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THIS ISSUE: The Best Plumbers in Dallas

 

Dallas Plumbing Company

11055 Plano Rd. 214-340-6300 or 214-741-7611. www.dallasplumbing.com.
The third and fourth generations of the Downs family run this concern, one of the most-often mentioned names in our search for reliable plumbers. Dallas Plumbing helped build the nation’s largest collection of art deco buildings when Dallas hosted the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1934, but they’ve been around since 1903. Their orange-and-black trucks are visible all over their service area, which runs from Irving to Forney and McKinney to DeSoto. In addition to residential and commercial plumbing repairs, they handle renovation, remodeling, and new construction in the Park Cities.

Manager Mark Wissler told me that, though "jobs come in waves," the most common call nowadays is for water-heater replacement. Their charges vary, depending on the job, but they offer free estimates. For general repairs such as a running toilet or leaky kitchen faucet, they charge $70 for the first 30 minutes and $40 for each additional 30 minutes. The helper’s rate is $50 for the first 30 minutes and $20 for each additional 30 minutes. There are no trucking charges unless the work is outside their service area.

 

Frymire Services

2818 Satsuma Dr. 972-620-3600. www.frymire.com.

One of the larger companies in the area, Frymire has a long-standing record of handling everything from leaky faucets to designing residential and commercial drainage systems. Despite the firm’s venerable age –founded in 1950– Frymire leans more toward the high-tech than tool belts and pipe wrenches. Service requests can be made online, as can warranty registration for new equipment. Plumbers are "service representatives" who are computer dispatched throughout the area.

Most of their calls are to install water heaters, but their routine jobs are repairing leaking faucets, tubs, or slabs. Service calls start at $49, plus parts and labor. Estimates are provided upfront, so customers can decide whether to proceed.

 

Gibson Plumbing

P.O. Box 1535, DeSoto. 469-766-8981.

Owner Tony Gibson comes by his trade naturally: his father was a plumber. Gibson Plumbing handles residential and light commercial work, chiefly repairs, remodels, and additions. Gibson tells his people, "If the house is clean when you get there, it better be clean when you leave." His employees use plastic sheeting to protect floors and carpeting during repair work. He’s had a steady flow of business since he started, covering Dallas, Duncanville, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, Red Oak, and Ovilla.

Most common calls: fix running toilets and leaky faucets. Gibson’s rate is $75 an hour, with a one-hour minimum, plus materials.

 

Le Fevers Plumbing

5401 S. Peachtree Rd., Balch Springs. 972-613-3139.

Gene Le Fevers Sr. was instrumental in building Buckner Plumbing and bred three plumber sons, two of whom, John and Gene, branched out on their own to form Le Fevers. In business since 1988, they have serviced more than 50,000 customers, mostly in Mesquite, Garland, and East Dallas, and are members of the PHCC, the National Association of Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors. According to Gene Jr., "If your toilet runs, your water bill can double in a month. If your faucet drips even one droplet a minute, the amount of water lost in a year will fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool." Their biggest repair jobs are fixing slab leaks, where the potable water supply system has a hole under the slab. Many homes in Dallas are reaching an age where slab leaks are likely. Le Fevers advises customers to install WAGGs, valves that automatically shut off water.

Most common job: fix the flapper on a running toilet. They charge by the job, so, with the $50 trucking fee (within Dallas-Fort Worth) and the minimum half-hour charge, the rate is about $100 an hour.

Levy & Son

11024 Indian Trail. 972-241-8655.

Founder Milton Levy came to Texas as a lad from the Old Country. By 1910, he had launched the business that is now owned by son Bernard and grandson Arnold. Levy plumbers arrive wearing booties and bearing dropcloths, as neatness is mandated. So is education. The firm provides classes to make sure employees are abreast of and in compliance with state guidelines. Levy & Son handles all kinds of general repairs and remodeling, both residential and commercial, but no new construction. Their prime geographic market is University Park, Highland Park, and North Dallas.

Most common problems Levy & Son plumbers encounter: stopped-up sewers, dripping faucets, and blocked toilets. They charge on a time and material basis; the going rate is $72 for the plumber’s first half-hour and $19 for each additional 15 minutes, and $42 for a helper’s first half-hour and $11 for every additional 15 minutes.

 

Love Field Plumbing Company

2237 Wisconsin St. 972-247-1719.

Butch Glass joined this old-line firm as an apprentice and ended up owning the company, along with his wife Charlotte. With two sons in the business, they do both commercial and residential repair as well as construction for smaller buildings. Members of the PHCC, their customer base is broad, encompassing one-bathroom homes and mansions in the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, Farmers Branch, Carrollton, Coppell, and Las Colinas. Though the company started near Love Field and their catch phrase is, "We have a heart," the business relocated to Royal Lane some 22 years back.

Typical calls are for repair of commodes, faucets, or water heaters. They charge by the hour, but provide estimates for large jobs. Hourly rate is $90 for a plumber or $45 for a helper.

