Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to some of the questions we are regularly asked

Are PERL Plumbing and PERL Electrical businesses locally owned?

Yes. All PERL Plumbing and PERL Electrical businesses are a nationwide member group of locally owned plumbing and electrical businesses that trade under the respective PERL business banners.  The combined size of the group affords them a number of benefits that come from being part of a large group, such as access to systems, training and support to help them run businesses effectively, networking within the group, national leveraged advantages not obtainable for standalone businesses (buying power, national wholesaler discounts, large regional and national customer) and the credibility that belonging to a national reputable brand with proven industry leadership success.

PERL businesses are locally owned and operated.  As such you can be confident of getting the full attention from the moment our trusted PERL plumbers and electricians arrive on site. Whether for a big job or a small one, the finished result will be guaranteed as safe, compliant, and the optimal solution for your specific requirements.

Is there really a difference between hard water and soft?

Yes.  In fact, the difference can be damaging to your home and your body.  Maybe you have experienced damaged clothing from the laundry, excessive soap consumption, pipe scaling, faucet and fixture deterioration, skin problems, or undesirable tastes or odours from your water.  If you have, then you have a water problem.  Contact the local PERL Plumbing in your area to discuss.

If I have a major water leak in my home what should I do?

First, turn off your water supply at the main shut-off valve. As a homeowner it’s important to know where this is located and educate your family member as well. Second, always contact a professional plumber during emergencies. And don’t touch any wet electrical fittings – call in an electrician to deal with that.  PERL Plumbing can help in a plumbing emergency so give us a call and we will get you sorted.

Why does the toilet keep running?

The is one of the most common plumbing questions asked. The usual reason is that the flap in the bottom of the cistern isn’t sealing shut. Take the top off the tank and flush the toilet while watching the rubber flap. Does it completely close? If not, even though water is entering the tank, some of it is flowing out through the unsealed flap and therefore, the water continues to run because the float ball trigger is never activated to stop the flow since water never reaches the fill line. That’s why jiggling the handle works to stop the running. It’s attached to the rubber flap with a chain and jiggling it will reposition the flap so that it may seal more securely.  If that doesn’t solve the issue give PERL Plumbing a call.

Do you recommend a carbon monoxide alarm?

Yes.  Where gas appliances are fitted in boats or caravans, we do strongly recommend sensors to detect both the gas being used and to detect incorrectly burnt flue gases and CO (Carbon Monoxide) gas.


There are stringent ventilation requirements around un-flued appliances.


It is important to remember that any gas or plumbing work installed in your property should be completed by qualified gas fitter and or plumber.  At PERL Plumbing our trusted gas fitters are fully licenced or certified.  All work undertaken by a licenced gas fitter must be supervised and signed off by a certified gas fitter.  They will ensure everything is working correctly at completion of your job and can advise you of necessary ongoing service requirements to maintain an economical and safe appliance.

What does a gas fitter do and how are they different from a plumber?

A gasfitter is someone who works installing, altering or repairing gas appliances such as gas hot water systems and gas cooking appliances.  It includes the pipes, ventilation and making sure the appliances are safe by testing and adjusting the devices and their controls.

Although gas is safe, just like electrical work it can pose a risk if gas appliances are installed incorrectly. Although some plumbers are also gasfitters, some are not. It comes down to the qualifications and licenses they hold.

Why should I use a certified gasfitter rather than a licenced gas fitter?

Natural gas and LPG connections require a licensed gasfitter to size, install, and connect the gas pipe according to strict industry guidelines. They are also required to complete a certificate of compliance for the installation. PERL Plumbing are certifying gasfitters which means we are responsible for making sure all licenced gas fitting work is completed properly.  Licensed gasfitters are qualified but all work undertaken by a licenced gasfitter must be supervised and all work signed off by a certifying gasfitter.  Always ask to see a

What size gas bottle do I need?

The size of gas bottle you need will be influenced by several factors such as how you get them filled which is either by exchanging the bottles for full ones or by tanker refilling (where the bottles stay in place), the number and type of appliances you have.   PERL Plumbing can advise you on all aspects of gas solutions including what size and number of bottles you require to prevent running out of gas.

Is it okay to paint, move or enclose my gas bottles/cylinders?

No. You can discuss storage option with us, as the surroundings of the bottles need to comply with the safety regulations. Gas cylinders should always be stored upright and in a secure area away from people and vehicles where they could be knocked or allowed to fall over.

Do not repaint or disguise any markings or damage on the bottles.

