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Get Quotes from Top Plumbers in Madison, WI

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

In Madison, the average monthly residential water charge is $29.92, but residents are sometimes billed up to $100 per month, depending on their water usage. This spike in their utility bill is often caused by delays in fixing broken broken pipes and faucets or undetected plumbing issues like leakages. For example, the Madison Water Utility Department estimated that a dripping faucet wastes over 3,000 gallons of water a year, while a running toilet wastes over 200 gallons every day. Therefore, residents who do not have their plumbing leaks fixed on time and by competent plumbers are likely to incur unnecessary water and sewer charges. To avoid such a situation, residents are advised to retain the services of a qualified plumber to perform necessary maintenance and repairs.

You can find qualified and competent plumbers near you by getting recommendations from friends and neighbors. However, before signing a contract with the plumber, you should ask important questions to confirm if they are qualified and eligible to work in the city:

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

Madison plumbers are required to obtain their plumber license from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services to be eligible to work in the city. Per state law, anyone who offers plumbing services without first obtaining a plumber license from the Department may be liable to a maximum fine of $500 or imprisoned for 30 days for each day of unlicensed contracting. While homeowners in Madison may not be legally liable for hiring an unlicensed plumber, it is still crucial to confirm the licensing status of the individual you intend to hire. This reduces your exposure to plumbing scams and poor plumbing services. Residents of Madison can verify a plumber's licensing status by utilizing the Department's license lookup tool.

The plumbing license types issued by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services include master plumber license and journeyman plumber license. To qualify for a master plumber license, applicants are required to provide proof of plumbing experience as a journeyman plumber for at least three years with not less than 1,000 hours of experience each year. Alternatively, they may provide proof of completing a plumbing course from an engineering school or college approved by the Department. In addition to this, anyone applying for a master's plumber license is required to pass a state examination approved by the Department. Likewise, to qualify for a journeyman plumber license, applicants must have at least one year of work experience of not less than 1,000 hours. Applicants are additionally required to show proof of completing plumbing training and related instruction.

While it is important to hire a licensed plumber, you should also understand that in Wisconsin, certain plumbing jobs can only be done by a master plumber. As such, you should always find out whether there are specific rules that apply to the type of plumbing project you intend to carry out. You can do this by contacting the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Plumbing Consultant at (608) 267-9421. Likewise, interested persons can also direct all inquiries concerning the requirements for obtaining a plumbing license to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services by calling (608) 266- 2122.

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

Before hiring a plumber near you, you should first have a clear idea of what you want and expect in a project. You can get multiple estimates from different plumbers to ensure that you are not paying too much for the project. Note that some contractors charge for estimates.

A plumber in the City of Madison earns an annual average wage of $67,190. Listed below is a breakdown of the Average hourly wages for plumbers in the City of Madison compared with plumbers in other parts of Wisconsin and other major cities in the country:

Madison Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
Wisconsin Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
Chicago Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
Washington D.C. Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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

The City of Madison regulates plumbing activities across the city through the adoption of the Wisconsin Building Code. The Code specifies minimum standard requirements for plumbing works in the city, as well as who is eligible to perform such work. Before hiring a plumber in the City of Madison, you should always ensure that the individual is familiar with the Wisconsin Building Code. This can give you the much-needed protection against fines and statutory penalties that may arise from code violations. Code violations attract a fine of not more than $500 for each violation. The Madison Building Inspection Division is the agency responsible for enforcing the Wisconsin Building Code in Madison, and all queries concerning the Code can be directed to this Division by calling (608) 266-4551.

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

In Madison, you need a permit to install or perform an alteration, addition, or repair on any residential or commercial plumbing system. The city's Building Inspection Division is responsible for issuing permits for all kinds of home improvement or construction work, including plumbing works. Generally, residents are responsible for ensuring that the required permits for their plumbing works are obtained beforehand. To obtain a plumbing permit, homeowners must first find out the zoning information of their land or property. You can do this by utilizing the city's property look-up tool. Once you have confirmed the zoning for your property, you can now proceed to submit your project plans. While a homeowner can draw and submit a plan for their plumbing project, it is always best if their plumbing contractor draws the plan as they are more experienced and competent to do so. You can submit your plumbing plans in person at:

Building Inspection Division
Madison Municipal Building
215 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard
Suite 017
Madison, WI 53703

Note that you may be required to pay for plan review and other fees that may apply to your project. Once your plans have been approved and the necessary permit fees have been paid, the Madison Building Inspection Division will issue the applicable permits for your project. However, not all projects require submission and review of plumbing plans. You can confirm if your project requires submission and review of plumbing plans by contacting the city's Building Inspection Division's Plumbing Plan Review Counter at (608) 266-4346. To obtain permits for these types of projects, you need to download, complete, and mail a plumbing permit application form to:

Building Inspection Division
Madison Municipal Building
215 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard
P.O. Box 2984
Madison, WI 53701-2984

Once a permit has been issued, you can commence work on your project. Note that you need to schedule an inspection immediately after the work permitted is carried out. The city's Building Inspection Division carries out inspections of permitted plumbing works in the city. These include but are not limited to rough-in inspections, framing inspections, and underground piping inspections. You can schedule an inspection with the Division and ask questions concerning plumbing inspections by calling (608) 266-4551. Note that a project can only be considered complete after the final inspection is carried out.

What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?

