On 16 Jan 2011 my fiancee called 'Hickman Plumbing', to
repair a water leak I had noticed a few days before.
The water leak was coming from behind a water valve in the
shower; it was easy to hear and only required a small piece of tile be removed
to repair the fitting. My fiance was concerned because she'd heard that leaks
cause mold, and as we have a 16 month old in the house she was adamant that the
it be repaired as quickly as possible.
I was out when the plumber came over. My fiancee signed to
begin the work.
He first cut a hole over the toilet, four feet from where the
leak was. This hole is about 18 inches square, more than two square feet in
When this hole did not reveal the leak, he cut a hole two
feet above the shower stall, again about 18 inches square, more than two square
feet total. This hole did reveal the source of the leak, and as heard it was
directly behind a water valve on the shower controls. [continued below]....
Next he cut a large hole to the side of the shower controls
and opened it up still larger until he had opened a very large hole over the
shower control assembly, this time the hole was about 12 inches high by 30
inches wide. This revealed the copper piece that was leaking and he was then
able to begin the repair process.
While repairing the pipes (only a small elbow joint needed
to be replaced) he overfilled the joint with solder and it ran down the pipe
and into the wall. This also means there is now a partial blockage of solder
inside the copper tubing.
He had worked for four hours, the final bill was $1588.
My fiancee had already paid him by check before I'd arrived.
She had no idea of the proper cost of such a repair and didn't blink when he
gave her the bill.
Since that day I have had other plumbers, insurance agents,
and contractors look at the work as completed. Most mentioned it was terribly
shoddy and terribly overpriced.
The general consensus was that that the
complete repair should not have cost more than $600.00 and the wall should not
have been utterly ripped up like it was.