Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Oxnard?
- 2 How Does the Water in Oxnard Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Oxnard?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Oxnard?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Oxnard vs. Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Oxnard?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Oxnard?
People have found Oxnard a desirable place to live since well before the Gold Rush. The arrival of Henry T. Oxnard and his sugar factory launched the growth we’ve continued to see into modern times. As our water supply and plumbing systems have developed from the simple pumps of the 19th century to the smart plumbing of today, some of our pipes, connections, and fixtures haven’t necessarily gotten the care they needed, resulting in plumbing issues around Oxnard. Here are some of the most common plumbing problems we see in the area.
Leaks and Dripping Faucets
Leaky, dripping faucets or pipe connections can be more than an annoyance — they can signal a growing problem that is likely to worsen over time. They’re very common in Oxnard because of the older pipes and connections in our plumbing infrastructure. Leaks can be a sudden failure that results in hundreds or thousands of gallons of water flowing out of your pipes. Taking care of small leaks and drips as promptly as possible can help prevent further damage and will definitely save you money on your water bill.
Slow Drains and Clogs
One of our most common plumbing service calls is for slow drains or clogs, from a kitchen sink or bathtub that empties slowly to a clogged toilet that plunging hasn’t resolved. Our extremely hard water in Oxnard can contribute to clogs because it leaves mineral build up on the inside of pipes that adds to the buildup of grease, soap, hair, food, and other components of drain clogs. Unless they’ve had major updates, older homes, such as the bungalows of the Henry T. Oxnard Historic District, can be more vulnerable to drain problems with their generally older plumbing systems.
Water Heater Issues
Whether you’re ready to relax in a warm bath, need to do laundry, or are running the dishwasher, suddenly realizing you don’t have hot water can be worrying. Water heaters are very vulnerable to sediment buildup with Oxnard’s extremely hard water, and unless you’ve been vigilant about flushing it a couple of times each year, it is likely to have a short lifespan. Many of our water heater service calls involve replacing units, though sometimes we can repair your existing water heater.
Unfortunately, with the Oak Ridge Fault traveling right through Oxnard, our area is subject to frequent earthquake activity. Some of our service calls related to seismic issues involve installation of gas and water shut-off valves that will automatically stop the supply if a quake of a certain magnitude is detected. Other times, we must repair pipes that have broken, shifted, or where connections have weakened due to earthquake activity.
Agriculture is part of the lifeblood of our region. Because of the pesticides and fertilizers used on many of our crops, chemicals such as nitrate and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can contaminate our water supply as irrigation water is absorbed into the soil and the groundwater supply. We sometimes hear concerns that there may be too many of these agricultural toxins in Oxnard water. The water division ensures these are filtered and neutralized by our water treatment plants, resulting in clean water that is safe to drink. Some customers, however, may choose to have water filters installed for some fixtures, or a whole-house filtering system to better control water quality. Water softeners are another popular installation, due to the extreme hardness of Oxnard’s water supply.
How Does the Water in Oxnard Affect Your Plumbing?
Our Oxnard water primarily comes from two sources, the Calleguas Municipal Water District, from whom we import water through the State Water Project, and groundwater in the region through the United Water Conservation District. Our desalter treatment facility also provides some water as needed. Water from all supplies is generally blended to produce the best quality water. One aspect of our water can be a problem for your plumbing, and that is the water’s “hardness”.
About Water Hardness in Oxnard
You’ve probably heard people describe water as “hard” or “soft”. In doing so, they are describing the volume of dissolved minerals in the water, usually calcium and magnesium which are absorbed by the water from the ground where it flows. Hardness is often measured in grains per gallon (gpg), with measurements around 3 gpg and lower indicating soft water and 7 and above meaning hard water. At 16 gpg, Oxnard’s water is rated as extremely hard. What does that mean for your plumbing? The dissolved minerals in hard water can cause buildup in pipes over time, resulting in reduced water supply and even blocking pipes if left long enough. It can also cause the same buildup, called limescale, on showerheads, faucets, and you may notice it as spots on your dishes and glassware especially. Inside your water-using appliances, such as your water heater, dishwasher, coffeemaker, and washing machine, that buildup can reduce efficiency and will almost certainly shorten an appliance’s working life. On the plus side, harder water is less able to absorb lead and other metals from piping, reducing the chances of such toxic contamination in your household water.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Oxnard?
