Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Palo Alto?
- 2 How Does the Water in Palo Alto Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Palo Alto?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Palo Alto?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Palo Alto vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Palo Alto?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Palo Alto?
One of the common reasons to call a plumber in Palo Alto is corrosion. The average age of homes in Palo Alto is 55 which means it might be time to update some of the pipes. As pipes age, they start to corrode, and this is especially true in Palo Alto where the hard water is especially damaging. The corrosion is due to dissolved solids in the water, like calcium, magnesium, iron, and sometimes lead. Over time, the lines either clog from buildup or they may break, causing a leak. If you see green or white crust on the outside of pipes, you may have a hard water problem.
Clogs are another common plumbing problem. Clogged toilets and drains can be a real hassle, and they’re a common issue in Palo Alto because the hard water in the city leaves mineral deposits behind that contribute to blockages. It is important to avoid using harsh drain cleaners because they are corrosive. These products have been known to melt PVC pipes, crack toilet bowls, and break up the glue that holds pipes together. Most clogs can be fixed with a simple plunger, while others need to be snaked. If you are unable to clear the blockage, we can help. Here are some ways to prevent clogs:
- Always use a drain catcher in the shower to catch stray hairs;
- Baby wipes, feminine products, paper towels, and cat litter are never flushable;
- Never pour your cooking oil or grease down the drains. It can harden when cooled; and
- Baby-proof toilets, if there is a toddler in the house and they like to flush things.
Broken or worn-out fixtures are another common reason people need a plumber in Palo Alto. This is especially true for people looking to update their bathroom or kitchen without doing a complete remodel. Other times, it is because the fixtures are leaking or using water inefficiently. Over time, showerheads and faucets start to break down, causing leaks. Again, this happens more frequently in Palo Alto than many other areas because of the damaging hard water in the city. Here are a few internal causes of broken fixtures:
- Damaged Cartridges. A sign of a damaged cartridge is if your faucet is dripping water while turned off.
- Broken Washers. The wrong size washer or a washer installed improperly can also cause a leak.
- O-Ring Malfunction. If the handle of the faucet is leaking, it is probably an O-Ring malfunction.
- Deteriorating Valve Seat. Faucets that leak from the spout, may have a problem with the valve seat.
Leaks are a really big problem and they should not be ignored. According to the EPA, Americans waste 1 trillion gallons of water each year from leaks. If you have leaks, you should call a plumber in Palo Alto before it gets worse. The city utilities will monitor and audit water usage if there is a water waste claim. If they believe a resident is wasting water (leaks count as water waste), they will send a letter to property owners giving them 30 days to make repairs. According to the Palo Alto Municipal Code, ignored leaks can be punishable with water being shut off to the property until you show proof it was fixed. Leaks in the city are especially prevalent because the minerals corrode o-rings and gaskets and can limit the life span of fixtures, appliances, and other plumbing equipment.
Earthquakes are common in Palo Alto. Although most are small, they can still harm water lines. During earthquakes, rigid water and gas lines can tear from their connections or crack. This can be dangerous to people and cause property damage. To limit plumbing problems, make sure homes have earthquake shut-off valves installed as well as flexible lines to appliances.
How Does the Water in Palo Alto Affect Your Plumbing?
The water in Palo Alto is considered hard and can affect your plumbing. The term “hard water” refers to the amount of trace minerals in the water. The excess minerals in Palo Alto consist of calcium, magnesium, and some iron. There are also low levels of lead and copper, although they are below the Public Health Goals. Over time, these dissolved solids build up and break down the plumbing in your house. As a result, pipes can become corroded and fixtures can leak.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Palo Alto?
If you need a plumber in Palo Alto, you are not alone. The average home age here is 55-years old, keeping plumbing updates and remodels in high demand. It also increases the risk of having plumbing emergencies like leaks and clogs. When our plumbers in Palo Alto come out for an unscheduled emergency, it costs the customer more. On average, the price for regular plumbing in Palo Alto ranges between $125 and $1270. Many factors can influence how much money you’ll spend. Some of the most common cost factors include:
Cost Factor: Type of Plumbing Service
There are two main types of plumbing services we want to discuss. The first is emergency plumbing which usually entails fixing leaks, clogged drains, running toilets, and water heaters. This is by far the more common reason residents call our plumbers in Palo Alto. However, emergency plumbing problems will always cost more, so it is important to have annual plumbing inspections. This way, issues can be fixed before damage can occur.
