Get Quotes from Top Plumbers in San Jose, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plumber in San Jose

Homeowners in San Jose using a 3/4-inch water meter pay around $100 monthly for water. However, leakages from faucets, toilets, and other plumbing equipment around your home can add another $100 to the bill if unchecked. When you find a sudden spike in your water bill, then it is time to call in a qualified plumber to arrest the situation and even help in optimizing your water usage against the rising water rate in the city. Before you settle for any plumber you find online or referred by a friend, ask the following questions to be sure you are making a good hire:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in San Jose?

Plumbers who wish to ply their trade in San Jose are required to obtain a C-36 plumbing contractor license from the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) before they can perform jobs that exceed a total value of $500. Individuals who perform plumbing work worth more than $500 without obtaining a license can face penalties that include an administrative fine of anywhere between $200 - $15,000 as well as statutory penalties of up to six months in jail, $5,000 in fines, or a combination of both.

Interested parties that wish to obtain this license must provide verifiable evidence that they have attained at least four years of work experience at the journeyman level and submit a properly completed Application for Original Contractor License Form to the CSLB. The payment of a non-refundable fee is required when making this submission.

Also, applicants who provide insufficient or incomplete information will be required to make any necessary corrections and resubmit the form no longer than 90 days after it is returned to them, or else the application becomes void. If this happens, the applicant will be required to submit a new application and pay a new application fee.

Once the application has been reviewed and accepted, applicants will be mailed a notice to appear for an examination, which will include a location for this examination and other relevant information. Note that only individuals who are 18 years and older can apply for plumbing licenses in San Jose and the State of California as a whole.

Also, per the state's contractor licensing reciprocity program, plumbers who have been licensed in the State of Arizona may waive the trade portion of the CSLB's plumbing license examination. You can contact the CSLB at (800) 321-2752 to direct any plumbing license-related queries, including confirming the licensing status of your intended plumber. You can also confirm your plumber's licensing status online via the CSLB's license check webpage.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in San Jose?

Plumbers in San Jose typically charge rates that are relative to the type of service that they are expected to provide and the amount of labor required for this service. Factors like the cost of materials and permits required for the job, as well as the plumber's level of expertise, may also affect the total cost of hiring a plumber in the city.

When looking to hire a plumber near you, it is always a good idea to compare price estimates from multiple plumbers before settling on one. However, it is important to note that cost should not be the deciding factor when you want to hire a plumber near you. You should always make sure that your intended plumber is licensed and suitably qualified to carry out the required job.

A plumber in San Jose earns an annual average wage of $84,850. Below is a breakdown of the Average hourly wages for plumbers in San Jose compared with plumbers in other parts of California and other major cities in the country:

San Jose Plumber Hourly Average Wage
California Plumber Hourly Average Wage
Los Angeles Plumber Hourly Average Wage
Atlanta Plumber Hourly Average Wage
New York City Plumber Hourly Average Wage
St. Louis Plumber Hourly Average Wage
Miami Plumber Hourly Average Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the San Jose Building Code for Plumbing?

All plumbing work in San Jose is statutorily carried out per the requirements of the California Plumbing Code as adopted by Chapter 24.04 of the San Jose Technical Codes. These codes make provision for the administration and enforcement of plumbing work in the city with regard to matters like site preparation and the alteration, movement, conversion, repair, and use of plumbing systems and equipment.

Plumbing code violations in San Jose can result in city-issued penalties, which include a $1,000 citation per violation for unpermitted work and other administrative penalties. As such, it is necessary to make sure that any plumber you hire is conversant with all the requirements of the San Jose plumbing code that apply to your project.

Duly licensed plumbers are typically knowledgeable about the city's plumbing code, and you can generally be assured that your work will be done per this code's requirements if you hire one. Nonetheless, you can also contact the city's Code Enforcement Division to get information on the specific code requirements for your project. Queries related to San Jose plumbing code requirements and possible code violations can be directed to this division at (408) 535-7770.

Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by San Jose Code?

Plumbing projects that alter the configuration of pipes or major appliances or involve any other form of significant modification to plumbing systems typically require a plumbing permit in San Jose. Nevertheless, some types of projects can be carried out without a plumbing permit in the city. These include minor repairs and replacements, as well as surface and cosmetic improvements, like:

  • The repair or replacement of faucets and toilets
  • The refacing or replacement of cabinets provided that this refacing or replacement does not change plumbing configurations.
  • The repair of appliances that do not result in an alteration of the appliance's original approval and listing

The issuance of San Jose plumbing permits is handled by the city's Development Services Permit Center, and this center offers various permit services and options for different types of plumbing projects. These include:

  • Simple Projects Permit Service: This covers plumbing projects that do not involve structural changes, and it is usually the lowest permit cost option in the city.
  • Over-the-Counter (OTC) Permit Service: This service is strictly for residential plumbing projects that involve no major structural changes and use conventional framing and codes.
  • ADU Permit Service: This service is specifically for plumbing projects that involve accessory dwelling units.
  • Plan Review Service: This service covers new construction projects or remodeling projects that involve structural changes on any property.
  • STI/ITI Expedited Plan Review Service: This service is strictly for office and industrial projects.
  • Resubmittal/Revision Service: This service covers applicants who have gone through an initial project submittal and wish to resubmit their project plans.
  • Approved Permit Issuance: This service covers applicants who have had their plans reviewed and approved but may need to provide certain outstanding documents before they can be issued with the applicable permits.

