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How much does plumbing cost in the UK?

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Price guide

£55 - £455







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If it’s not your worst nightmare, it could well be one of the worst. Picture this: it’s late on a rainy Saturday. You’ve opened a bottle of wine. You’re about to fall asleep on the couch in front of the television. And then you hear the gushing from the bathroom. A pipe has cracked! A drain has burst! Something is going wrong with the plumbing and you just don’t know what to do about it.

It’s in these types of dire situations that it can be comforting to know that there should always be someone to call. Your emergency plumber might not look like a superhero. But does anybody do more important work? 

This price guide provides you with a glimpse of plumber rates for different types of services, so you can get the best quote. 

When should I hire a plumber?

Consider hiring a plumber whenever you confront a water-based problem in your home or office and you’re not sure what to do about it. You might also consider hiring a plumber even when you think the job is minor. Sometimes it’s best to have a pro do the work for peace of mind. 

Some of the common situations in which people hire a plumber are:

  1. When taps won’t stop dripping

  2. When water pressure is low through the house

  3. When the sewage seems to be clogged

  4. When water heaters are broken or not working well 

What sort of tasks does a plumber perform?

Skilled and licensed plumbers are capable of performing a wide array of tasks. A plumber's day rate may depend on the complexity of the work to be done. Some of the tasks they are often called upon to perform are:

  • Fixing burst water mains

  • Unclogging pipes or drains

  • Relining pipes

  • Repairing toilets

  • Replacing toilets

  • Replacing sinks in the kitchen, laundry or bathroom 

  • Repairing or replacing leaking taps

  • Fixing or replacing water heaters

  • Installing pipes and water systems in new builds or properties undergoing renovation

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Questions to ask your plumber

In an emergency, the first question you might think to ask your plumber might be pretty predictable: when can you fix it?

But there are other queries you might consider putting to your plumber, either before or after you’ve engaged them. A few of the common questions clients put to plumber are: 

  • Have you done a job like this before?

  • What is your level of insurance coverage? 

  • Are you OK to clean up when you are done?

  • What are your training qualifications?

  • Does your quote cover all the costs associated with the job?

  • Will you perform the task by yourself or with others?

  • Can you show me examples of other tasks you have completed?

How do plumbers usually charge?

Now, you're probably wondering how much hiring a plumber costs. It is hard to say what is most common in terms of a plumber's call-out charges. Some plumbers charge their services based on the duration it took to complete the job, while others charge by a fixed rate per task. 

How much do plumbers charge per hour? The answer depends. Plumbers will bill you in hourly or half-hourly increments. For example, if they charge at about £40 per hour and work for four hours, you’ll have to pay around £240. 

On the other hand, if a plumber charges by the task, they will bill you a fixed price regardless of how long the task takes. If you have accepted a quote of £100 and the task only takes half an hour, you’ll still end up paying £100. 

On balance, it is probably more common for plumbers to charge by the task. The good element of this sort of pricing for the customer is that you know how much you’ll be paying. The less positive element for the customer is that you might feel like you’re paying too much if the job takes little time. 

When are emergency plumbers available?

Emergency plumbers should be available 24/7. Regardless of the time of day, if you’re in a big city you should be able to locate someone willing to take on the job. Availability might be a bit more difficult, however, if you’re in a smaller town or regional area. You might still be able to locate an emergency plumber in the regions, but you could be liable for the cost of having them travel from a larger centre.

Are emergency call out plumber costs different to regular plumbing rates?

There will usually be a premium for calling out a plumber after hours. There might also be a premium for getting them to come immediately, rather than at their convenience. This is usually added to a plumber's hourly rate in the UK. 

One reasonably common method of emergency plumbing pricing is for plumbers to add a “service fee” or “call-out” fee on top of their regular rates for coming out on a weekend or after-hours. The average emergency plumber call-out charge is around £75 to £100, but this can still go higher depending on the task.

It is a good idea to discuss with your emergency plumber what their service fee might be before engaging them to undertake your job. 

Qualifications held by plumbers

Plumbers need to possess a range of qualifications. Typically, plumbers have a Level 2 and 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating, as well as a couple of years of apprenticeship. Licensing and registration usually involve a combination of government and industry accreditation. 

If you’re concerned about the qualifications held by your plumber or by a prospective plumber, it might be a good idea to screen out candidates before hiring.

Average emergency plumbing rates

The cost of your emergency plumbing task will depend on the specific work that you need to complete. Having said that, use the plumber's price list below to see the average costs for specific services: 

Plumbing Service

Price Guide

Plumbing Service

Price Guide

Drain cleaning

£85 - £100

Toilet unblocking

£55 - £160

Drainage systems

£150 - £250

Shower head installation

£60 - £350

Gas plumbing

£64 - £600

Leaking shower repair

£70 - £150

Hot water system installation

£360 - £455

PVC pipe repair

£97 - £170

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FAQs about emergency plumbing prices

As a rough guide, plumbers tend to charge around £27 to £40 per hour. But that can vary a bit depending on a range of factors, including: the experience of the plumber, your location, the time at which you have called them out, the type of job you need them to do, and their general busyness.

In most cases, yes. If you call a plumber out at short notice or at odd hours, expect to pay extra. One method of working out how much extra is for the plumber to add a service or call-out fee to their regular rates. It’s not uncommon for emergency plumbing fees to be more than double the regular cost of plumbing services.

If you’re looking to do major work to your home, make sure to budget a few thousand and perhaps more for the plumbing work. The cost of plumbing an entire bathroom, for example, could easily start at £1500. And depending on your kitchen set-up, you could be up for a similar amount in that room.

All jobs differ. But as a rough rule of thumb, you might expect to pay about £100 for installing a new tap or faucet in a sink. You might pay around £90 for simple repairs to broken piping. However that figure could easily climb if the pipe damage is extensive or if the water has caused damage elsewhere in the property. And expect to pay between £80 and £100 or so for fixing a clogged drain.

You should definitely remember to ask them to! Most plumbers include cleaning in their services. But not all do. And even relatively simple plumbing jobs like unclogging drains can leave large amounts of unpleasant material around if it’s not cleaned up. So it’s a good idea to confirm with your plumber their policy on cleaning.

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