Keep in a cool, well ventilated area, away from heat sources, sources of ignition and combustible materials, especially flammable gases. There should be enough ventilation to allow fresh air for consumption and removal of burnt gases.

How do I know I have a gas leak?

Signs your gas appliance may have a leak includes a gas smell. But carbon monoxide, which is produced when gas is burned, has no smell. Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning including headaches, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath and confusion - especially if experienced by other people and/or animals in the same home at the same time.

You may also find your appliance is not working correctly - i.e. if it has a yellow or orange flame or the pilot light goes out frequently. If you experience any of these, you should get your cookware or heating appliance checked.

What is sanitary plumbing and what plumbing can I do myself?

Sanitary plumbing is any work involved in fixing or unfixing any pipe, plumbing fixture or appliance including; any trap, waste or soil pipe, ventilation pipe, or overflow pipe and any pipe that supplies or is intended to supply water. Everyone authorised to undertake restricted sanitary plumbing, gas fitting or drain laying work must carry their NZ practising licence and are required to show it to you when you ask to see it. The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board also keeps a public register of people qualified to undertake sanitary plumbing, gas fitting, and drain laying. All sanitary plumbing must comply with the Building Code and, where a building consent is required; the work must be checked by the building inspector from the council.

Sanitary plumbing does not include the installation of appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines; the replacement or repair of taps, ball valves and plugs.

When should I have a plumbing check?

We recommend that you should have a plumbing inspection carried out if:


  • You are purchasing a property that has been occupied.
  • The property is more than 20 years old.
  • If it is more than 12 months since one has been done.
  • If you are concerned about how any of the equipment may have been installed.


PERL Plumbing can undertake both a Plumbing and/or a Drainage Inspection to ease your mind.

Preventative maintenance – why bother?

Just like annual servicing of our cars, plumbing systems also benefit from scheduled preventative maintenance.  It is also far cheaper to schedule regular plumbing preventative maintenance than it is to deal with a breakdown, which can stop progress and cost your business money in lost trading.  PERL Plumbing will schedule annual maintenance checks to ensure any potential issues are discovered and rectified before they threaten the safety of your family or work colleagues’ and potential damage to property.

I am looking to purchase a new home. Can you provide me with a pre-purchase plumbing inspection report?

Yes.  One of our licensed, local plumbers can provide you with a comprehensive inspection report and then will talk you through what may need to be done.  Please note however that a standard building inspection is generally only a visual inspection.

Do your staff have the relevant safety qualifications?

Yes.  All our PERL plumbers are fully qualified and maintain their knowledge with frequent up to date training from Site Safe a national Health and Safety training provider.  All PERL plumbers comply with all New Zealand safety and training regulations.

Who will be sent to my premises to complete the work?

A qualified, certified plumber and possibly an apprentice who possesses the required skills & experience to complete all works.  Nobody wants to spend all day sitting in doors waiting for a plumber to arrive, wondering when they’ll eventually get there.  That’s why PERL plumbers not only always aim to be on time, the attending PERL plumber or representative will call you prior to their scheduled arrival to introduce themselves and to notify you of their estimated time of arrival. We’d hate for you to be inconvenienced by us showing up late, so we do everything to make sure tardiness never happens.

Do you have insurance?

Plumbing and gas work can be dangerous, and despite care being taken, sometimes things can go wrong.  You can have peace of mind knowing that all PERL Plumbing businesses have comprehensive insurance including a current Public Liability Insurance policy.  If in the unlikely event something happens this insurance not only protects our plumber and gas fitters on the job, but also you, your family, and any other people entering your property in the years to come.

Do you have a fixed rate?

An estimate is a crucial piece of information when hiring a plumber, but even better is an plumber that offers a variety of cost options. Most plumbers will agree that paying by the hour is a good way to get value for money on small jobs, while a fixed rate provides peace of mind that you won’t blow the budget on a big job.  At PERL Plumbing, we offer an estimate that includes a breakdown of everything, including materials, incidentals, labour and things that may affect the performance of plumbing work. We then let you decide how YOU want to pay. Should you choose a fixed rate, there’s no hidden costs or nasty surprises at the end.  If you choose a “charge up” account then our plumbers will give you a rough estimate of the project cost before you start, but the final price will be exactly what its cost for the actual labour and materials they use on the project. 

Do you do after hours call outs?

Yes.  Emergency and After hours call outs will incur additional charges. Give us a call to discuss.

Do you issue Certificates of Compliance?

