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Get Quotes from Top Plumbers in Pittsburgh, PA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plumber in the City of Pittsburgh

Leaks caused by dripping toilets, faucets, and other plumbing equipment in a typical household in Pittsburgh can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water annually. Hiring a professional plumber to repair these leaks may save you some 10% of your water bills. When you need to hire plumbers to fix these leakages, ask the following questions to be sure you are hiring the right hand for the job:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Pittsburgh?

Per section 106 (AC-106.5.8) of the Allegheny County Plumbing Code Article XV, no one other than the licensed master plumber, journeyman plumber, and apprentice plumber can offer plumbing services in the City of Pittsburgh. It is important to note that you can only hire plumbers who have been duly licensed in the City of Pittsburgh. Otherwise, by section 106 (AC-108.4.1), you will be violating the Plumbing Code, which makes you liable to pay a fine of not less than $10 and not more than $300 or a jail term of 10 to 30 days.

The Allegheny County Department of Health issues plumbing licenses to plumbers who wish to operate in the City of Pittsburgh. All apprentice plumber prospects must register with the Allegheny County Department of Health within 30 days of starting their apprenticeship training. The requirements for journeyman plumber applicants include a minimum of four years experience or 8000 work hours. Also, they must have completed 756 hours of plumbing training at an accredited school within six years of starting apprenticeship training. Lastly, they must pass the requisite examination. In contrast, master plumber licenses are issued to journeyman plumbers with two years of experience and who have successfully passed the requisite examination as determined by the Department of Health.

To verify the licensing status of your intended plumber in Pittsburgh, you can use the Search Registered Master Plumbers tool provided and maintained by the Allegheny County Department of Health.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Pittsburgh?

When hiring plumbers in the city, it is advisable to get multiple estimates from various plumbers to enable you to compare prices before picking the most suitable estimate for your budget. The cost of service for plumbers varies, depending on factors like level of expertise and location of your neighborhood.

A plumber in the City of Pittsburgh earns an annual average wage of $65,320. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Pittsburgh compared with plumbers in other parts of Pennsylvania and other major cities in the country:

Pittsburgh Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$31.40
Pennsylvania Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$29.65
New York City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$35.78
Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$26.71
Detroit Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$33.24
Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$22.66
Boston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$40.46
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the City of Pittsburgh Building Code for Plumbing?

Hiring duly licensed plumbers in Pittsburgh who are very knowledgeable about the Plumbing Code of Allegheny County Department of Health guarantees that you do not violate the set regulations in the code. The plumbing code applies to the erection, installation, repairs, replacement, and maintenance of plumbing systems in Pittsburgh. This code is a set of regulatory standards that protects residents of Pittsburgh from the hazards of inadequate and unsanitary plumbing. Even though the plumbers you hire may be well-versed with the plumbing code provisions, it is advisable to stay updated about the city's requirements on plumbing services for your various projects. You can contact the Allegheny County Department of Health at (412) 578-8036 for more information regarding the city's plumbing system.

Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Pittsburgh Code?

To commence work on any plumbing project in the City of Pittsburgh, professionals must apply for the requisite plumbing permits. Failure to apply for plumbing permits before commencing work on your projects may attract fines and penalties. However, section 106 (AC-106.2) of the plumbing code provides that certain types of plumbing work can be done without plumbing permits. They include:

  • Repairs or replacement of faucets or valves and the clearance of stoppage.
  • Installation of equipment that is not plumbing but may require water and waste connections such as heating, cooling, refrigeration, fire sprinkler systems, and industrial piping.
  • Installation of public facilities like drainage systems within public or private premises that convey sewage or other wastes to a legal disposal point. However, these must not include the mains of public water.

The project owner or the hired master plumber must submit a Pittsburgh plumbing permit plan to the Allegheny Health Department before starting plumbing work in their projects. The plan will feature the applicant's name, except where the permit is for an existing single dwelling home or worksite. The submitted plumbing permit plan will also indicate the fixtures to be installed or altered and information about the water service and building sewers. The application must also feature a drawing showing the location of the projects, connections, and types of materials to be used when work starts. Once the Allegheny County Department of Health approves the plan and the permit is issued, the necessary plumbing work can commence. The Alleghany County Department of Health will usually inspect your projects to see the work progress on the plumbing systems. A final inspection is conducted by the Department to complete the plumbing permits process and the date scheduled for this inspection will be communicated to you by the Department. You are required to pay the applicable fees when completing an application for a plumbing permit plan. You can submit your plumbing permit plan on the online platform maintained by the Alleghany County Department of Health. Alternatively, you can submit your plumbing permits plan in person at:

Pittsburgh Office
2121 Noblestown Road,
Room 207,
Pittsburgh, PA 15205.
Clack Office
3901 Penn Avenue,
Building 5, (Lawrenceville),
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

You can direct your queries regarding the requirements relevant to the City of Pittsburgh plumbing permits applications to the Plumbing Office at Allegheny County Department of Health at (412) 578-8036.

What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?

Plumbers operating in the City of Pittsburgh offer different services ranging from alteration and modification to repairs or replacement of faulty faucets or valves in new and existing buildings. However, it is important to note that the level of expertise among these plumbers differs. Therefore, when hiring any plumber for your projects, you must ensure that the plumber has the required skill to handle the plumbing projects specification. For instance, a journeyman plumber cannot carry out the plumbing work of a master's plumber, like installing the entire plumbing system in a building.

