An Ultimate Guide to Plumbing Services in Singapore (2020)
Part I: Introduction
Often hidden underground and in the walls of our homes, many of us do not realize how integral a plumbing system is in making our lives easy. The truth is that it is one of the few things that you would only realize the importance after it is gone. We would have definitely experienced a clogged toilet, a leaky faucet, or a spoilt water heater at least once. Think about how unpleasant that feeling was and how relieved you had felt after it was fixed. As it is such an essential service, it is crucial that you find reliable plumbing services in Singapore that are both affordable and can cater perfectly to all of your plumbing needs. If you are lost, not to worry, for we have come up with a comprehensive guide that will give you all the information that you need to know about plumbing services in Singapore. From the services that plumbers offer, to the prices, to how to find a good plumber, and whether you can do it yourself. Read on to find out more!
PART II: Plumbers in Singapore
2.1. What Do Plumbers Actually Do?
When asked, “What do plumbers do?” Many Singaporeans are bound to reply, “Fix clogged toilet and sink.” While that is not wrong, plumbers actually do a lot more than that! Here are just some of the responsibilities that plumbers in Singapore are in charge of:
- Installation, inspection, and replacement of plumbing fixtures
- Toilet repair
- Leak repairs
- Drain cleaning
- Pipe Repair and replacement
- Water heater replacement
- Sewer repair
Most plumbers in Singapore receive their certifications from vocational schools like BCA Academy. All in all, plumbing is far from easy. Good plumbers have often gone through years of on-job-training on top of rigorous education to even become a licensed plumber in Singapore. In essence, they are very well-equipped to handle all of your plumbing needs and queries.
2.2. An Anatomy of A Plumbing System
While you don’t need to know every inch of the plumbing system in your home, it is good to get an overview of what it looks like. That way, it will be easier for you to pinpoint the location of the problem, which will help you when you are talking to a plumber about it. If the issue is simple enough, you may even be able to fix it on your own, saving you some money.
Whether it is housing or commercial buildings, a plumbing system is made up of 2 important parts: water services system and sanitary system. The water services system consists of pipes and fixtures that deliver clean and potable water into the premise and the sanitary system consists of pipes that bring away used water from the premise to the used water system.
The majority of these fixtures are found in the kitchen and the bathrooms. In addition, some properties may even have water heating systems. Here are just some things to take note of when managing your property’s plumbing system.
Home kitchens usually have a much simpler setup as compared to the bathroom as it mainly consists of pipes bringing and taking away water from the sinks and other appliances (such as dishwashers and washing machines). The main things to look out for are a leaky faucet and a clogged drain, which can be dealt with on your own unless the issue becomes serious.
For bathrooms, they are usually a lot more complex. On top of the water pipes that transport clean water to the sinks, showerheads, and toilets, bathrooms also include a sewer system to bring away wastewater and vents to ensure that sewer gas does not get into the house.
As a result, most bathroom plumbing issues should be left to professionals as they would have a better understanding of the complex system.
If your property includes a water heating system, you should take note that the maximum lifespan of a heating system is usually twelve years. This is because the hot water that is transported through the pipes can cause significant wear and tear on them. As such, regular plumbing maintenance should be done to ensure that your heating system is working fine and that it should be completely replaced every ten years or so.
2.3. Services That Plumbers Offer
While it may vary from company to company, most plumbing companies do offer a few similar services. Here are some of the services that Singapore Plumbing 24 hours offers.
- Clearing of chokes in toilets, floor traps, basins and pipes
- Repairing and replacement of water taps and toilet bowl flush systems
- Repairing and re-piping for whole house
- Supplying and installing of water heater, toilet bowl set, and basin set
- Repairing of conceal-copper pipe leakage
- Waterproofing and leakage repair works
Commercial and Industrial Plumbing
Your building’s plumbing needs may differ according to the industry you are in, but most commercial and industrial buildings require the installation, inspection, and maintenance of the following things:
- Water heater
- Water meter
- Commercial water tank and pump
- Water and sanitary piping fittings
- Plumbing and sanitary fittings in bathrooms
In addition, you will need to check with plumbing companies if they are experienced in commercial plumbing, as it is very different from HDB plumbing. Commercial plumbing services would probably need to adhere to certain building regulations, so be sure to check on that when you are employing the services of a plumber.
