Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Livermore?
- 2 How Does the Water in Livermore Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Livermore?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Livermore?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Livermore vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Livermore?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Livermore?
Most homes in Livermore face everyday plumbing problems, including leaking faucets, backing toilets, broken pipes, and more. However, plumbing systems face additional threats unique to this area – ground shifting and high-temperature fluctuations.
Livermore has a Seismic Design Category D classification. Buildings and structures in this region are subjected to frequent and severe earthquakes. California is prone to earthquakes because it sits close to the San Andrea Fault and other parallel faults – Elsinore, San Jacinto, and Imperial fault. Due to the constant ground shifting, common plumbing problems in Livermore include:
- Damaged water mains and sewer lines
- Cracked and misaligned sewer lined due to extreme temperature and ground shifting
- Cracked foundations and basements
Since ground shifting is a continuous threat in Livermore, earthquake preparedness is crucial.
- Equip gas lines with earthquake shutoff valves
- Inspect your plumbing system after each earthquake
- Have our plumbers repair or replace any damaged component after an earthquake.
Downtown Livermore and Livermore Valley are home to some of the oldest houses in the city. Older plumbing systems are susceptible to mineral deposits due to the city’s supply of hard water. Some of these systems are remnants from the last century and are due for an upgrade and replacement.
How Does the Water in Livermore Affect Your Plumbing?
Residents in the eastern and northern parts of Livermore get their water from the Livermore Municipal Water. Much of the population in the Southern and Central regions use water from the California Water Service. Although most of this water is from the California State Water Project, it could pose a danger to your plumbing system. The water supply comprises a blend of ground and surface water; hence it can be considered hard. Hard water results in mineral build-up inside your plumbing system and reduces water flow.
Hard water contains a high amount of natural minerals, particularly magnesium and calcium. Groundwater is usually hard because it picks up soluble minerals as it seeps through rocks and soil into groundwater storage. While hard water is safe to drink, it’ll take a toll on your plumbing fixtures. It forms calcium carbonate build-up in our pipes and plumbing fixtures, which interferes with normal water flow.
Typically, water hardness depends on the amount of dissolved calcium carbonate. Livermore’s hard water is a considerable threat because the municipality supplies a blend of ground and surface water. The surface water in Livermore is moderately hard – it contains 88 to 98 milligrams of dissolved minerals per liter. But the groundwater is very hard – 264 to 348 mg/L.
Water is classified into four categories:
- Soft water – 0 to 60 mg/L
- Moderately hard – 61 to 120 mg/L
- Hard – 121 to 180 mg/L
- Very hard more than 180 mg/L
The tap water in Livermore is a blend of surface and groundwater, and the ratio changes depending on the seasons. There’s more groundwater flowing through your taps during the dry months and summer. Homes near Pleasanton receive more groundwater since they’re near groundwater well.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Livermore?
Price concerns often cause many people to hesitate to call us for plumbing repairs. They are concerned about being saddled with a massive bill for the work. Unfortunately, postponing plumbing repairs only serves to complicate the problem.
It would be best to have our plumber examine your system as quickly as possible and give you an accurate estimate. The longer you hold off on the repairs, the more extensive the damage, and the higher the final costs.
Luckily, you don’t need to break the bank when hiring a plumber. The cost of hiring a plumber in Livermore ranges from $117 to $845, with most homeowners paying $481. Naturally, the cost you’ll incur depends on numerous factors, including the complexity, extent, materials used, duration, required equipment, and more.
Cost Factor: Services Rendered
Typically, you’ll run up a higher tab if your plumbing needs fall on the complex end of the scale. New installations, upgrades, and replacements carry a higher price tag. However, some repair jobs such as fixing a broken sewer or water main have high-cost implications. Regular maintenance tasks such as unclogging a toilet, fixing leaky pipes, and replacing faulty taps cost much less. Our plumbers often charge per hour to resolve such problems, which can be much cheaper.
We offer emergency plumbing services, but they carry a premium price tag. It’s best to schedule a regular service as soon as you notice a problem with your piping system. Sometimes our plumber can’t give you an accurate job estimate before inspecting your system. They might need to dig in and examine your system to determine the scope of work.
Cost Factor: Labor and Expenses
The nature of your plumbing system creates many variables that are impossible to address. Much of the plumbing system is hidden behind walls, the floor, and in the ground. Our plumbers often adopt numerous payment methods to account for these variables. Some projects come with hourly charges, others carry a flat fee, and others command a ballpark fee.
The type of plumbing system determines the cost as well. Commercial facilities use complex fixtures and piping hence carry a higher rate. Commercial plumbing projects also call for more skills, experience, and qualifications.
Permits and licensing requirements also influence the cost. Livermore requires all plumbers to have professional certification and to procure permits for every plumbing job. Our plumbers need to pass the cost of the permits to the client.
Cost Factor: Cost of Materials and Supplies
Your choice of plumbing materials influences the overall cost of installation, repair, and upgrades. Metallic pipes made from copper, iron, and galvanized steel are pricier than PVC, CPVC, and PEX pipes. The cost of fittings depends on the materials. Stainless steel fittings are the most beautiful and expensive.