Some of the common cost estimates for plumbing services in the City of Pittsburgh include:

Remodel or Home Addition
$3,751 - $4,849
Gas Line installation
$26 - $37 per linear foot
Fuel tank installation
$1,975 - $2,448
Sewer line installation/repair
$52 - $66 per linear foot
Sump pump installation
$732 - $1,052
Swamp cooler installation
$2,003 - $2,145
Toilet installation/replacement
$131 - $141
Water main installation/repair
$27 - $45 per linear foot
Bathtub installation
$1,646 - $2,013
Clearing clogged or blocked drains
$107 - $131
Water softener installation
$887 - $1,190
Well pump installation
$654 - $776
Water softener installation
$887 - $1,190
Well pump installation
$654 - $776
Drain line video inspection
$222 - $254
Home remodel plumbing
$3,000 - $6,000
Septic system installation
$6,323 - $7,513
Septic tank cleaning/pumping
$234 - $275
Sewer line cleaning
$149 - $227

Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Pittsburgh?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, household leaks are estimated to cause water loss of over one trillion gallons of water annually. Plumbing issues like a faulty faucet or leaking toilet should be attended to as soon as possible. Also, when you consider how much residents of Pittsburgh spend on water on average, which is about $76 per month for 3,000 gallons of water for water and wastewater conveyance, you will want to plug that leak on time. Ignoring water leaks may lead to serious financial losses and further damage to the plumbing equipment like corroding pipes.

Sometimes hiring just about any plumber to fix the plumbing issues in your kitchen or toilet may seem like a good idea. However, it is advisable to do your due diligence before hiring a plumber to ensure that you do not end up with an unsatisfactory plumbing work. Usually, the best fit for any plumbing issue in Pittsburgh are plumbers who have been duly licensed by the Allegheny County Department of Health.

You can use the Search Registered Master Plumbers portal provided and maintained by the Allegheny County Department of Health to find licensed plumbers in Pittsburgh. You can also use third-party websites like Better Business Bureau to find qualified Pittsburgh plumbers near you.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Pittsburgh?

The Plumbing Code does not have any provision that mandates licensed plumbers in Pittsburgh to possess a liability insurance policy while practicing in the city. However, it is advisable for you to hire master plumbers with an insurance policy that will provide general liability coverage for any injury that happens on the job. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics published in 2018, falls, slips, and trips accounted for 26% of all workplace fatalities in the Pittsburgh area. Note that it is mandatory under Pennsylvania law for master plumbers in Pittsburgh to purchase workers' compensation coverage for their employees. Failure to do this can lead to possible civil and criminal actions against the erring plumbers.

Hiring an insured plumber gives you peace of mind and relieves the financial burden of paying out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a loss or injury during your project. While hiring a plumber, you should always confirm that they have an active insurance policy.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Pittsburgh

The Allegheny Home Improvement Loan Program (AHILP) awards emergency/priority improvement loans worth $10,000 and general improvement loans worth $23,000 to residents of Pittsburgh for home improvement and repairs. With access to this type of loan program in Pittsburgh, it is no surprise that deceptive plumbers try to take advantage of Pittsburgh residents through different fraudulent home improvement-related schemes. For instance, the State of Pennsylvania's Attorney General filed a lawsuit at the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas against Gillece Services for defrauding consumers into paying for costly and unnecessary home improvement work through a widespread bait-and-switch scheme.

To minimize your chances of falling victims to these fraudulent and deceptive plumbers, you can take the following steps:

  • Avoid being pressured into acting fast over an offer given by plumbers in the city
  • Verifying that your intended plumber in Pittsburgh has been duly licensed by the Alleghany County Department of Health.
  • Finding out if your intended plumber's license has been suspended or revoked by contacting the Alleghany County Health Department at (412) 578-8036.
  • Creating a payment plan for each stage of your plumbing projects.
  • Having a duly signed service contract that makes the engagement of the plumbers legally binding. Note that your contract should specify the materials to be used for the project, inclusive of their costs.
  • Understanding the contents of contracts or any other documents before signing them.
  • Using third-party websites like Google Review, Better Business Bureau, and Yelp to lookup reviews about the plumber. Doing this gives you better insight into the plumber's skills and expertise.

Residents of Pittsburgh who have fallen victim to unscrupulous tactics of plumbers in the city can complete an online complaint form to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General through its Consumer Protection Bureau. This office reviews and investigates complaints and then takes all necessary actions against the plumber. It is important to note that the Attorney General's Office can not guarantee restitution when you file a complaint with it. However, you have the right to file a legal action against the erring plumbers in a court of law. For instance, you can file a Pittsburgh civil action to recover an amount not exceeding $12,000 at the County of Alleghany Magisterial District Court. Before you file an action in court, it is advisable to retain the services of a lawyer who can advise you properly on how to proceed with your lawsuit. You can use the lawyer referral services of the Alleghany County Bar Association to get Pittsburgh lawyers suitable to handle your cause of action. For low-income earners in Pittsburgh, you can consult the Pro Bono Center of the Alleghany County Bar Association for free lawyer consultations.