Emergency Plumber FAQ
How much does an emergency plumber cost UK?
Most plumbers have a call-out charge for emergencies. For emergencies at weekends, holidays, late evenings or in the night you may expect 2 times the standard rate. Emergency plumber call-out charges range from £40 to £80 across the UK. The rates depend on the part of the country you live in and the income levels in the area.
The average call-out charge is £65 which usually covers the first hour and £60 per hour thereafter. Call out charges will generally cover the first hour of labour. For plumbing emergencies, call out charges are higher than the standard hourly rate and in some instances could be up to 2 times the standard hourly charge.
No matter how long the work takes, most emergency plumbers will charge a minimum of an hour’s work. If the work will take longer then there will be additional hourly charges or a day rate will be charged. The average day rate charge for emergency plumbing services is £400.
What counts as emergency plumbing?
If any part of your plumbing or heating system is broken leaving you unable to clean, wash or use the bathroom then you have a plumbing emergency. You should not delay as this could lead to long term damage to your walls, floors and your property.
For instance, if you have a leak and you cannot isolate the problem and have running water at the same time then you need an emergency plumber urgently. Anything that keeps you without running water or heating is considered an emergency as you cannot function properly.
Common plumbing emergencies include
Is a leaking pipe an emergency?
The short term and long term impacts of an unattended leaking pipe are not great. In the short term, you may not have access to running water if you isolate the leak. In the long term, it can lead to damage to your property.
If you find a water leak, you should not ignore it. Instead, isolate the leak from the stopcock (the valve the looks like a tap with no outlet that sits in the middle of a pipe) and contact a plumber as soon as possible to deal with the situation.
For burst pipes and leaks, you must turn off the water from the mains until the problem is dealt with by a plumber.
If a leak can be contained in a bucket for a long period until a plumber is available then it may not be considered an emergency. E.g. small leaks under the kitchen sink or washing hand basin in the bathroom.
Do plumbers charge more on Sundays?
Generally, charges for plumbing services during non-business hours are higher. Weekends, holidays, evenings and late nights attract charges at least twice the standard hourly charge. Most plumbing services companies tend to run a reduced service at off-peak periods due to less demand. This means you have a smaller pool to choose from thereby driving up prices as well.
In the UK, Sunday is generally considered a rest day and a time to spend with friends and family. Getting a plumber for an emergency job can be challenging. This has an impact on how plumbers charge.
Will plumber’s putty fix a leak?
You have to understand how to use plumber’s putty as it isn’t always the right choice for all situations. Plumber’s putty is often used to put together sinks and seal them to prevent water leaks. It should not be used where you need adhesive strength or areas exposed areas needing a watertight seal.
Plumber’s putty is a soft clay-like substance used to create seals around sink drains, faucets and other fittings.
How much should I pay a plumber per hour?
What you pay a plumber per hour depends on many factors. The location, the number of plumbers in the area and how affluent the area may be. From experience, small independent plumbing contractors tend to have affordable rates compared to the regional or national plumbing services companies. The national or regional plumbing companies have other overheads which drive higher hourly plumbing rates.
How much you pay depends on the type of service the plumber is providing. Emergency plumbing services have a higher cost per hour compared to your standard plumbing services.
For instance in London, the standard cost per hour for a plumber ranges from £50 to £180. However, based on research, the UK average is £60 per hour or £350 per day.
Why do plumbers charge a call-out fee?
Call out fees or charges cover the cost of the plumber coming out to you for repairs or an emergency. The charge covers the initial diagnosis of the problem e.g. a faulty or leaking boiler. It is a set fee. It is acceptable for plumbers to charge call-out fees, especially for emergencies.
If you need the services of a plumber ask them if they have a call-out charge and how much the charge is before they set off to your home. That way expectations are managed and there are no disappointments or misunderstandings.
For some companies, the call out fee covers the first hour of service. If they can fix the problem within the first hour the no other payment is required except for materials. If they can’t fix the problem in the first hour then you are charged hourly.
An example is an £80 call out charge covering the first hour of service and £60 per hour thereafter.