Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Birmingham?
- 2 How Does the Water In Birmingham Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Birmingham?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Birmingham?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Birmingham Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Birmingham?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Birmingham?
Birmingham’s climate lends a hand to the outdoors enthusiast with its mild temperatures. The breathtaking views can be seen all around the city. Enjoy the outdoors, but watch out for the frequent shower, muggy heat, and general dampness that accompanies the beautiful areas. The excess moisture can pose problems in the soil, which can lead to plumbing problems. Some leading problems our Birmingham plumbers face are:
- Clogged drains
- Leaking pipes or fixtures
- Flooding back up and damage
Some older neighborhoods, like Fountain Heights, have not seen plumbing upgrades for decades and are prone to pipe rusting and breakage. Older homes tend to not comply with modern building codes and use materials that are known to be dangerous. For example, lead pipes that can increase the toxicity of the water. Galvanized pipes can be old enough that the zinc lining wears off and the iron piping is exposed and rusts, which can cause leaks.
How Does the Water In Birmingham Affect Your Plumbing?
Alabama is known for having extremely hard water, and Birmingham is no different. Water quality reports indicate a calcium content of 56.1. In these reports, the hardness is at the maximum that the government considers safe to drink. The makeup of the water is monitored through visual and chemical inspections routinely. Not only the water in the watersheds is inspected, but also the water in the surrounding rivers and lakes to ensure the intake of the water is not compromised.
The build-up of limescale and calcium deposits ruin plumbing fixtures and are hard to control. With hard water running through the pipes, there are bound to be many deposits of minerals in the nooks and cracks of the pipeline. This can cause leaks and need major repair services to maintain.
Unfortunately, a few impurities have been identified in the water. To different degrees, chloroform, bromodichloromethane, and trichloroacetic acid are discovered. These organic substances have an impact on the acidity of the water. Water filtration maintains control of all organic components and mineral content, ensuring that the water is safe to drink and cook with. Watersheds and nearby bodies of water are inspected regularly so enjoying the fresh water inside and outside is a healthy and fun experience.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Birmingham?
Each neighborhood in Birmingham has its unique makeup, elevation, and age. Costs of plumbing repairs in the upgraded downtown area are not as high as some repairs in the older historical districts, like Fountain Heights. The average cost of our plumber’s trip to your home varies by the degree of damage, material costs, and average labor costs. Our estimates typically average from $120 up to $1,000 or higher depending on the complexity of the problem.
Cost Factor 1: Complexity of Repair or Rebuild
New plumbing for new homes and replacing old piping come with great costs. Smaller jobs like clogged pipes, broken fixtures, and small leaks will be cheaper to fix. The easier it is to get to the problem, the cheaper the cost will be. A simple repair will need fewer materials, time, and outside involvement than more complex repairs. Replacement and installation of larger projects require more time, effort, permits, materials, and sometimes, more workers to accomplish.
Cost Factor 2: Materials
Materials play a huge factor in the cost of plumbing jobs. If all you need is a toilet or a sink snaked, the cost will be lower because there are no extra materials involved. Repairing a loose pipe and reattaching without replacing the piping will be a little more because of the adhesive and sealants involved. Replacing or building pipes is going to cost more, but how much depends on the quality of pipes used in the repair. Replacing piping underground also requires excavation equipment for which maintenance and cleaning fees will be incurred.
Cost Factor 3: Cost of Labor
Another good indicator of how high the cost of the plumbing job will be is the hourly rate of labor. The longer the repair takes, the larger the estimate will be. Our plumbers in Birmingham can cost between $60 to $95 per hour, depending on skill level required for your plumbing issue.
City development in Birmingham is aiming at better control over floodplains and adequate drainage. This can affect the homeowner by changing drainage pipes and outflow pipes. New regulations can be instituted with the new construction. Currently, city code requirements state that work has to be officially inspected before any water is restored in large repairs. Smaller repairs must meet the guidelines and be professionally attached to the intake and drainage systems.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Birmingham?
Conservation of water not only assists in times of drought, but can also help reduce out-of-pocket costs to the average business and homeowner. Thorough inspections of pipes and fixtures regularly can prevent or catch problems before they become a larger issue. A few things that can be done or updated to save money include regular water heater inspections, water softeners, and upgraded showerheads and faucets.
Water Heater Inspections
While a regular inspection of plumbing is a good idea, one of the most important plumbing appliances to inspect regularly is the water heater. Water heaters combine water in a tank and metal within a tight space. Adding heat from gas or electricity to the combination gives the water heater many issues. Water heaters are prone to mineral buildup and expansion due to the heating of water. Pressure not released from the heating process can cause cracks and breakage of the piping. One sure way to upgrade the water heater to reduce repairs and replacements is to upgrade to a tankless water heater which will offer a higher supply of hot water without relying on a tank to heat up.
Whole-Home Water Softener
To protect your appliances and pipes leading to the home or business, installing a water softener helps reduce the mineral content of the water in the pipes. Reduction of the mineral content reduces the build-up of calcium and lime which causes clogging and draining issues. Due to the hardness of the Birmingham water, it would not only benefit the piping, but also the people occupying the home as soft water leads to softer skin and hair and better-tasting drinking water.
Upgrade Faucets and Showerheads
Slowing the release of the water coming out of your faucets, toilets, and showerheads decreases the cost of water monthly. Installing a low-flow fixture can decrease the amount of water used. Showers are known to dispense upwards of 2 gallons per minute. A low-flow showerhead reduces the amount of water without reducing the appearance or feel of hot showers. Replacing the faucets and toilets for water-conserving options will effectively reduce the cost of your water bill, as out-of-date appliances and fixtures are one of the top reasons for higher water bills.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Birmingham Vs Hire a Plumber?
The call to our plumbers is often one that is put off and can cost more than if the repair was done as soon as the problem was found. Some repairs do not require a plumber to come out to the home or business and are the responsibility of the utility company.
One of the easiest ways to determine if the leak is on your property is by looking for standing water. If no standing water is noted inside or outside within the property lines, the leak may be underground or on the other side of the meter.
Briefly turn the water main off to the home and observe the meter. If the meter is still running, there is a leak on the homeowner’s side of the meter, and it is time to call our experts. If the meter stops, the repairs that need to be made are on the city’s side of the pipelines. Obvious city repairs that require calling the utility company are issues such as broken fire hydrants.
If there was a leak on your property, you can contact your local water provider and ask for a leak adjustment to the water bill. Birmingham Water Works can direct homeowners to the correct water provider for new accounts and payments.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Birmingham?
Permits are necessary to ensure quality workmanship and that the work that is done will not pose a problem to the property or the city. Improperly repaired pipes can lead to more serious issues for both the property owner and the neighborhood.
Construction codes apply to every plumbing installation, including alterations, repairs, replacement, equipment, appliances, fixtures, and fittings within the city. Permits are necessary to repair or replace pipes that carry cooled or heated water around the property. Included projects that require permits are:
- Shower and tub replacement or repair
- Water heater replacement or repair
- New garbage disposal units
- Toilet replacement or repair
- Repairs made under flooring
- New or replacement gas valves or piping
Any work on the property that requires excavation and/or connection to the city’s water or drainage pipes must be covered with the appropriate permit and professionally done and inspected before reconnecting water. Our professional plumbers understand the permit system and construction codes and can obtain the necessary documentation to get repairs underway and finished quickly. All of our experts pass the state certification process with ample understanding of the work, permits, and building codes before being certified.