When NOT to call a Plumber


Have you ever called a plumber only to find that they are unable to fix a problem for you and you have been caught out paying a call out fee?


Some plumbers charge a call out fee if this occurs because you have called them out to look at a problem and get their expertise or advice. Some plumbers choose not to charge and are generally rewarded with business from the same customer later on.


But when should you NOT call a plumber? Here are some examples of when to call a plumber and when you may require an electrician OR you may need to get a new appliance altogether.


  1. Dishwashers. If your dishwasher is over 3 years old and stops working – so water doesn’t drain away, or it constantly gets stuck in a cycle and stops, don’t call a plumber. It will be the appliance itself where the main electronic board of the appliance needs to be replaced. Plumbers only install water to the dishwasher and attach the waste to the sink trap. Plumbers can’t make the appliance work or fiddle with the electrics of the appliance. It will void the warranty and plumbers don’t have the knowledge or skills to fix this issue. Your options – if you are in this situation is to organize an appliance serviceman to fix the appliance OR buy a new appliance. In some instances, it is cheaper to buy a new appliance. The same principle can be applied to washing machines and grey water pumps.
  2. Septic Tanks are a specialized field in plumbing and plumbers are required to have a specific license to service and install septic tanks. So if you live on property where you have a septic tank installed and you have issues, ensure your plumber has the correct license. You must call a plumber with a Septic Tank Endorsed Plumbing License. Same applies for Solar Hot water units. To check if a plumber has the specific license, ask them on the phone.
  3. Hot water units. Generally, a hot water unit will last up to 10 years. A plumber will be able to advise if it needs to be replaced OR if a valve is faulty only and replace the valve. If your hot water unit is under 5 years old and you have water coming through your hot water tap, but it isn’t cold, it may be that the element needs to be replaced and in this instance, an electrician is required.
  4. If your home has been recently built or renovated and an issue occurs with the toilet or there’s a leak on a fixture, within the first 12 months after the renovation, ring the original builder you engaged for the building works so they can ring their plumber as the work will covered under warranty.

The above circumstances are the most common times where I have found customers have been caught out ringing a plumber to fix jobs they are unable to fix. If in doubt, and you want to avoid a call out fee, talk to your plumber on the phone about the issue and what their charging policy is if they are unable to fix the problem. Please remember though that if you do call a plumber and they are UNABLE to fix the problem, even though you explained it on the phone, they are in their right to charge a fee for their time. When you want advice from a doctor or lawyer, you pay a fee and the same applies to plumbers. When you require advice about their field of knowledge, expect to pay a fee.