Part III: The Cost of Plumbing in Singapore
3.1. Plumbing Services Pricing in a Nutshell
Here is a list of common plumbing services and their cost. As it may vary from company to company, remember to take a few quotations before settling on a company.
These are just the starting rates for plumbing services in Singapore. Note that these prices do not include the cost of transportation or the cost of additional equipment if needed. In addition, the price of the services of good plumbers also depends on the following factors:
- The difficulty of the job
A leaky faucet might be easy to fix but if you need to replace any pipes or install sinks, it is more complicated as it requires more time and supplies.
- The urgency of the situation
Of course, if you need something to be fixed fast, it will definitely cost more, especially if you need it to be done properly. Some companies also charge extra for visits after-hours, on public holidays and on weekends. Fortunately, we offer plumbing services round the clock and emergency plumbing services at competitive rates.
- How experienced the plumbers are
Plumbing is one of those jobs in which the more hands-on experience you have, the better you will be. This is why the best plumbing services in Singapore are those that have been in the business for many years. As a result, experienced plumbers will charge accordingly. Nevertheless, paying a bit more for an experienced plumber will be better for your home in the long run as it will ensure fewer plumbing issues.
3.2. Do-It-Yourself Plumbing
Of course, you may not want to call a plumber for every little issue you may have. In any case, doing basic maintenance of the plumbing system is just as important as it can help you conserve water and save on your bills. Many people do not realize how expensive one small leak can be. It is estimated that one small leak can cause around 1440 drips per day and up to 34 extra gallons a year! That is quite a lot of water being wasted.
In addition, taking care of your plumbing system can even help you find issues before it causes huge problems. It is fair to say that most people do not think about their plumbing until an issue arises and by then, it may have become very serious. If you do not want to find yourself in the middle of an emergency plumbing situation, we have come up with some basic maintenance tasks that you can do!
A lot of plumbing services involve issues in the kitchen and the bathrooms. As such, these areas require the most maintenance.
The drains – Kitchen sinks can get easily clogged by food waste if you are not careful. Reduce the amount of debris going down the drain by getting a kitchen strainer and emptying it every day. Furthermore, do not dispose of cooking oils and fats, like butter and gelatin, down the drain. They will congeal and form blockages in your pipes.
Once in a while, use a drain cleaner to clear out the buildup in the drain. Try not to use chemical drain cleaners if you have PVC (plastic) pipes as they are more likely to damage them. Bacterial drain cleaners or homemade drain cleaners are good alternatives. If you find your drain being especially clogged, you can either use a plunger or a drain snake which will allow you to clear more debris.
The faucet – If you find that your faucet is leaking, it probably means that the seal within the tap (also known as the O-ring) has worn off. You can probably fix it yourself by buying a replacement seal from a hardware store. However, if the leaky tap is not because of a worn-out seal, it might mean that your pipes are broken somewhere and you should be calling a plumber to deal with it.
The drains – With its constant usage throughout the day, the drains and pipes in our bathrooms can get clogged very quickly and will need more careful attention. You can prevent clogging by installing a drain trap grating that will prevent soap residue and hair from getting into the drain. Hair catchers are available as well if you find that your drain traps a lot of hair. Do remember to dispose of the buildup in the trap grating and hair catcher into the dustbin!
Toilets – Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. Anything else is more than likely to cause a blockage in the pipes. Just like for your kitchen drains, you should be clearing your toilet pipes once in a while to clear out any buildup. You can also use a drain cleaner, a plunger, or a drain snake.
If you find that you are unable to clear out all of the blockages or that your drains are still getting clogged even after cleaning them, it may be time to call a professional plumber.
In addition, here are some things that usually indicate a serious issue with your plumbing system and that you need to engage plumbing services right away. These tips are especially important if you are living in an older estate as the pipes and fixtures are more likely to leak.
- Unknown water stains in your walls or floors often indicate a leaky pipe.
- A sudden unexplained increase in your water bills usually means that there is a leak somewhere.
