What's The Difference Between A Plumber And A Plumbing Contractor

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Michael Foster
May 23, 2024
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Call a plumber for the smaller repairs and a contractor for the rebuilds.
Question: If you have a leaking faucet, should you call a plumber or a plumbing contractor?
Answer: Plumbers are the best pick.
Question: If it’s time to remodel your bathroom, should you call a plumber or a plumbing contractor?
Answer: Call the plumbing contractor.
It’s easy to get confused by the different titles, which aren’t very different at all. It can also be frustrating – especially if you’re trying to fix a problem that could potentially damage your home.
This post helps homeowners decide if they need a plumber or a contractor. It points out that plumbers spot fix problems, while contractors take on the big jobs. It will also give you some tips as to what to look for in both types of professionals.

Plumbers are the fixers

A licensed plumber receives considerable training in how to fix problems with the plumbing infrastructure of your home. They may have gone to school to learn their trade, or they may have apprenticed under an “old timer.” Either way, they have considerable skill in:
  • Stopping leaks
  • Unclogging drains
  • Replacing and repairing faucets
  • Replacing and repairing toilets
  • Replacing and repairing sinks
  • Unclogging shower heads
  • Adding a new stopper to your bathtub
  • Replacing water heaters
  • Replacing sump pumps
  • Fixing broken food disposals
All of these repairs require considerable skill, muscle, and the right tools. Plumbers know how to deal safely with all of the gross things that go in and out of our homes. Let’s face it - most of us do not have the patience, time, skill, and ability to deal with human waste and broken plumbing. Think about that the next time you see how expensive plumbers are.
But plumbers are different from plumbing contractors. Their training and skill set is different, as is their price.

Plumbing contractors are the builders

Plumbing contractors have all the skills of plumbers, plus building knowledge. Their tasks are typically more complex; they may design and assemble the series of pipes and equipment that make up a waste removal system for your home. They often work on big remodeling projects, along with new home builds. You would call a plumbing contractor if you’d like to switch your home from a traditional water heater to a more energy-efficient tankless system. Also, they can install gas control values, water conditioning systems, and backflow prevention units.
Plumbing contractors design and build new plumbing infrastructures. The keyword here is, “contractor.” That tells you the plumber is also skilled in building systems for the home. That’s why you’ll find them working side-by-side with building and remodeling companies. Their expertise lies in the design of efficient, properly functioning systems that control your home’s waste products.

Call Home Alliance for both

Home Alliance was created to bring qualified home repair and improvement specialists to savvy homeowners looking for top professionals. We can connect you with a plumber that you'll feel comfortable calling during a crisis. This will take the stress out of trying to find help when you have the added pressure of flooding or a backed-up toilet.
Home Alliance also specializes in a vetted pool of plumbing contractors who can help when you’re ready to remodel. Finding these professionals is sometimes harder than finding a plumber, so you can rest assured that we’ve got your back. Just call us for a free estimate, whether it’s a room addition or a drippy faucet.