You’ve heard the horror stories of finding a Toronto plumber in an emergency. Your neighbours clogged their only toilet in a household of five, and couldn’t find one in a hurry. Or the plumber’s invoice left them woefully doubting their career choices.
Emergency plumbing scenarios leave home dwellers feeling desperate and vulnerable to overpaying, especially if they don’t know anyone in the field and lack familiarity with the industry.
Hopefully the advice in this article will provide clarity for such situations.
How much should an emergency plumber cost?
Toronto’s hourly plumbing rates for 2023 indicate an average range between $200 and $300 an hour for services.
The total cost for fixing a problem will vary according to complexity of the job, whether the plumber required additional materials or equipment, and the number of hours spent fixing the issue.
For simpler jobs, it’s standard practice for plumbers to charge a lower rate for the first hour of work and a lesser rate for every hour thereafter.
Simpler jobs are typically referred to as service calls. They usually don’t take more than one to two hours to complete. Also, plumbers tend to already have all the necessary tools and equipment for service calls on hand.
Examples of common service calls include fixing a toilet that won’t flush properly, a toilet tank that refills slowly or not at all, hot and cold water running out of opposite taps, and showers or tubs that don’t drain properly.
For more complex jobs, a Toronto plumber will charge a higher hourly rate or premium and then a lesser rate for every additional hour. Some plumbers charge a flat fee.
Licensed plumbing companies that have serviced the GTA for at least a decade or more list clogged drainpipes and sewer lines, floods, burst or frozen pipes among the top common plumbing emergencies throughout Toronto.
Fortunately, any plumbing service should be able to give you a rough estimate over the phone before sending someone to your home, giving you the opportunity to shop around for a suitable price.
Professionals in this trade recommend getting at least three quotes before making your decision.
How to find a Toronto plumber
Below is a short list of top-rated plumbers in Toronto that offer emergency services around the clock.
If calling down a list of potential plumbers feels too counterproductive, you may find it more appealing to use digital service apps like Jiffy, Ovvy, and Bidmii.
These apps automatically connect you to plumbers and other contractors in your area. Like the transportation apps you may be more familiar with, these apps allow users to view ratings and reviews from previous clients.
Pricing through these apps tends to be very competitive. The platform acts like a middleman which eliminates ambiguity and secures payments for completed work.
How to avoid overpaying
To avoid getting ripped off, experts provide three key pieces of advice; ask as many questions as you need, stick around to watch the plumber perform the task so that you are not charged for work that was never done, make sure the plumber helps you understand the problem and what it’s going to take to fix it.
A professional Toronto plumber will typically outline the problem and solution before commencing any work.
If any new problems make themselves known in the process, the plumber should provide you with an update as it will likely mean more work and increased cost.
Once the job is complete, the service provider should go over the work done and test to ensure everything is in functioning order.
Common plumbing emergencies and how plumbers go about fixing them
Backed up sewage drain
Plumbers have a variety of ways to remedy clogged sewer lines. The solution comes down to the cause for the blockage.
In some cases, the solution may be as simple as physically breaking apart the clog with a metal coil. Plumbers tend to advise against using chemical agents as they can cause long-term damage to the pipes.
If dealing with a major clog inside older pipes, plumbers may use a Hydroscrub process to clear it. This applies water at a pressure anywhere between 4,000 to 20,000 psi (pounds per square inch) to force through the blockage and clear the sewage line.
This procedure is more costly due to the equipment required. Some quotes start at a minimum of $1,000.
Burst or frozen pipes
The first step to take in this situation is to turn off the water main from your house. In most Toronto homes, the main water shut-off is in the basement.
Waiting for the plumber to shut off the water can prolong the chances of water damage, so try to do it yourself. The only way to fix this is to replace the section of the pipe that burst. One source quotes a range of $455 to $2,227 for new pipes.
Faulty main water shut-off valve
Every home is equipped with a main water shut-off valve so that people can shut-off the water in their homes in the event of an emergency. The pipe is usually ¾ inch or one inch in diameter.
To close off the water, most older Toronto homes have a rubber washer in place to close off the vessel and stop water from coming through the pipe.
Over time, the rubber compressor will develop cracks, which prevent it from blocking off the water completely. Most modern plumbing systems use a brass ball valve as a shut-off and not the rubber washer to eliminate the risk of future leaks.
This is a quick fix; however, you will need to dial 3-1-1 to shut off your water from the city’s source.
Currently, Toronto’s water turn-on/turn-off fee is $98.81. This will be added to your next utility bill. The cost of replacing the shut-off valve varies from one situation to the next; however, the cost of simply replacing one can range from $227 to $325.