Plumbing permits in San Jose are typically only issued to licensed contractors, property owners, and authorized agents acting on behalf of a property owner. To obtain these permits, eligible parties will generally be required to select the permit service or option that fits the scope of their project and complete and submit a Building Permit Application Form, along with any required project plans. Applicants who are property owners or authorized agents will also be required to submit an Owner-Builder Verification Form along with the aforementioned documents. Permit applications are to be made in person at the city's Development Services Permit Center located at:

San Jose City Hall
200 E. Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 535-3555

Applicants are required to book an appointment with the permit center before making any submissions. However, plumbing permit applications for projects that fall under the simple projects category can be submitted online via the city's SJPermits portal. Note that the creation of a user account is required to make use of this portal. Also, once your permit has been issued, you may be required to schedule construction inspections to ensure that your project complies with all relevant plumbing code requirements.

Queries related to plumbing permit applications, submission appointments, and construction inspections can be directed to the Building Division of the San Jose Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department at (408) 535-3555.

What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?

After confirming your intended plumber's licensing status and obtaining any required permits for your project, you should also make sure that this plumber is skilled enough to provide the specific type of service that you need. Doing this prevents any misunderstanding or conflicts down the road.

Plumbers in San Jose generally offer a full range of plumbing services, from the repair of minor issues like leaks and drips to the installation of full piping and fixtures for new construction. These plumbing services can cost you an average of $100 - $150 per hour, including the cost of parts and materials that may be required for the job. Some common San Jose plumbing services cost estimates are provided below:

Bathtub installation
$2,500 - $3,000
Clearing drain clog or blockage
$150 - $210
Drain line breakage repair
$400 - $1,500
Drain line video inspection
$340 - $400
Gas line installation (per linear foot)
$40 - $60
Kitchen faucet installation
$350 - $500
Outdoor spigot installation
$200 - $300
Plumbing for kitchen remodeling
$1,000 - $6,000
Septic system installation (for a three-bedroom house)
$9,500 - $12,000
Septic tank cleaning or pumping (for a 1,000-gallon tank)
$360 - $450
Sewer line cleaning
$200 - $350
Sewer line installation and repair (per linear foot)
$80 - $105
Solar water heater installation
$3,500 - $26,000
Solar water heater repair
$250 - $1,000
Submersible sump pump installation
$1,100 - $1,650
Tankless water heater installation
$4,000 - $6,000
Toilet installation or replacement
$200 - $240
Toilet unclogging
$350 - $550
Water main installation or repair (per linear foot)
$40 - $70

Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in San Jose?

Generally, any plumbing issue should be treated as an emergency and rectified as soon as possible. According to figures published by San Jose Water, at a leak rate of just one drip per second, a faucet wastes about 5 gallons of water a day. If left ignored, seemingly inconsequential plumbing issues can quickly devolve into much more serious issues that end up costing you more money in repairs and possible property damage. Some plumbing emergencies, like backed-up sewer tanks, also pose serious health hazards if left unattended.

In situations where you have a plumbing issue that requires immediate attention, you must retain the services of a trained professional that is properly equipped to handle the issue at hand. You can do this by utilizing available online resources to access information on qualified plumbers near you. An example of these resources is the CSLB's Find My Licensed Contractor, which allows interested parties to search for licensed plumbers across the State of California by city or zip code.

Another example is the Better Business Bureau website, which you can use to search for qualified plumbers in San Jose and also view reviews on these plumbers. Note that you should always verify the license of any plumber that you intend to employ, regardless of how you come in contact with this individual.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in San Jose?

Retaining the services of a plumber who is properly insured provides you financial protection in the event of potential unforeseen circumstances, such as on-the-job injuries and property damage. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were about 37,800 recordable nonfatal injuries amongst plumbers in 2019. To this end, licensed plumbers in San Jose are required to have a worker's compensation insurance plan if they have at least one employee, as well as a surety bond of $15,000.

The CSLB also strongly recommends that all licensed plumbers in San Jose and the State of California, as a whole, carry commercial general liability insurance. Always request copies of your intended plumber's insurance and bonding certificates and contact the respective issuing organizations to confirm the validity of these documents.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in San Jose

Unscrupulous plumbers and home repair contractors utilize various methods to swindle unsuspecting home and property owners in San Jose. These methods include door-to-door offers of plumbing repairs with claims that their services will be cheaper and faster.

In reality, the victims of these scams end up with poorly delivered services that cost way above market price, and in some cases, they end up with no service at all, even after paying for the job. In 2018, in what was described by state regulators as one of the largest local contractor fraud cases in the area, a San Jose couple swindled several homeowners out of more than $800,000 by collecting large upfront payments for jobs and not completing them.

When you require the services of a plumber in the city, you can prevent yourself from falling victim to a plumbing scam by taking the following steps:

  • Confirm that the plumber is duly licensed either via the CSLB's online check license tool or by calling (800) 321-2752.
  • Get at least three bids for your project and request at least verifiable references from each bidder.
  • Insist on a written contract that includes all expectations for the project.
  • Never sign any contracts that you do not completely understand.
  • Confirm that the plumber is properly licensed and bonded.
  • Never let payments get ahead of the work, and limit any upfront payments to $1,000 or 10% of the project's cost, whichever is less.
  • Do not make any final payments until the job has been completed to your satisfaction.
  • Properly store all documentation related to the project.

You can report confirmed or suspected plumbing scams that occur in San Jose to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office's Consumer Protection Unit online or by submitting a completed consumer complaint form to:

Santa Clara County
Office of the District Attorney
Mediation Services
Consumer Protection Unit
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110

You can also recover funds lost to unscrupulous plumbers by pursuing private legal action against them at the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Matters that involve less than $10,000 can be resolved relatively quickly and inexpensively at the Small Claims Division of this court. Note that it is always in your best interest to get proper legal advice before taking any legal action.