The Risks of Using an Unlicensed Plumber


To save a few bucks, many homeowners sadly discover that hiring an unlicensed plumber can be devastating for your home, your wallet and your family. You may think that you’re getting a better deal with an unlicensed plumber, but the reality is that you are not benefitting one bit.  If you decide to go this route, you set yourself up as a victim of an unscrupulous individual who typically has no insurance, no professional knowledge and no shame in taking your money for poor workmanship.

When you hire an unlicensed plumber, the work may not be in compliance with plumbing codes or worst case scenario- no work at all, even if you’ve already paid. Dealing with this individual could set you up to be sued for job site injuries, and the chances are you would most likely lose. There is good reason that the old saying “consumer beware” holds true, and hiring an unlicensed plumber is a perfect example of this slogan.

Since the economy has become more difficult for many homeowners, people are trying to cut corners to save some money any way that they can, but this is a dangerous route to go as this article will demonstrate investigative report on hiring unlicensed plumbers.

Here are a few of the real reasons why you should hire a licensed plumber:

Plumber Qualifications:

Unlike contractors who know how much education is required to become a licenced plumber, the average person does not realize how intensive one must study and pass rigorous exams.

To apply for some trades in every part of Ontario, all workers must have a Certificate of Qualification or “C of Q.” The trades include plumbers, electricians, septic installers, gas fitters, sheet metal worker and refrigeration and air conditioning.

A “C of Q.” will certify that these tradespersons have taken the apprenticeship program and have passed the provincial qualification exams that assure their knowledge of the trade in which they will be working.

To take the provincial qualification exam, each person must show they have the knowledge and experience in the particular trade. This includes:

  • Completion of an apprenticeship program
  • Time in training that meets the minimum industry standards as documented by a certified official.
  • Affirmation by certified official that the applicant has the experience to be a skilled worker.

Some Journeyman Plumbing License Exams are the equivalent of a Master’s Degree from a traditional university.

Plumbing Codes in Ontario:

Many plumbing projects require permits and inspections, and all plumbing must be in compliance with provincial codes. Unlicensed plumbers seldom know, or care, about these requirements, and while the repair might work for a time, it could ultimately be putting your family at serious risk.

If the plumbing doesn’t comply with provincial codes and/or discovered by a home inspector when you go to sell your home, you may have to remove, or repair, what was done at an additional expense. You may even be subject to a fine if a home inspector sees and reports it.

Plumbing Workmanship

Unlike a licenced plumber, an unlicensed plumber doesn’t have the years of experience it takes to provide the quality of workmanship that a licensed plumber can offer. More often than not, homeowners are forced to call a licensed plumber to correct a repair done incorrectly. When you consider the initial savings of hiring an unlicensed plumber only to call in a licenced plumber to resolve the shoddy workmanship, you have been caught in a double expense. You must consider whether the savings is worth the risk of having to repair, or replace, your home’s plumbing twice.