- Low water pressure. If you are having trouble flushing your toilet or there is little water coming out from your taps, this usually tells you that there is either a blockage somewhere or a problem with the valve.
- An unpleasant smell coming from your drains usually means a rotting build-up or sewage being stuck in the pipes.
- Odd sounds coming from your faucets, especially when you turn it on or off. This can mean that there is an issue with your pipes or the valves.
3.3. When Should You Call A Plumber?
In the previous section, we did outline a few basic maintenance tips that you can do to ensure that your plumbing system is in good working condition. While it may cause fewer plumbing issues, unexpected problems are still likely to occur which would require you to call a good plumber. Below, we have listed the few situations in which you are highly recommended to call a plumber.
- Before moving into your new home
Moving into a new place should be a happy occasion and you would not want any plumbing emergencies to ruin such a happy day! If you are moving into an HDB flat that is 10 years and older, it will be wise to get an inspection done by a good HDB plumber to ensure that there are no issues.
- Low water pressure throughout the house
If all of your faucets and toilets are experiencing low water pressure, this usually means that there is an obstruction happening in the pipes or that the pipe is faulty somewhere. While you may be able to clear the obstruction, you cannot fix a faulty pipe. Call a plumber instead.
- No hot water
This applies to places that have a heating system or a water heater in their bathrooms. If you are unable to get hot water, it probably means that there is an issue with your heater. This is one of the few things that you cannot fix by yourself and so, it will be better to look up plumbing services.
- Routine Inspections
Once every 3-4 years, you should engage a good plumber to do a thorough inspection of your plumbing system. Even if you were diligent in maintaining your plumbing system, ‘silent’ leaks and blockages accumulating in your pipes are possible too and these can be more easily resolved with the help of a professional plumber.
- Emergency situations
This goes without saying – if you have a burst pipe or your toilet/sink is flooding, it is time to call an emergency plumber. Depending on how serious the problem is, you probably have to fork out more money to get it fixed. Generally, what is considered an emergency is when the problem will have a significant impact on your well-being. As emergencies can happen anytime, it is crucial that you engage a reliable plumbing company that offers their services 24 hours a day.
3.4. What to Expect When You Call A Plumber
Now that you have decided to call a plumber, how should you go about doing it? Of course, it may be as easy as just picking up a phone and calling a plumbing service provider, but if you really want to get the most out of your money, you can go through the following steps:
- Get free quotations from NTUC Income Services
If you do not have the time to compare the prices of a few plumbing companies, you can visit the website of NTUC Income Services and get free quotations of three or more plumbing companies in Singapore! Just go to their contact form, describe your issue, and send it to them. They will draw on their extensive database of good plumbing services in Singapore and give you free quotations. From there, you can pick the one you prefer and give the company a call.
- Calling the plumber
Even if you have checked their website for their plumbing services, it does not hurt to confirm with the caller again. Remember to describe the issue as clearly as you can. While experienced plumbers can give you an estimated price over the phone, do note that it might still change once the plumber assesses the situation in real life. Depending on the time of the call, the plumber will usually take 30 minutes to an hour to reach your place.
- Confirming the services and agreeing on the price
Once the plumber arrives at your place and looks over your issue, be sure to agree on the price and get it down in writing before the work starts. That way, you will clear any miscommunication.
- Carrying out the repairs and payment
The plumber will start on the works once a price has been agreed upon. Payment is usually made once you have expressed satisfaction with the work and the plumber will issue you a receipt along with a warranty.
3.5. 4 Factors To Determine a Reliable Plumber in Singapore
As plumbing constitutes an integral part of our homes and businesses, it is of the utmost importance that you hire a good plumber for your plumbing needs in Singapore. Here are 4 factors that will ensure that you get a reliable plumber.
- They are recommended by your town council
For those who are staying in HDB flats, it is good to check with your town council as they would probably have a list of plumbing and handyman services. These companies are selected through a tender process and are contractually obliged to render their services at agreed-upon prices. In addition, town councils can drop these companies if they get too many complaints against them. As such, going through your town council gives you an added layer of guarantee that you will be protected from predatory pricing and poor quality work. Be sure to check your town council’s website if you are in need of plumbing services.