The demand and supply of plumbing materials affect the cost of plumbing jobs. There’s usually a price spike just before the rainy season. Most of us rush out to fortify our homes and premises and keep the rainwater outside. You’re likely to pay more for a plumbing job in Livermore between September and December when our plumbers are busiest.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Livermore?
If you’re part of Livermore’s 90,000 residents, you should make every effort to conserve water and minimize wastage. Proper water use coupled with an efficient plumbing system can save up to 13,000 gallons a year and lower your annual water costs by $130. Here are some of the cost-saving benefits of fixing your plumbing systems.
Fixing Water Leaks
Leaking faucets, dripping showerheads, and running toilets waste hundreds of gallons of water a day. A running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water in a day, tucking an extra $70 into your water bill month for water and sewer. Leaking water mains are a significant problem in earthquake-prone areas such as Livermore.
A broken standard half-inch pipe wastes 50 gallons of clean water per minute. A leaking, unattended pipe can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water a day. On the other hand, a leaking toilet supply can waste up to 4,000 gallons daily. A leaking refrigerator supply line can waste up to 1,400 gallons in 24 hours.
Update Fixtures and Appliances
The average American homestead uses about 82 gallons of water daily to incur up to $1,000 in water costs annually. Retrofitting your home with WaterSense fixtures and ENERGY STAR certified appliances cuts your water bills by 40%. Switching out the old faucets with the affordable low flow models with aerators delivers lifetime cost savings of $250 on water and electricity. Installing a WaterSense labeled showerhead saves up to 2,700 gallons of water in a year and saves $70 off your water and electricity bills per year.
Livermore Municipality, in partnership with Zone 7 Water Agency, offers three types of water conservations rebates:
- Water-efficient lawn conversion rebate
- Weather-based Irrigation controller rebate
- High-efficiency clothes washer rebate
Rebates cover up to 50% of the conversion costs, and the amount awarded depends on the type, size, and use of the property. The grants range from $75 for single homes to $4,500 for commercial properties.
Although modern plumbing systems are built to last, water and earthquakes in Livermore pose a significant problem. Clean water often leaches minerals from metallic pipes creating areas of weaknesses. High water pressure, temperature variations, and earthquakes often cause these weak areas to spring a leak. Pinhole leaks are hard to detect without special equipment, especially when they’re hidden behind walls and floorboards.
Having our certified plumbers out to inspect our plumbing system at least twice a year keeps their pipes in great shape. Our experts use video inspections to locate and seal pinhole leaks before they snowball into bigger problems. Ideally, you should have our plumbers inspect your plumbing system after a major earthquake as well.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Livermore vs Hire a Plumber?
Sometimes property owners are at a loss when to call us and when to call the utility company. Each of these entities has a clear mandate, and they’ll never overlap. If there is a problem with your water mains or sewer lines within your property line, you should call our plumbers. If the problem is beyond your property line, it’s time to call the city.
Naturally, you’re responsible for fixing all water leaks within your property line. The water company is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the municipal lines beyond your property line. Strong earthquakes can damage both your water and sewer lines. A little power of observations can help you determine if your water main is damaged after an earthquake. Walk along the pipe and check for unexplained wet spots. Bad smells and unexplained plant growth are indicators of a burst sewer line.
Water Supply Issues
A sound plumbing system delivers a consistent supply of water to your property. If you’re continually facing water supply interruptions, you may have a huge problem. You may have to give Livermore Municipal Water a call. Sudden drops in water pressure may indicate there’s a water break in your immediate locality. Check to see if any of your neighbors are experiencing the same problem. If the problem is only in your home, it’s best to call our plumbers as you might have a blocked water main.
If the problem is street-wide, there could be a problem with the municipal water supply. It’s best to notify the utility company as quickly as possible.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Livermore?
The State of California requires property owners to procure a permit before carrying out any plumbing works. Building permits are required for both new constructions and remodeling projects. The permits and inspection are a standardized way for the government to ensure that construction projects follow proper building codes.
Californian zoning, construction, and plumbing codes are specially crafted to suit the region’s unique challenges. Building codes are vital in ensuring structural integrity in an earthquake-prone area such as Livermore. Livermore ordinances require permits for nearly all plumbing projects involving rearranging, repairing, or replacing fixtures and piping. Plumbing projects that require permits in Livermore include:
- Installation and repair of bathtubs and showers
- Installation of kitchen sinks
- Installation and restoration of washbasins
- Installation and repair of toilets
- Installation of clothes washers
- Installation and repair of a laundry tub
- Installation and repair of a water heater
- Relocation of sanitary lines, drains, and piping
- Hooking up a sewer line to a public sewer
Ideally, it’s best to let our plumbers arrange or “pull” the permit since the person who gets the permit must ensure the construction project follows the building code. The city will hold you liable if there’s a problem with the project after pulling the license.
Our professionals are familiar with both the application process and the local building codes. They often have pre-existing relationships with the city that may prove beneficial. Failing to pull a building permit might prove costly as the city might saddle you with hefty fines and penalties.