With harsh winters that freeze pipes and homes older than 100 years, Buffalo residents often require plumbing repair. You need a company that provides prompt, reliable service at reasonable rates. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best plumbers in Buffalo to fix plumbing emergencies quickly.
While burst pipes caused by freezing weather and leaking pipes in aging plumbing systems are the most common causes for repairs in Buffalo, other necessary services include:
Pipe repair or replacement: If you own an older home, you may need to replace old, clay sewer pipes that carry waste away from your home. Besides possibly leaking, clay pipes are more likely to suffer problems from trees with deep roots that can break through pipes.
Septic systems: Homes in rural areas surrounding Buffalo may have septic tanks instead of connections to sewer lines. These systems require regular maintenance and occasional repair.
Boiler heating systems: These are a common feature in older homes and some new houses in Buffalo. Qualified plumbers can often repair boiler heaters, but some problems may require the plumber subcontract the work to an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) repair company.
Clogged drains: Any home in Buffalo is at risk for clogged pipes. Light clogs may be cleared with a plumber’s snake, which is a long, flexible line. More serious clogs may require power flushing, which pushes a high-pressure jet of water into the line to clear obstructions.
Some homes are prone to sewer backups and flooding based on geography. A house located near the Buffalo River or other low-lying area will have problems because it is susceptible to rising water levels. Make sure your plumber is familiar with any particular needs your home may have and find out if there are any strategies to prevent recurring problems.
Some plumbing companies provide flood and sewage cleanup as well. While you may be inclined to clean up after a flood or sewage backup yourself to save money, keep in mind that mold and bacteria may linger in carpets, drywall and under flooring. It often requires expertise and special disinfectants to make your home safe again.
The cost of plumbing in Buffalo
Plumbing companies in Buffalo usually charge an hourly rate plus the cost of parts for repairs, but some services, such as fixing clogged drains, may have a flat rate. A company may charge additional fees for travel time, emergency repairs or services performed after regular business hours. While some companies offer free estimates, be wary of any company that provides estimates over the phone for complicated problems.
There may also be additional fees if any of the work needs to be subcontracted to a different company. Some plumbers will do specific repairs themselves but hire other companies to fix problems outside their area of expertise. Ask if all work will be done directly by the company or if some may be contracted out, possibly unsupervised, to another business.
Repairing or replacing plumbing in Buffalo
When you’re pricing plumbing repairs, especially in Buffalo’s older homes, consider whether it makes sense to replace plumbing fixtures rather than repair them. While replacing a fixture or pipe costs more initially, it saves money in the long term by preventing recurring issues that come with aging plumbing.
Some items, like a failed water heater or sump pump, will require replacement, but it may be cheaper to buy the parts yourself and hire a plumber to do the installation. Make sure the plumber will install a system and brand you purchase and check that the equipment is the right size and has the required heating capacity and energy efficiency.
Choosing a plumber in Buffalo
When comparing companies, make sure they are licensed and insured as required by New York State. Insurance pays potential claims you may have against the company and ensures you’re protected against work done incorrectly.
Customer reviews can also be an excellent way to compare companies. If a company has multiple complaints about the quality of its work or customer service, you’d likely be better off going with a different plumber.
Roto-Rooter is a national company with a local Buffalo office. The company offers free estimates and is available 24/7 for emergency repairs. Roto-Rooter also provides water damage cleanup and restoration. Buffalo customers recommend the company for its high-quality work, but some people noted higher-than-average prices.
Roy’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling
Roy’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is a family-owned and operated plumbing repair company located in Tonawanda. The company has plumbers available 24 hours a day, and its website has a live chat feature. Many Buffalo customers report excellent customer service, although some people were not pleased about being charged for an estimate.
Zenner & Ritter
Zenner & Ritter is a local company that provides a wide array of plumbing services. The company performs emergency repairs and has online scheduling available. Many reviews from Buffalo praise Zenner & Ritter for fast customer service, on-time arrivals and quality work, but some people said they had issues with the company misdiagnosing problems.