- They give you a firm estimate in writing
As we have mentioned earlier, price estimates of plumbing services do not take into account the cost of transportation or the cost of additional equipment. A good and reliable plumbing company will have an estimated cost of service down in writing after checking your plumbing problem. Be sure to ask for it so that you can protect yourself against any hidden charges.
- They come highly recommended by the people in your network
Like most businesses that have got to do with the home, plumbing companies often rely on the referrals of customers to draw in business. You can ask your friends and family for their recommended plumbing services and choose one from there. A good benchmark would be getting 3 solid referrals for a single plumbing company. Alternatively, you can read through the company’s Facebook and Google reviews to assess their quality of service.
- They come with a warranty for their workmanship
Most good plumbers in Singapore will issue a warranty for workmanship together with your receipt. This ensures that the work they did is of the highest quality and that if you have any issues after the service has been rendered, they will be able to cover it under warranty. Do remember to check their websites to see if they will issue a warranty after the repairs are done.
Part IV: Hiring VS Do-It-Yourself: Which is better?
By now, you would probably be thinking if it would be better for you to fix plumbing issues by yourself or if you should hire a plumber instead. While some issues can be resolved on your own, you should note that some of them can be more complex and you may not be able to resolve them on your own. In any case, here are 4 things that you should know about your plumbing system when you are deciding whether you should DIY it or call a professional plumber.
4.1. 4 Things To Remember When It Comes To Your Plumbing System
- You are paying for the labor
Material costs are actually not that much when it comes to plumbing services. You are actually paying for the labor and expertise. There is a reason why plumbers go through years of education and training before they qualify for a license. That is because our plumbing system is complex and is responsible for transporting clean and safe water for our use. As a result, for everyday people who may not completely understand the inner workings of their plumbing system or may not have the time to resolve their plumbing issues, it will be better to hire a professional plumber.
- Remodeling works should be left to the professionals
If you are planning to rework your kitchen or your bathroom, it is better to engage good plumbing services in Singapore as they are more likely to know what they are doing. In any case, only licensed plumbers are allowed to carry out remodeling works under the revised PUB scheme for Licensed Plumbers (LP). You may face a fine if you attempt to carry out the works on your own.
- Basic maintenance should be an ongoing project
While you can call the plumber for bigger projects, smaller projects like replacing the tap or clearing a clogged drain can be done by you. Basic maintenance of your plumbing system should be an ongoing thing and not only when an issue crops up. That is one way that you can ensure cost savings.
- Handymen can be employed to do minor plumbing repairs
The next time you employ a handyman to fix your fan or your television, you can ask them to fix your minor plumbing issues too! Minor fixes such as replacing your faucet or the hose connecting to the tap can be done by a handyman who may not be an LP. This is especially convenient for those who may not have the time to deal with minor repairs.
- Water damage to walls are quite serious
When a water leak from pipes seeps into the walls or the floors, it may cause structural damage to the premise as it can dampen the material and lead to holes in the plaster. Water damage also makes it more conducive for mould to grow, which may negatively affect your health. Not only that, but it can also damage your electrical circuits. As such, when you find water stains on your walls, it is best to engage plumbing services as you may not be able to gauge the extent of the damage. In addition, if you are experiencing a ceiling leak and you live in an HDB flat, the cost will have to be borne by the residents living in the higher and lower flats.
PART V: Conclusion
There you have it, a comprehensive guide to plumbing services in Singapore. As with any home renovation works, the money and time that you spend on it play a large factor in its quality. If anything, we hope that you have a newfound understanding and appreciation for our plumbing system. Having a good and reliable plumbing system that ensures a safe and clean water supply is a modern-day convenience and we should not take that for granted. To continue experiencing such convenience, we should also hire experienced and good plumbers in Singapore. Fortunately, with the new PUB scheme in place, you can be sure that you are able to get the best plumbing services in Singapore.
Whether you are looking to replace your faucet or your pipe, Singapore Plumbing 24 Hours can provide you with one of the best and most experienced services in the industry around the clock! Contact us today to find out more!