Should I call a plumber or an electrician?

28th June, 2023

A picture of a plumber alongside an electrician, with a stylised 'versus' down the middle

Back in our day, if you needed a new hot water system, you’d get your local plumber to come and install the new top of the line gas-fired water heater and be done with it. With everything getting smarter these days, from swanky screens that control your air conditioner to water outlets that give you the exact temperature water you could want, it’s getting harder and harder to figure out if you’ll need to call a plumber or electrician to get your new or existing needs sorted. 

Join us as we explore some of the most common questions we get asked when Perth homeowners call us up – “Do you guys do this? I’ve called a couple of plumbing places and they’ve told me that I’ll need an electrician!” While we reckon it’d be silly to not offer both sides of the coin when they’re so intertwined (it’s why we offer both electrical and plumbing services under the same roof), join us as we help you save time, hassle and money by walking through the different aspects of modern plumbing and electrical in the age of innovation. 

Electrician vs plumber: what work do they do?

While there can be a clear-cut difference between whether you need a plumber or an electrician for certain tasks – you wouldn’t call a plumber to wire up some new LED lights, after all! – there’s a few jobs that blur the lines between plumbing and electrical needs. 

While we reckon it’s always going to be easier to find someone like us who has both plumbing and electrical expertise under the one roof, we’ve got a few rules that you can use to decide whether to call a plumber or an electrician for whatever job you might need doing: 

Here’s when you’ll probably need a plumber: 

  • Burst or leaking pipes 
  • Mould or other mildew
  • No water or low water pressure from hot water taps
  • Gas or water leaks
  • Water discolouration from hot water taps  

Here’s when you’ll probably need an electrician: 

  • Anything to do with fuses or breakers not staying on
  • Frequent power outages or flickering lights/connection 
  • Colder or slightly warm hot water from hot water taps
  • Burning smells or sparking 

And here’s when you’ll likely need both a plumber and electrician: 

  • New hot water or some air conditioners installs
  • Installation of new kitchen or bathroom appliances
  • Bathroom or kitchen renovations or improvements
  • Interrelated water/electrical issues 

Who should I call for my hot water service? 

Hot water is one of the most common systems we get asked this question about, and for good reason. With so much overlap between the electrical and plumbing aspects of hot water systems, it can be hard to pinpoint just what expertise you’ll need to get your hot water back online! 

For repairs and maintenance, you’ll often need a plumber out to look at the system as a whole before committing to fixing it. However, if you’re installing a new hot water system, you’ll probably need both a plumber and electrician to install their respective elements. To be safe, we recommend getting somewhere with plumbing, electrical and gas fitting licenses all under the one roof for hot water installs and repairs when possible. 

Who should I call for my air conditioner? 

With the all different types of air conditioning units available, from reverse cycle which uses gases to evaporative that evaporates water from your mains, it can be hard to figure out who to call when you have problems or need expert contractors for new installs. For repairs and maintenance, you’ll generally want to call up somewhere that has expert knowledge and qualifications of air conditioners, including the relevant licenses needed to work on your specific kind of air con

When it comes to new installations or replacements, then you’ll need a licensed electrician to wire your new system in – but you might also need a plumber if your new system is connected to the water or drainage mains in your house. This is especially true for evaporative air conditioners as they rely on steady amounts of water to circulate in and out of the system. 

Who should I call for my electrical plumbing appliances?

For household appliances such as dishwashers, waste disposal units, electric shower heads and other such appliances, you’ll often be needing both a plumber and electrician’s expert knowledge for installs, especially when there’s no easily-accessible power outlet nearby. 

When it comes to general repairs and maintenance of these appliances, your best bet is to give your local plumber a call. In the off-chance that you need an electrician to fix a problem with these appliances, your plumber will be able to quickly diagnose and organise an electrician to come out, either in-house at places like Ritz or subcontracted through a third-party. 

What happens when a plumbing job needs an electrician, or an electrical job needs a plumber?

Ritz P&E's local plumber and electrician working together

With so much of your home getting smarter and more and more aspects requiring both plumbing and electrical knowledge and qualifications to install or repair, you’ll undoubtedly run into the situation of needing both an electrician and a plumber for repairs, maintenance or improvements in your home. But with drastically different skill sets and qualifications required for each task, what happens when you need both out at the same time? 

Let’s take a new evaporative air conditioner installation as an example. You’ve got the quote from a plumber who specialises in evaporative air conditioning, signed all the paperwork and are now ready to get things kicked off – but you know the plumber can’t do all the work themselves, so what happens? In such a case, subcontracting (where the plumber will hire a third-party electrician themselves as part of the job) will occur. This can lead to extra costs, as the plumber has to notate the costs of hiring the electrician separately, often doubling up on all the expenses you’re already paying for – from travel costs, administration, billing charges and more! 

When you choose a provider that has both plumbers and electricians in-house (such as our friendly team here at Ritz Plumbing and Electrical), you’ll have the assurance that all the work that needs doing is under one roof. This means that not only will it likely be cheaper, with the teams working together on the one job, the job is likely to go much smoother too – no third-party negotiations or handovers needed! Interested? Chat to one of our friendly representatives now by calling 13 74 89 or send an enquiry using our easy online contact form.