Plumbing service, especially in the absence of an emergency repair, tends to fall to the bottom of most people’s to-do lists. In some cases, this is due to fears about how much the service may cost. If that has worried you, it may help to know that the average plumbing job in Oxnard runs from simple repairs around $150 to more complicated work averaging about $750, making middle-range jobs cost about $450. Of course, plumbing involves pipes that are hidden underground and inside your walls and floors, making it more difficult to determine the full extent of some plumbing problems until we can examine them more closely. Some of the more common aspects of plumbing service that can affect prices include:
Cost Factor: Type and Scope of Service
Smaller jobs such as unclogging a toilet will almost always cost less than a larger job like clearing a sewer line. Sometimes we get lucky and what seems like a big problem turns out to be a small issue like a pressure regulator valve that’s not working right instead of a break in your supply line from the water main.
Cost Factor: Materials and Supplies
The specific materials we need to do your plumbing work can vary in price due to their type and quality as well as logistics and available supply. For example, copper prices have been all over the place in recent years, dramatically influencing the cost of one of our most commonly needed supplies, copper pipes.
Cost Factor: Permits and Added Expenses
Because most plumbing work in Oxnard requires a permit, that will add to your costs. Repairs done on an emergency basis outside of normal working hours will generally cost a little more, too. Jobs that require additional workers or specialized equipment can also add to your plumbing bill.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Oxnard?
Fresh water is a critical resource. We rely on it for our homes, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and other businesses, but we also need it for our strawberries, celery, and other crops. Being careful about how we use fresh water and reducing waste can help conserve this precious resource and will save on your water bill. Some of our suggestions on how to improve your plumbing to save money include:
Fix Small Problems (Before They’re Big Problems)
Minor plumbing problems don’t always stay that way, often growing into larger issues or causing sudden, possibly catastrophic failures in your household plumbing. You might be surprised to know that the average US home wastes about 10,000 gallons of water each year, primarily due to such small drips and leaks. Taking care of such minor plumbing issues as a drippy faucet or toilet flapper that needs to be replaced can reduce your water usage and help prevent future damage.
Upgrade Fixtures and Appliances
While it may cost you a little bit up front to replace your washing machine, toilet, showerhead, or other plumbing fixtures and appliances, the volume of water (and often electricity) you save can make it worthwhile. In fact, you can even take advantage of the SoCal Water $mart program to receive a rebate for purchasing certain, more efficient models of washing machines, toilets, sprinkler nozzles, and adding rain barrels and other water-conserving landscaping elements.
Practice Good Plumbing Maintenance
It only makes sense to take good care of your plumbing, but most of us only think about our pipes and fixtures when a problem arises. Adding a few plumbing tasks to your chore list can save you with plumbing that works more efficiently, lasts longer, and requires fewer service calls. Some of the tasks we recommend include:
- Flush your water heater — This is especially important with our extremely hard water
- Take care of small problems while they’re still small
- Resolve clogs to prevent more serious blockages
- Arrange for regular sewer line inspections to check for cracks and tree roots
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Oxnard vs. Hire a Plumber?
The Oxnard Water Division suggests you call them immediately (at 805-385-8136) if you notice any of the following conditions:
- Discolored water
- Water meter leak
- Water main break
- Damaged hydrant
- Pressure problems
For less critical issues, you can also use the city’s 311 reporting page, where you can also view other currently reported issues. This can help you determine whether an issue is localized to your home or not. Problems affecting only your property are generally your responsibility and contacting our plumbers is your best bet. If you see that others have the same problem or your neighbors have noticed the same issue, it is more likely to be a city problem, and you should contact the water division instead.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Oxnard?
Most plumbing work, outside of minor repairs, will require a permit in Oxnard. Special express permits are available for some common projects such as water heater replacement and re-piping. It can be confusing to figure out which plumbing work will require a permit, so contacting the Oxnard building and engineering department or our expert plumbers can help you make that determination.