The second type of plumbing service is for remodeling and additions. These will cost more because of the amount of work that needs to be done. If this is something you want to do, you should look at ways to update the piping as well. This way, you can eliminate any old or corroded pipes while the wall is open. Plus, remodels already require permits, so you might as well do all the fixes at once. This will save time and money.
Cost Factor: Plumbing Materials
With the average list price for homes in Palo Alto upwards of a million dollars, you can expect to pay more for higher-end materials. This is partly because high property values influence what quality of fixtures and materials are used. Homeowners in the area have a certain expectation of how the home should look. The nicer the fixtures, the higher the price. You should also consider using a low-flow, eco-friendly replacement. California’s drought is not going to get better and water waste will continue to be a problem. If you haven’t done so yet, check out Palo Alto’s rebate programs for sustainable water.
Cost Factor: Additional Fees
Depending on the kind of plumbing service you are planning on doing, you will likely have additional fees. Some jobs will require permits and others won’t. If you need permits, you will have to pay a fee to the city. Hiring our plumbers in Palo Alto will eliminate any confusion about permits rather than trying to DIY it. We’ll go into more details about what requires permits later, but for now, let’s look at the added costs. The fee for permits will depend on the work. Typically, plumbing permits can range between $50 to $1500 or much higher. The fees are determined based on the complexity of the job and the cost of the project.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Palo Alto?
Sometimes, you’ll need to spend a little more to save money. In California, water is an essential natural resource that is becoming more and more scarce. It is also a big part of everyone’s monthly utility bills. There are many ways that better plumbing can save you money and water in Palo Alto.
Annual inspections by our experts are the first way to save money on better plumbing in Palo Alto. This is especially true with older homes. These don’t typically cost too much but can really pay off in the long run. Having our trained professionals come in and inspect all your pipes can reduce the risk of a burst or leak later. If a problem is found, it can be dealt with before real damage occurs, saving you a ton of money and stress.
Installing high-quality fixtures that use water more efficiently is the next way you can save money with better plumbing. Not only will these products save water and money on your utilities, but they will maintain the value of your home. Buying a property is the biggest investment most people make, so it is important to invest a little more to keep the plumbing working well.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Palo Alto vs Hire a Plumber?
Should you call our plumbers in Palo Alto, California, or the utility company? The answer will depend on a couple of factors. You will want to call us if you have a plumbing problem on your property. The City of Palo Alto won’t take care of your leaks or broken faucets, but if a pipe bursts that is part of the city’s line, they want to be informed about it as soon as possible to reduce wasted water. Here is a simple way to figure out if the problem is yours or the city’s.
First, you’ll need to shut off the main water supply. Next, check to see if your city water meter is still spinning. If it is, then you should call us because the water is running through the lines of your property. If, after shutting off the main water, the meter is not moving, then the issue is likely due to a leak on the city’s side. You can report the concern to the City of Palo Alto.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Palo Alto?
In Palo Alto, like most of the United States, permits are needed for specific building projects that require plumbing. Getting permits and approval can add more time and money to your building plans, but in the end, it’s important to keep the job legal. Here are some plumbing jobs that may require a permit according to the City of Palo Alto:
- Remodels and Additions;
- Water Service Line Replacement;
- Replacement of Existing Residential Water;
- Septic Tank Replacements; and
- Sewer Hookups
Some jobs require permits that can be printed on the same day to save time and money. These include:
- Water Heater (not tankless) Installs or Replacements;
- Boiler Replacement;
- Furnace Replacement (same location with no A/C);
- Repipe water piping system; and
- Water Backflow
Most homeowners are not experts in plumbing and construction, so don’t worry if the thought of getting a permit seems daunting. Our experienced plumbers are recommended because we will know the steps needed to get the project done right and that will include getting the proper permits for the job.