Plumbing services are one of those necessities of life that the average Toronto homeowner prefers not to think about—until they need them. That’s not necessarily the best approach, however, because finding help and much-needed plumbing repairs when you’re in a tight spot can be difficult and expensive. And emergency Toronto plumbers know that major problems typically don’t happen at convenient times; they occur either in the middle of the night or over a long holiday weekend, or during your vacation when you aren’t at home.

Here’s how to establish a relationship with a local plumbing company you can trust, long before you actually need them:

Step 1: Do Research

How do you find the right plumbing services for your needs? Start by doing research that includes:

  • Getting referrals from family and friends on plumbing companies they have used and are satisfied with;
  • Searching online for the plumbers located in your immediate vicinity. They’re more likely to be able to get there quickly when you need them than someone based 25 km away across the busy GTA.
  • Make a list of possible candidates and then google them individually by name to see what comes up. After all, you only want to use a qualified Toronto plumbing company for your requirements!
  • Read online reviews where possible. Sure, not every service provider has a Google+ page or a Yelp account, but many of them do. Don’t be put off by a couple of negative comments, either; remember many people don’t bother to compliment but they will complain at the drop of a hat, and sometimes reviews can be unfounded. Look for a balance between negative and positive before making your decision.

Step 2: Set Up a Consultation

Once you have identified two or three plumbing services that look promising, contact them to set up a consultation. Most reputable companies will happily meet with you, get to know your set up and discuss your needs during an initial visit. Ask questions about their qualifications, their liability cover, their rates for both regular work and after-hours emergencies, and whether their staff are bonded and insured.

Step 3: Have an Inspection

Give your newly-appointed plumbing services the chance to get to know your setup before any crisis occurs by scheduling a drain camera inspection. This will give you—and the plumber—the chance to determine the state of your plumbing installation and the condition of your drainage system. He (or she) will also be able to tell you whether you’re currently in need of any repair work, or if an upgrade is an option for you.

Step 4: Schedule Regular Maintenance

Every home needs regular plumbing maintenance, particularly when it comes to checking and servicing items such as backwater prevention valves, sump pumps, and hot water heaters. Basement flooding, in particular, is a major problem in Toronto, and by examining the condition of the walls in your home an experienced plumber can determine whether your foundations need attention ahead of the winter freeze.

By following these steps you can be prepared the next time your plumbing decides to ruin a special event, with plumbing services who know who—and where—you are, what your setup is and how to deal with it.