How to Select a Water Heater Expert and Best Questions to Ask

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Do you have a plumber or water heater technician you trust, and can you recommend him to anyone looking for a responsible and reliable HVAC professional? If not, and if there is a problem with your tank-type or tankless heater, you will probably need advice on finding a water heater expert for the installation, service, or troubleshooting.

What does it mean when we say an expert? Well, we mean licensed plumber or plumbing contractor – the qualified professional who has experience in the trade.

Let's talk about the circumstances first.

Water heater systems need to be designed, installed, and regularly maintained, with necessary part replacements. It is highly advisable to plan ahead and collect information about plumbing contractors on time. However, sometimes you need to react quickly to issues with the water heater, fixtures, water leaking, rotten egg odor, strange noise ...

Whether you have enough time or not, here are a few steps to follow.

Where to find a plumber

Ask real people whom you trust. Start with friends, relatives, and colleagues and ask them to recommend a reliable plumber. Ask a journeyman you know well, homeowner, enterprise owner, your real estate agent... for their referrals. You can also put a post on Facebook.

Search online directories and review sites. If you are in Canada and the US, check or the largest and most trusted sources for connecting with home professionals. Website owners confirm that every review goes through a rigorous verification and screening process. Or, even better, obtain a few quotes from experts and with no obligation – FREE.

When you got some names, check out plumbers' websites. You will find much useful information there, including contact data and service hours. See how long they have been in business, fields of specialization, licenses, warranties, number of employees...

If the water heater professional is a member of a relevant plumbing association, it is surely a plus. But keep in mind that most water heater manufacturers require a trained, licensed technician to install or service their models.

Read social media reviews and comments online as an additional source of information, but keep in mind that reviews from real people will always be more useful. Check also the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for reviews and ratings.

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Questions to ask

First, be ready to explain in detail the problem you have. If it is a water heater, provide information about the manufacturer, type, size, year of production - this information can be found on the unit's label.

Ask the plumber for his license number and the liability insurance he provides. Liability insurance protects customers if something gets wrong in the plumber's work. It is a sign of professionalism and very important if you need a bigger plumbing repair.

Talk about the price. It is difficult to give a price over the phone, but you may expect estimates for simple work and some additional details.

If you call an expert to arrange the extensive work on plumbing and water heating system, ask him for the not-binding visit. Plumbing professionals will often offer the initial consultation and quotation free of charge.

When you got the price, ask your prospective plumber about the components included. Is the total cost a flat rate or hourly rate plus the cost of materials? If he charges per hour when the charging starts?

Inquire what kind of written guarantee or warranty he provides. The manufacturer warranty on the tank-type heater is from 6 to 12 years, and for tankless - 12-15 years, depending on the brand.

Last, but not less important. Ask if cleanup is included in the price. Some plumbing companies do not clean up when they are finished, some add an extra charge for cleaning, and if the job is large, the mess may be frustrating.

Tips: Write a list of questions you want to ask and take notes. Call more than one plumber and compare their offers or fill out the form on a website such as or to get free estimates from local plumbers.

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