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Question DetailsAsked on 1/6/2018

mobile home park manager had to thaw my mobile home frozen water pipes and permanently installing a heating probe,

I own my mobile home. I am not renting. Just pay lot fee. Bitter cold in New Jersey and my pipes froze. I called the manager of the park. He came out in the worst bitter cold for 3 hours outside and under my mobile home. He 1st found that the pipe warmer switch was not on. He said it might have never been on since i bought the mobile home. He put it on and then put heaters under the mobile home to thaw the pipes. Wasn't working so he put a probe stick or whatever their called down in where the water enters my mobile home to heat the water. Leaving it plugged in all night and is coming back tomorrow to install one of those probes permanently. Didn't say what to pay him for this because he's nice but i have to pay something after his 3 hour work in the worst bitter cold and now going to install a permanent probe tomorrow. What would be a fair price for me to pay him for his labor and the part he's installing?

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1 Answer


Arrrghh - the Angies List computer is taking out paragraph breaks again - the ... ... below are where paragraph breaks should be.......

Ready for a pocketbook shock ? But you sound like a nice person who wants to do right by this guy for his nice effort (which is definitely NOT in his job description), so I am going to run through a breakdown of what I think the value is.



First, for the probe, depends partly on what type he installes. For a normal "heat tape" which wraps around the outside of the pipe, commonly $25-80 depending on wattage and length and whether it has an independent thermostat on it or not to control its on-off cycling. For an in-pipe probe like i sounds you are talking about, commonly about $70-300 depending on length. From what you say, sounds like he intends to use a short one at the ground level so typically $50-100 range for the part, plus possibly $10-25 pipe parts. So see what he says the materials cost him for that part of the reimbursement. Plus if he initially bought a heater or two (which you should end up with if you pay for them) another $100-150 or so probably. Even if he already owned the heaters probably $15-25 for wear on tear on them would be fair. Plus he is likely to install some $15-30 in insulation around it when done. So, potentially a hundred to few just in materials. ...... For the "plumbing" part - in NJ I would say probably about $80-125/hr in rural areas and in the southernmost and western parts of the state, more like $125-150/hr in larger urban areas and near NYC. That would be "normal" rate - for night/weekend callout typically 50-100% more. You are talking at least 4 hours work here and maybe 5 or even 6 by the time he is done because he has some plumbing work to install the probe - so depending on whether this was normal hours work, or night/weekend (sounds like the latter from what you said and when you posted) "market" value for a plumber would probably be on the order of $400-900 at normal weekday rates, or $700- as much as $1800 at "off-hour" overtime rates....... Now - because he wss not a pro at this (though given the storm conditions getting a pro out would probably have taken several days or more) the hours are probably about double what an experienced plumber would have taken for the job - normally they would be in and out in about 1-2 hours for a normal thaw job, another hour or so to install a probe. So, say maybe 3 hours total - which would be (considering the weekend/night work) $360-900 "market value" had a plumber done it....... So - all told, considering he is not a professiopnal plumber - you are probably looking at around (ballpark) $450-1200 range "value" for his work. I would sound out what he "feels is fair" for it - but even at semiskilled handyman rates of about $60-100/hour (at overtime rates) that would be $240-600 labor plus the parts costs) - so I would say a SUBSTANTIAL payment would be fair. Let him take the lead on suggesting a price if he will, but if he refuses I would not let him settle for less than $250-300 at a minimum if you can afford it - plus his out-of-pocket expenses for the materials, and I would not blink (other than from the hit to your possibly thin pocketbook) at anything under $500 - not only because of the "value" of his efforts on your part, but also because you could can potentially been looking at a lot more cost in damaged pipes (hopefully when they thaw out no leaks will appear) had the system had to sit for days (and freeze up much more) until a plumber could come to thaw it out. Such a post-freezing repair can commonly run over $1000....... BTW - bear in mind, depending on the total damages, this might or might not be covered by your homeowner's insurance - though not on some policies (or only for water damage from burst pipes), and of course depends on your deductible amount (what you have to pay before the insurance company pays anything).

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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