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Plumbing repair cost guide

HomeServe engineer fixing a leak under the sink, a typical plumbing job, which would normally incur a plumbing repair cost

Leaking pipes, dripping taps and flooded drains can not only be a pain to fix, but they can also weigh heavy on the wallet, particularly in an emergency.

In this plumbing repair cost guide we’ll go through the most common plumbing jobs and look at the costs you could be paying for a plumber in the UK.

We’ll also look at ways you could make plumbing repairs cheaper and, if you’re feeling confident, the possibility of doing some of these jobs at home yourself.

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Typical plumbing repair cost guide

Whether you’re looking at making improvements to your home, fixing a common plumbing problem, or you need someone to attend to a plumbing emergency – you’re going to want a tradesperson who will get the job done right.

These days, you can find a number of trade websites that will allow you to find one, but they don’t always give you much of a clue about cost. By the end of this article you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you should be paying, and things you can do that may make a repair a little bit cheaper.

We should point out at this stage that costs within this article are based on an average for the UK. Usually, when you get a quote for plumbing work you should consider the points below, which will have an impact on the amount that you’ll pay:

  • Where you live
  • The age and condition of your property
  • How easy it is to access the problem
  • What work needs doing before any repairs can start
  • How long the job will take (this is often influenced by the two factors above)
  • The quality of fittings and fixtures that you want to be used
  • The removal and disposal of waste

How much does plumbing cost in the UK?

Every plumbing job is different. Each one will need different materials, skills and labour times. This is why, depending on each job, your plumber will charge by hour, day, or for the overall job.

Generally, as based on the UK average (September 2023) a plumber will charge*:

Period Cost
Per hour £40 to £80
Per day £300 to £400
Emergency call-out per hour £70 or more
Emergency call-out flat fee £100

Obviously, these prices can vary – so it’s always worth getting a few different quotes to get a fair price. You should think about the level of experience the plumber has and the materials they will use.

To put it simply, the cheapest quote isn’t always the best option.

How much do plumbers charge per hour?

If your job is something that can be done quickly, most professional plumbers will have a minimum charge which is usually the cost of an hour’s work. The average hourly rate in the UK is £50*.

You may find that many plumbers will charge you a call-out fee. This should be explained to you before you book them and they carry out any work.

If your job takes longer than an hour then any additional work would usually be charged at the same hourly rate.

How much do plumbers cost per day?

If your job is more complex it will take longer to resolve, so it might be worth looking for a plumber who charges a day rate. The average day rate for a plumber in the UK is £378.56**, which can work out to be cheaper than paying an hourly rate – depending on the job, of course.

How much does an emergency call-out cost?

In case of plumbing emergencies, remember that you will likely get charged more for call outs at unsociable hours.

Calling for a plumber overnight, at weekends or during festive holidays will see you pay up to twice their hourly rate with additional call out fees.

If you can, wait until normal working hours and you’ll save some money. But of course, issues like broken pipes and severe leaks must be fixed as soon as possible.

The average hourly cost for an emergency plumber out of hours is around £70**, with additional costs for completing the work and the time it takes to fix the issue.

Typical plumbing repair costs

As we’ve said, plumbers will usually charge by the hour or day, but sometimes they’ll charge by job. Due to labour times and materials, it’s difficult to put an exact price on repairs. So, we’ve put together a list of some common plumbing problems and their estimated costs below.

How much does a plumber charge to change a tap?

Smaller jobs like changing a tap should be pretty straightforward, you’d usually pay an hourly rate of around £207** for a job like this, including labour and parts.

If you have a replacement tap then this would make the job much quicker and cheaper.

How much does it cost to fix a small leak?

It’s thought that a leaking tap can waste nearly 100 litres of water a day. So it’s always worth making sure you get it seen to as quickly as possible.

Particularly if they’re in areas where water can collect and cause further damage, such as upstairs where it could burst through your ceiling and become an emergency.

The average cost for a plumber to fix a leak is around £100-150***, if the pipes are easily accessible. A small price to pay when you consider that leaving it could end up costing you a lot more.

However, there are some leaks that you can fix yourself at home. You can use our guide to fixing common water leaks – it’s packed with help and advice on simple ways to help protect your home.

How much does it cost to unblock a toilet?

Unblocking a toilet is usually a fairly quick job, but on average it costs around £128** for a plumber to come and fix it for you.

If you’re able and have the tools available to you, then our handy guide into unblocking your toilet at home may save you a bit of cash.

How much does it cost to repair a burst water pipe?

Much like with a leak, a burst pipe needs immediate attention. The average cost to fix a burst pipe is around £189**. Obviously if this happens at the weekend you’ll have to factor in out of hours call-out fees too.

If your leak is coming from an underground water pipe, it’s likely to be more expensive to repair. If this is the case then you should contact your water company who may be able to help, depending on where the leak is coming from.

How much does it cost to install a new radiator?

If you find you have a leaking radiator, before you replace it and if you’re feeling confident enough – you can take a look at our guide to fixing a leaking radiator.

However, if you find yourself in the position where your radiator needs replacing, then you’re looking at a cost of around £459**, including the cost for the new radiator.

What plumbing jobs can I do myself?

Doing plumbing jobs yourself completely depends on your level of experience. Obviously not all plumbing jobs are the same, so as they get more difficult they get more dangerous.

For example, you may be comfortable unblocking a toilet, but you’d be well out of depth fitting a new bathroom. So it really depends on your own limitations.

Other options for plumbing work

The most cost effective way to repair your plumbing and drainage is by taking out Plumbing & Drainage Cover which starts at 75p a month in your first year. As well as a 24/7 claims line, you can claim as many times as you need each year and you’ll never have to worry about hidden costs.

It will cover your home in the event of a blocked sink, damaged drain, blocked toilet, water leaks and leaking overflow pipes. So when an emergency does happen, you can be assured that an expert plumber will be on hand to get the problem fixed for you.

Take a look at our range of plumbing cover.

* Checkatrade Plumbing Cost Guide 2023
** BCIS© Research, September 2023 (prices include labour, parts, call-out charges and VAT)
*** Which? Cost guide: Plumbers

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