Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Little Rock?
- 2 How Does the Water in Little Rock Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Little Rock?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Little Rock?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Little Rock vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Little Rock?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Little Rock?
Since “La Petite Roche” became the landmark Little Rock which gave our city its name, and our tiny village was named the capital of Arkansas territory, we have grown to build our first municipal water system in 1884, and our growth hasn’t stopped since. We have attractions to appeal to everyone, from our Presidential Library and gorgeous Riverfront Park to the Museum of Discovery and the Riverfront Market District. Unfortunately, everyone, from the lovely homes of our Governor’s Mansion Historic District to homes in the newest subdivisions, every home has the potential for plumbing problems. Some of the most common issues we encounter include:
Leaks and Dripping Faucets
Faucets with slow drips or small leaks in pipes or connections between pipes and fixtures are among the most common reasons for a plumbing service call in Little Rock. While these little things may seem too minor to arrange plumbing service for, they can quickly grow into larger, more complicated (and expensive) problems if left untreated.
Slow Drains and Clogs
Another extremely common call from the homeowners in Little Rock is for help when their efforts with a plunger, drain cleaners, or a household drain snake cannot remedy a slow or fully clogged drain. Hair, grease, soap, food, and other non-liquid things that go down our drains can clog pipes over time. Tree roots can find their way into even the tiniest crack in a sewer line and take advantage of the space to grow and readily available nutrients and water. In some cases, we can use special equipment to clear out a pipe, but other times, excavation and sewer pipe replacement may be necessary. If you need to replace a sewer line, the Little Rock Sewer Service line Replacement Program (SSLRP) may help you with the costs.
Water Heater Issues
Finding out you have no hot water can make for a disappointing start to the morning. Finding out your water heater has rusted out and is flooding part of your home can be a disaster. With an average working life of only about 10 to 15 years, water heaters are something most of us don’t think about until there’s a problem. Water heater repair and, more often, replacement is another very common service call in Little Rock.
While our winters are generally pretty mild, we do get enough freezing weather some years to threaten many household pipes with freezing. When water freezes in your pipes, it expands and can burst through a pipe at that point. Other times, pipes can burst as they thaw, and water tries to force its way through tiny openings in partially melted ice. Thawing pipes safely is critical to avoid further damage or disastrous results.
How Does the Water in Little Rock Affect Your Plumbing?
Water for much of central Arkansas, including Little Rock, comes from Lake Maumelle and Lake Winona through the Jackson Reservoir. After processing at the Jack H. Wilson and Ozark Point water plants, the plants pipe it out to nearly half a million customers. Our municipal water is of excellent quality and is generally considered very tasty for drinking.
About Water Hardness in Little Rock
The most common issue our water can have for your plumbing is related to its hardness. Water hardness is a measure of how much dissolved mineral content water has, usually calcium and magnesium. The more minerals, the higher the hardness measurement, calculated in grains per gallon (gpg). Water rated 3 gpg and under is considered soft, while water with 7 gpg and higher is rated as hard. While well water around much of Arkansas can be very hard, because our municipal water supply is surface water from lakes, it averages about 1.5 gpg of hardness, making it very soft. Soft water, in general, is preferred by most people, as it doesn’t leave spots on glasses or leave mineral buildup in pipes, appliances, and fixtures. Unfortunately, it can be a little more corrosive to pipes over time. The corrosion can result in you needing to replace the anode in your water heater more often, and a greater potential risk, softer water is better able to leach metals such as lead from your household pipes.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Little Rock?