 

Metro-Flow Plumbing

3730 Dilido Rd., Ste. 422. 214-328-7371. www.metro-flow.com.

Dad was a plumber in New Mexico, so when Rick Romero came to Dallas, he worked for a large firm that offered plumbing services. Fifteen years ago, he bought the company’s plumbing customer base and started Metro-Flow. The "Thoroughly Modern Millie" of plumbers, they handle repairs with newfangled methods: video pipe inspection, electronic leak detection, and preventive-maintenance packages. Their plumbers are called "technicians" and arrive fully uniformed. Along with general repair and fixture installation, they do copper re-piping, fix faulty gas lines, and repair slab leaks. Metro-Flow covers the area from Plano to DeSoto, Cedar Hill to Lewisville, and as far east as Mesquite and Forney.

A majority of their calls are for drain-line stoppages, water-heater repair, and line location. They do straightforward pricing, telling customers in advance what the job will cost.

 

Public Service Plumbers

5610 Dyer St. 214-363-4477.

The DiFrancesco family has been a favorite in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow since 1959, nine years after founders John and his wife Wadie moved to Dallas from New York, where John’s late father was an architect and master plumber. Keeping up the family tradition, Joseph DiFrancesco III became a licensed master plumber after graduating from UT/Dallas and joined the firm in 1983. His plumbers have passed rigorous background and psychological tests and can handle upscale residential construction and remodeling as well as routine repair or replacement of water heaters, boilers, faucets, furnaces, and disposals. They also clean drains, install water filters, repair slab leaks, and repair or replace sanitary sewers, irrigation systems, sump pumps, and downspouts.

"Jobs change according to season," Joseph DiFrancesco says, "but typically we repair high-end products, and we emphasize integrity." For plumbers they charge $72 for the first half-hour onsite ($92 after-hours) and $20 ($25 after-hours) for each additional 15 minutes, with no travel time charged. Helpers cost $36 ($50 after-hours) for the first half-hour onsite and $10 ($15 after-hours) for each additional 15 minutes. Parts and labor are guaranteed with a one-year warranty.

 

Reliable Plumbing Contractors

2509 Franklin Dr., Mesquite. 972-285-0939.

This year Thomas Daniels and John Oznick celebrate the silver anniversary of the firm they founded in 1979. The business they’ve built relies strictly on word of mouth, and the word is "blue chip." They focus on new construction in million-dollar-plus homes, essentially the larger Dallas residences. The Dallas area is their oyster.

The bulk of their work is new construction, but they handle routine repairs as well. Installations are priced by the job ("If you have to ask..."). Repair work on faucets, toilets, slabs, and the like runs $96 an hour for a plumber (with a one-hour minimum) and $35 for a plumber’s helper.

 

United Mechanical

11540 Plano Rd. 214-341-9300. www.unitedmechanical.com.

Even the competition recommends United Mechanical, a 50-year-old concern that provides round-the-clock repair, replacement, and remodeling services to both businesses and residences. Emphasis here is on preventative maintenance, but they’ll fix or replace boilers, fixtures, gas and water pipes, heat exchangers, and sewer and drain lines. Want your restroom, kitchen, or utility room re-plumbed? They’ll install updated fixtures.
United also performs certified back-flow and environmental testing. They cover the entire local area, but much of their work is in Richardson, Plano, and Garland.

The rate includes a $25 trip charge and $72 hourly fee for a plumber, with a half-hour minimum. Plumber’s helpers cost $36 an hour.

 

Willie W. Emmons

6817 Tremont Ln., Rowlett. 972-475-4975.

Touted as a genteel, "Aw, shucks" kind of guy, sole proprietor Willie Emmons is also described as a hands-on plumber who is both "neat as a pin" and affordable. He turned out to be as mild-mannered as billed with mild prices to boot. Plumbing was a sideline until he took early retirement from Kraft Foods in 1998, when his craft turned into a more-than-full-time job. Ten years earlier, he was accredited as a master plumber. He serves Garland, Rowlett, Sachse, and Wylie.

Typical calls are for drain cleaning or repair of running commodes. He charges a flat hourly rate of $60.

 

 

HOW WE DID IT

Ever tried finding a plumber through the Yellow Pages? Take our advice, don’t. Sure, scanning those 32 pages of listings for plumbing contractors will give you a peek at how plumbers position themselves vis - vis the competition. But how can you be sure of good service and fair rates?

We polled mothers, friends, teachers—even the patients and staff at our dentist’s office. Reactions to our probes either inspired heated debate– "my plumber is better than yours!"– plumbing horror stories too scary to recount here, or an intense unwillingness to share– "I can’t tell you that! His rate will go up; he’ll be impossible to reach."

Once we managed to compile a list of local plumbers, we researched the services, pricing, company history, and unique selling propositions of the most highly recommended. Then we contacted the Better Business Bureau to make certain these firms came up clean, with no complaints lodged. Finally, we checked references. We talked to past customers to get their take on speediness of service, respect for the home (no left-behind litter), and quality of the repair or replacement rendered.

The result: Eleven plumbers from around the Dallas-Fort Worth area that you can rely on, ones who won’t drain your resources.