We provide a paper copy that you can file with the records for all jobs that we complete.

My hot water cylinder has stopped working - what should I do?

Generally this is an electrical issue, sometimes it can be plumbing. Call during daytime hours, and we should be able to tell you which it is.

We are building a new house or doing a renovation. When should I contact you to talk about our drainage, plumbing or gas needs?

Right at the planning stage so that we can provide guidance and advise on the best solution for you at a price you can afford.  We will work with your builder and other trades to get the job done right first time.  We can also recommend a trusted local PERL Electrical team to complete your electrical needs with the same level of care and quality workmanship.

We have purchased a tap from a retail store, are we able to install it ourselves?

Check the manufactures instructions included with your fitting and they will let you know if a plumber is required for the install. If you are unsure it is always best to have it installed by a qualified plumber. 

My hot water is suddenly very hot, can I adjust my hot water cylinder temperature, or do I need a plumber or electrician?

When adjusting the temperature of your cylinder dangerous cables are exposed so it is best that you have this completed by one of PERL’s trusted plumbers.

My gas oven is not working, what could this be?

For gas hobs there a number of potential issues preventing your cook top from lighting or staying a light.  If you are on gas firstly check to see you have electricity to generate the spark.  If your hob is gas bottle supplied check to see you have sufficient gas in the bottle.  If you continue to have issues, contact your local PERL Plumbing branch for advice.

Fixed Price or Charge Up?

You’re facing a dilemma – do you undertake your home Plumbing renovation under a fixed-price or a charge-up contract?  There’s one thing everyone knows about renovations, it’s that they can be expensive.  There are generally two types of building industry contract used in New Zealand – fixed-price contracts, and charge-up or cost-plus-margin contracts. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and either can be appropriate, depending on the type of job you’re doing and how closely you want to monitor your budget.


With a fixed-price contracts your local PERL plumber can create a detailed quotation for your renovation project and the price within your contract will be based on that quote.  Although these contracts can include exceptions for some elements of the job – for example, if trenching, excavation and earth moving is required – you’ll generally end up paying the quoted price.


Charge-up contracts work differently. For this contract type your local PERL plumber will give you a rough estimate of the project cost before you start, but the final price could be significantly different.  With this type of contract, your PERL plumber will charge you for the actual labour and materials they use on the project.


If controlling your budget is important to you, a fixed-price contract is usually a better option. Because these contracts give you a price up front, they’re easier to budget for – and often easier to get finance for as well. Unless you have a large cash reserve put aside, banks can be reluctant to lend on a project without having a set price ahead of time.


When it comes to choosing a plumber, fixed-price contracts can make it easier to compare quotes. A good plumber or business will give you a set price with a breakdown of materials, labour and subcontractors, and a detailed scope of work, so you can pretty accurately compare what you’re getting and how much it will cost.


There’s also the argument that fixed-price contracts lead to your project being done more quickly. The idea is, plumbers lose money if the job goes over time or budget, so they’re motivated to work harder, get things done more quickly, and find the best prices on materials. Of course, if you’re employing a reputable business like your local PERL Plumbing, you will be able to trust that they’ll be working hard anyway, but this is a potential benefit of the fixed-price contract.


However, ‘fixed price’ doesn’t mean it can’t change. There’s no way to get a contract with every element fixed, particularly in a renovation situation when the condition of certain parts of the house can’t be seen or established, so there will always be some room for add-ons and price changes. Most fixed price contracts will exclude some elements from the price.


Charge-up contracts, also known as cost-plus-margin contracts, can be riskier. Because you start with a rough estimate and pay for the actual work done as you go, it’s harder to know what the final cost will be.  Despite this additional risk and uncertainty, some homeowners prefer this situation as paying as you go means you’ll have paid for the work done – and no more.


While charge-up contracts are useful in some situations, they can have disadvantages as well. As the homeowner, you’re the one taking on the risk of overruns, which could mean you end up paying far more than the original estimate. Because you don’t know the price up front, they’re harder to budget for – and can make it harder to secure finance.


In many ways choosing the right contract is less important than choosing the right plumber.  Many of the disadvantages of both fixed-price and charge-up contracts can be avoided if you choose a professional, experienced and principled plumber.  PERL plumbers put in the hard work up front by taking the time to carefully scope and specify your project to give you an accurate estimate or quote, whether you choose a fixed-price or charge-up contract. They will also do their best to keep things on time and on budget, even if you’re the one paying for overruns.  Talk to your trusted local PERL plumber about what’s right for you.

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