Q: I need to have a new toilet installed, and the plumber I have used in the past is no longer in business. I'm looking for a good plumber who will be fair with his price and will do quality work. Can you give me some tips to keep in mind when I start the search for my new plumber?

A: My book, "Ed Del Grande's House Call," includes a chapter on finding "your" best contractor. To reiterate some tips:

Finding a good contractor/plumber is kind of like being a private eye looking for a missing person. Get in touch with the people who are most likely to give you the information you need. Contact building-supply houses, town inspectors and friends who've had remodeling work done recently to get recommendations you can trust. Good contractors/plumbers usually pay bills on time to the supply house, have a good reputation with inspectors and are known to past customers for doing quality work.

The trick is to find a name that pops up more than once. Also, make sure your new plumber is licensed/insured and gives you a price up front.

Master contractor/plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelgcs.com.