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The Best Plumbers in New York

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photos: Getty

For Late-Night Emergencies

Vigilante Plumbing, 195 Douglass St., Gowanus; 718-530-0404; bestbrooklynplumber.com

Brooklyn-based Vigilante does everything from plumbing repair to drain and sewer cleaning to hot-water-heater replacement — at literally any time of day. It has an emergency-response service available 24/7 in all five boroughs, which retired retail professional Victor Ney has called numerous times over the past 30 years. “If I call at midnight, 4 a.m. on a weekend night, I can get service,” Ney says. After Hurricane Ida left two feet of water in his basement in 2021, plumbers from Vigilante showed up the next day to drain it and clear it out. They then drew up and implemented plans for improvements, like French drains, sump pumps, and backflow preventers, so Ney’s basement would remain dry during heavy rainfall. Retired architect Daniel Rodriguez calls the emergency-response team Vigilante’s “shining star,” recalling an incident when “the heat went down in the middle of the winter, and it happened to be a Saturday.” He phoned Vigilante, and the team arrived in an hour. “Within three hours,” he says, “they were out and everything was operational.”

For Sewage Services

Econo-Sewer & Drain Cleaning, 3864 Flatlands Ave., Marine Park; 800-287-3266; econosewer.com

Sewer-cleaning services, such as unclogging pipes and clearing out drains, are Econo-Sewer’s specialty. The company retains an ultraloyal clientele that includes retired teacher Linda Blau, who first called in 1981 when she experienced a flood in her basement. “We just looked in the local plumber directory and we found them, and we’ve been with them ever since,” Blau says. Econo-Sewer has cleared her basement’s water line, which can become clogged with tree debris or grease from the house, twice a year for going on 40 years. Landlord Christopher Athinios has been using the company once a week for about 20 years to address various clogs and backups that can arise in the multifamily buildings he owns, whether due to residents pouring grease down the drains or flushing non-flushable items down the toilets. “We would have periodic sewer backups in the basement, and he came in with this high-pressure water jet to push it out into the main sewer line,” Athineos says. Econo-Sewer’s flexible hours and good communication are a plus. “They’ll contact the tenants and make arrangements with them to come. They work early in the morning into the evening, even on the weekends,” Athinios says.

For Needy New Homeowners

Ricky Tavares, 347-832-6476

Having worked everywhere from museums to bars to townhouses, plumber Ricky Tavares has extensive experience with residential and commercial projects. When Hilary Krishnan started an extensive remodel of her Brooklyn townhouse, her friend the contractor Richard Sanabria gave her Tavares’s number. “I got hardware for the showers and baths that was really aesthetically pleasing but maybe a little bit of a challenge to install. He just made it all work so beautifully,” Krishnan says. As a first-time homeowner, she admits she was a bit clueless about maintenance but says Tavares has always been responsive and helpful even for tiny fixes — and for issues unrelated to plumbing: “There were times when I was like, Oh, the heat’s not working. I don’t know what’s going on. And he FaceTimed me and said, ‘Show me the thermostat.’ He always makes himself available to help me.”

For Work That Holds Up

Weiss Plumbing, 718-875-3926

A small old-school family-owned business that has been around for decades, Weiss Plumbing has no website and no social media — but word of mouth gets it plenty of clients. The company mostly does small repairs and maintenance jobs. Real-estate agent Jessica Fields called them when her 150-year-old Brooklyn brownstone’s plumbing needed an overhaul. Which Weiss did, all while she was living there. “We didn’t rip off the walls. They just had to delicately change out pipes in various places,” Fields says. “They’ve done all sorts of things, from installing piping in my bathroom, to fixing a leaky waste line, to changing out our hot-water heater.” Weiss was first recommended to Fields by her friend’s now-retired architect parents, and Fields herself has used its services for 12 years. That means she’s had plenty of time to assess how the work holds up. Says Fields, “We have not had to readdress a single thing they’ve done for us.”

For Routine Fixes

Petri Plumbing & Heating, 901 Bay Ridge Ave., Dyker Heights; 718-717-1089; petriplumbing.com

After more than 100 years in business, there’s not a plumbing, drainage, HVAC, heating, or AC issue that Petri Plumbing hasn’t handled. Burst pipes, repiping, drain and sewer cleaning, water-heater maintenance, home inspections, and even ecofriendly plumbing are just a few of its specialties. Jordan Slocum, co-founder of the interior-design and renovation service Brownstone Boys, has been a regular since 2018, calling on Petri anytime he needs routine plumbing maintenance on his own brownstone. “Petri is our go-to for everyday fixes, whether it’s a toilet that’s been clogged or the boiler or bathtub that needs to be serviced,” Slocum says. Park Slope resident Vijay Venkatesh likes the quick response time he gets with Petri. When he had a sewer leak, he says the company responded within an hour and a half. Venkatesh has also used it to address everything from “leaks around the house, drainage, or sump-pump issues” to replacing some of the pipes and valves in the basement with, he says, “no complaints.”

For 100-Year-Old Pipes

Walter Grande Plumbing and Heating, 718-966-3578

When the residents of townhouses off Park and Madison Avenues decide they want to embark on a major project, like a gut renovation or a bathroom overhaul, Walter Grande is the plumber they call. These clients’ often exacting demands never faze Grande, according to general contractor Marc Kaplan. In a recent job on the Upper West Side where the existing plumbing was almost 100 years old, “the client wanted to keep the claw-foot bathtub that was there, but it did not conform to current plumbing codes,” Kaplan says. Grande was “able to retrofit it to allow the client to keep it.” He also does full home renovations. Saks Fifth Avenue merchandiser Theresa Landi, who recently built a house from the ground up on Staten Island, used Grande from start to finish. She says he installed everything “perfectly,” from the standard underground pipes and sprinklers to more elaborate systems like a toilet that flushes on its own. Everything is “very precise, neat, and pristine,” Landi says. When she shows people her home’s boiler room, “they can’t believe how beautiful my pipes are.”

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