems are capacitor failure, pressure switch failure, leaking pipes, and electrical breaker problems. It’s a good idea for a homeowner to have a well pump inspected once a year to make sure everything is working properly.
Whole-house plumbing is another price that’s challenging to define, since every home has its own style and challenges. As an average baseline, homeowners can expect to pay around $4,000 to $12,000 for new plumbing in a home. The kind of pipe used (CPVC, copper, or PEX) will influence that price. The cost to replace plumbing in an old house may be on the higher end of this price range, as more features may need to be replaced.
Do I Need a Plumber?
Hearing the telltale sound of a leaking pipe is just one possible sign to hire a plumber—or it may mean that the faucet isn’t turned 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, and plumbing installations are all reasons to hire a local plumber to come out to the house.
Any fixture with a drain should be draining the water as fast as it’s filling. Finding standing in water in the shower means 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 out shampoo and conditioner due to low water pressure. If the shower head isn’t the problem, then the faucet’s aerator could be the culprit. Homeowners will want to have a plumber inspect the shower plumbing and determine whether it’s a simple fix or a bigger leak.
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, the homeowner will want to 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 will need to be repaired before it creates another air source where there shouldn’t be one.
Another serious plumbing issue arises when there is a total lack of water coming from a faucet that was 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 a cool shower is enjoyable on a hot summer day, most people 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.
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. Homeowners are advised to avoid wasting time trying to find the leak 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. A homeowner will want to hire a qualified professional to work with the unit and properly install the lines to prevent leaks.
Toilets are designed to refill the tank and stop refilling when it’s full. If the toilet is running for longer than those few moments, then it is simply running water straight down the drain—and costing extra money on the water bill. In most cases, the seal in the tank has broken down and needs replacing.
If there are water spots or damp areas in a basement, the homeowner will want to 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. Homeowners are advised to stay on top of water damage in the basement to avoid respiratory problems.
Benefits of Hiring a Plumber
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, they know just how to solve a plumbing problem and get the house running smoothly again. The following are the top reasons it’s a good idea for a homeowner to call a plumber when issues arise.
Training and License
In order to become qualified, a plumber 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 their state.
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 homeowners can rest assured that any major plumbing problem has a tool (and a plumber) ready to solve the problem.
Acting quickly is key to preventing more damage when it comes to plumbing disasters. Burst pipes, leaking pipes, and lack of water are all top reasons to call a plumber as quickly as possible. Homeowners can do an online search for “plumbers in my area” to get familiar with one or two companies to call in case of an emergency.
Professional plumbers work to solve problems with long-term solutions to make sure they have happy customers and reliable reputations. Plumbers are also often willing to share helpful tips with customers 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 will want to 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 to keep the problem from getting worse.
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 who can make repairs and who provides a warranty is a good investment. Another factor for homeowners to consider is that often a home warranty covers plumbing costs, but only if the repairs are carried out by a licensed professional.
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 it’s typically best for them to opt for a professional.
Plumbing Jobs: 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 it’s time for the homeowner to step back and let a pro take care of it.
Repairing a plumbing fixture with limited experience is tricky and can cause an even bigger leak. More so, trying to locate the leak will waste valuable time (and water) if the plumber hasn’t already been called. Excluding those who have a background in plumbing, it’s generally best for homeowners to leave the diagnosing and repairing of major plumbing issues to licensed plumbers who have trained for years to handle any problem that arises. The same principle applies to renovation projects. Homeowners wondering whether to DIY or hire a plumber for their bathroom remodel will want to consider the benefits of having a pro at their disposal. Plumbers who offer warranties on their work help save clients money in the long run on the off chance they need further repairs. Finally, qualified plumbers will also carry liability insurance to cover costs in case of accidents. Otherwise, additional damages or injuries that result from the plumbing project are the responsibility of the DIYer. If a homeowner isn’t sure how to hire a plumber, they can start by looking into some of the best plumbing services in their area.
How to Save Money on Plumbing Cost
When facing the question “How much does plumbing cost?” many homeowners quickly find out that costs can add up fast, especially when there’s a major problem. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save money, though. While there are average plumber costs, homeowners can use the following tips to save on money on plumbing projects.
- 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 so you can 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 would prefer to call if you need an emergency plumber.
- Check your home warranty. If you have a home warranty, it may cover some plumbing repair costs. If not, it may be worth looking into the best home warranties for plumbing (such as American Home Shield and Choice Home Warranty) to prepare for the future.
- Check your homeowners insurance policy. Homeowners insurance may cover plumbing costs if they are the result of accidental perils like burst pipes.
Questions to Ask About Plumbing Cost
Homeowners will want to ask lots of questions about plumbing costs or about the company that they are considering hiring. The plumber is being trusted with a major home system that is relied on every day, so it’s important for a homeowner to feel confident in this choice. Homeowners can use any of the following questions while talking 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?
- Do you charge a service fee or a trip fee, and 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 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 special plumbing jobs can your company handle (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?
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. What follows are answers to some commonly asked questions to make sure homeowners 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. A journeyperson charges about $70 to $120 per hour, but they are licensed to handle only 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, they are the only ones who can legally complete some tasks. Handyman costs tend to be slightly lower, so a homeowner may also choose to hire a handyman for minor plumbing repairs.
Q. How much does it cost for a plumber to unclog a drain?
The average cost to have a drain unclogged is between $100 and $400, or a flat-rate cost of $200.
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 to time and a half or triple their usual hourly rate.