People commonly postpone having plumbing work done out of fear it will be too expensive. Unfortunately, this can result in much more complicated repairs and cost more than they would have if taken care of earlier. The even better news is that the average cost for plumbing work around Little Rock is only about $370. Smaller or more simple jobs can cost under a hundred dollars, while typical jobs that are more involved can average up to about $650. Many aspects of plumbing work can influence its cost, including:
Type and Scope of Plumbing Work
In general, the larger the plumbing job, the larger the cost and, vice versa, the smaller the job, the smaller the cost. While this doesn’t always hold, it is accurate for most plumbing work. Because walls and under floors and slabs hide so much of our household plumbing, it can be hard to determine the extent of a problem until we investigate it. Sometimes, with a bit of luck, what seems like a significant problem turns out to be something simple like a valve that’s partially closed or a minor clog. Other times, small issues can turn into larger ones when we discover difficulties lie further into your plumbing system, such as a blocked sewer line.
Materials and Supplies Needed
The materials needed for any given plumbing job can range from some inexpensive washers, Teflon tape, or putty to costly lengths of copper pipe or high-end fixtures. Some supplies will be required to match your existing plumbing or do the work safely that meets any applicable plumbing code regulations. If your plumbing work requires any fixture replacements, your preferences about their style, finish, model, and other details will also affect the price.
Permits, Inspection, and Other Expenses
Because many plumbing works in Little Rock can require a permit and an inspection, those costs will affect your price. Other aspects of your plumbing work will also affect what you’ll pay, such as emergency service outside of regular business hours or work requiring specialized equipment or additional workers to complete.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Little Rock?
Just like you change the oil in your car, improvements to your plumbing system can help it work better, have fewer problems, run more efficiently, and thus, save you money. Here are some of the ways you can do that:
Fix Small Plumbing Issues Before They Become Big Ones
It doesn’t take much for a minor plumbing issue to turn into a bigger one — or even a catastrophic one if a supply line fails, possibly flooding your home. Small leaks and drips can not only be risky; they are sending money down the drain. The EPA calculates that the average American household wastes about 10,000 gallons of water each year due to small drips and leaks. That’s enough for a half year of daily showers or nearly two years of laundry.
Upgrade Fixtures and Appliances
Many newer appliances and plumbing fixtures are more efficient than their older counterparts. Choosing to upgrade any of them in your home will lower water usage and, therefore, a lower bill. Sometimes, people remember hearing bad things about the earliest models of low-flow, water conservation models, but today’s upgraded fixtures and parts are far superior. The EPA’s WaterSense program offers suggestions on water conservation, along with specific models of toilets, showerheads, faucets, and other plumbing elements that have the best ratings.
Do Some Regular Plumbing Maintenance
Regular plumbing maintenance keeps everything running smoothly. Some tasks to add to your to-do list include:
- Flush your water heater to remove any sediment buildup
- Check your water heater’s sacrificial anode and replace it as needed — this is especially important with our soft water in Little Rock
- Promptly tend to drips, leaks, clogs, and slow drains to prevent them from becoming more significant issues
- Have your sewer lines inspected and, any breaks or root incursions addressed regularly
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Little Rock vs Hire a Plumber?
It’s not always easy to figure out where a water problem is when pipes and connections are underground, hidden from easy view. If you’re unsure whether to call the water company or us, one way to help decide is to check with your neighbors. If your neighbors are having the same problems you are, the issue is likely on the municipal side of your water meters or sewer connections, and you should contact CAW. If the problem is isolated to your house, it is most likely on your side of the water meter or sewer connection, and you’ll probably want to call us.
If you need to contact CAW, water problems that are not emergencies, such as noise in the pipes, reduced pressure, or water quality concerns, can be reported using the CAW Non-Emergency Water Problem reporting form. You should report emergency water issues to the CAW’s Dispatch Line (501-210-4914) or the After Hours Emergency Number (501-377-1239).
When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Little Rock?
Minor repairs and updates to your plumbing that don’t require installing or replacing pipes or fixtures generally do not require a permit in Little Rock. Plumbing work beyond those basic tasks will often require both permits and inspections in many cases. It can be confusing and complicated to figure out when permits are needed. Working with a professional plumber like us or contacting the Little Rock Building Codes Division can help you sort out the forms and regulations that your plumbing work requires.