Madison plumbers offer a variety of residential and commercial plumbing services such as sewer line cleaning, toilet installation, water heater repair, fixing of faucets and burst pipes, and sump pump installation. While there are different plumbing service areas, residents of Madison must ensure that the individual they intend to hire is experienced enough to provide the services they need. You can confirm if the plumber is experienced by asking about their years of practice and whether they have proof to back up their claim. In most cases, experienced plumbers should be able to provide a list of references that you can contact to verify their claim.

Listed below are some of the cost estimates for plumbing services in the City of Madison:

Septic system installation
$6,700 - $8,000
Clearing clogged drain
$113 - $145
Bathtub installation
$1,700 - $2,300
Toilet installation
$140 - $160
Sump pump installation
$780 - $1,300
Septic tank cleaning
$249 - $300
Water softener installation
$944 - $1,200
Well pump installation
$690 - $880
Sewer line cleaning
$158 - $242
Sewer line installation and repair
$55 - $75
Drain line video inspection
$236 - $280
Water main installation or repair
$29 - $60

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

Madison plumbers offer different kinds of emergency services. These include but are not limited to fixing gas leaks, sewer leaks and overflow, burst water lines and pipes, and dripping faucets. Once you notice a plumbing emergency, do not sit by and watch it worsen, as this can lead to excessive water and sewer charges and property damage. For example, it was estimated that a dripping showerhead faucet wastes over 500 gallons of water a year, which is equivalent to the amount of water needed to clean 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher. Showerhead leaks and other plumbing leaks typically result in high water and sewer charges. Therefore, if you have a plumbing emergency, it is crucial to contact a competent and experienced plumber near you. You can ensure that the problem does not worsen by shutting off the area and implementing other temporary fixes. In addition to this, you should also ensure that the individual you intend to hire is competent enough to provide the service you need. You can find good plumbers near you by exploring third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp. These websites allow customers to post unbiased reviews on plumbers they have hired, and these reviews help assess a plumber's expertise and professionalism. Regardless of the third-party website you use in finding your plumber, it is necessary to confirm the individual's license status before finalizing any agreements. You can confirm a plumber's license status by utilizing the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services license lookup tool.

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

Anyone intending to work as a contractor in the City of Madison is required to maintain general liability insurance and also workers compensation insurance if they intend to employ subcontractors. Having obtained the necessary insurance coverage from a legitimate insurance company in Wisconsin, plumbers are additionally required to furnish the City of Madison with a certificate of insurance showing the type, amount, and expiration dates of the insurance policies they have obtained. To provide the city with proof of insurance coverage, plumbers are required to download, complete, and submit a certificate of insurance form at:

City of Madison Risk Management
210 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard
Room 405
Madison, WI 53703-3345

Residents of Madison should always ensure that their plumber is adequately insured. Hiring a plumber with the necessary insurance coverage protects you from claims that may result from accidents during your plumbing work. According to a report published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry accounted for 18% of workplace fatalities across the State of Wisconsin in 2019. Considering the rate of such fatalities, it is always a good idea to hire a plumber that is insured. You can confirm if your plumber is insured by asking for their insurance certificate and contacting the insurance company that issued the certificate to verify the information. You can also verify whether your plumber is insured by contacting the City of Madison Risk Management at (608) 266-5965.

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

According to the National Association of Home Builders, a single home improvement project in Wisconsin costs about $6,495. Taking the amount of money property owners spend on home improvement projects and the amount of money a contractor can make on these projects into consideration, it is common to find unscrupulous individuals posing as legitimate contractors in the City of Madison to scam city residents. For instance, in February 2021, Dane County charged a contractor with multiple counts of theft, fraud, and misrepresentation for fraudulent actions and activities across the county, including in the City of Madison. The charges include six counts of misrepresentation to buyers, three home improvement contract violations, and one count of fraudulent writings. Other cases of this nature are numerous across Madison.

However, by getting the right information on home improvement scams, you can protect yourself from home improvement scams, including plumbing scams. Plumbing scammers employ various methods to defraud their victims. These methods include inflating the repair costs after an agreement has been reached, using inferior materials after charging for quality materials, requesting cash payment upfront, and not showing up to do the job. Nonetheless, residents of Madison can avoid falling victim to plumbing scams by taking the following steps:

  • Be wary of door to door solicitors
  • Do not give in to high-pressure tactics
  • Be clear on what the plumbing work entails in advance
  • Use third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp to find professional plumbers near you
  • Get estimates from at least three plumbers and make sure that each plumber justifies their bid by clarifying the amount of work to be done and the cost of materials to be used
  • Verify your plumber's licensing status using the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services' license lookup tool
  • Ask the plumber to provide references from past clients and call to see if they are satisfied with the plumber's work
  • Get a written contract and sign in the presence of your contractor. Seek help from an attorney if you have other questions concerning the contract

Finally, residents of Madison can report plumbing scams to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection online, by calling (800) 422-7128, or by completing and mailing a home improvement complaint form to:

Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
Bureau of Consumer Protection
P.O. Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911

Note that the Department can only resolve this type of complaint by mediating between the complainant and the contractor. If the mediation turns out unsatisfactory, you should take the matter to the appropriate court. However, before you take civil action against a person or business, it is essential to seek advice from an attorney. You can file a small claims case against a fraudulent plumber at the Dane County Courthouse, but note that you can not claim more than $10,000 in small claims cases.