Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Santa Barbara?
- 2 How Does the Water in Santa Barbara Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Santa Barbara?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Santa Barbara?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Santa Barbara vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Santa Barbara?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Santa Barbara?
Even though some plumbing issues are universal, they will vary from one area to another in most cases. For instance, a place with predominantly soft water may have different issues from one whose water is hard. As such, our service calls vary from city to city. In Santa Barbara, we handle various outdoor and indoor plumbing issues. But the most common ones include;
Leaky pipes are a leading plumbing headache for Santa Barbara residents and the nation at large. According to official reports, household leaks (from pipes, faucets, and other fixtures) lead to massive water wastage, approximated at one trillion gallons per year. In California State, we lose 18% of the water through leaks, which is the case even here in our city.
There are several causes of pipe leaks, such as tree root invasion, corrosion, and bursts on copper pipes, aging, etc. Generally, most leaks occur near joints and may or may not be easily detected. You may spot wet surfaces at times, signifying a leaky pipe, while other times, a bloated water bill may be the only sign.
Dripping faucets and showerheads are also common issues in Santa Barbara. Unlike pipes that may be hidden beneath surfaces, leaky fixtures are hard to ignore. And even where the dripping isn’t much, those drops can translate into liters within no time if left unfixed.
According to nationwide research, 20% of all toilets leak. Sometimes the leaks are silent, but in extreme cases, the toilet may self-flush occasionally. A running toilet wastes dozens of water gallons per year, sometimes going up to 200 gallons.
Slow and clogged drains are another reason why most Santa Barbara residents seek out our plumbers. Though rare, drain problems may be caused by an issue on the sewer system. But in most cases, the issues stem from clogged pipes due to the accumulation of soap scum and debris.
Low Water Pressure
Like many parts of the nation, Santa Barbara’s water is mainly hard. This means it contains high concentrations of magnesium and calcium. As the water flows through the line, the mineral deposits accumulate, forming what is commonly known as limescale. When the limescale fills up the pipe, water pressure reduces. This is especially common with older pipes. However, low water pressure can also be caused by leaky pipes, or it could result from faucet malfunction.
Faulty Water Heater
Water heater issues are also common in our city. In most cases, residents complain of water not heating at all or unregulated heating where the water heats up too fast, then gets completely cold. Most heaters last between 8-12 years, but their life may reduce significantly in areas with harder water, which is the case in Santa Barbara.
Sewer Lateral Failures
Sewer lateral failures are caused by several issues – tree root infiltration, system clogs, etc. Mainly, the problem manifests in slow and blocked drains, which can sometimes let out a foul smell.
How Does the Water in Santa Barbara Affect Your Plumbing?
To mitigate against frequent droughts, Santa Barbara has diverse water sources. Lake Cachuma, desalination, local streams, and reservoirs, etc., all ensure The American Riviera residents have a reliable water supply in their homes and businesses.
How does this water affect your plumbing system?
As earlier mentioned, our water is primarily hard. Though hard water is great for our health, the plumbing system pays the price. As water flows through the pipes, limescale builds up, leading to clogging. This lowers the water pressure.
If you installed your plumbing system using copper pipes, the minerals could erode the pipes over time, resulting in leaks. Due to the rust in lines, you may receive dirty water, especially when a faucet hasn’t been in use for a prolonged period.
Hard water is also a nightmare when it comes to doing laundry. As soap does not lather well in hard water, one must use more of it when cleaning and washing. This results in excess soap scum, which accumulates, causing drain issues.
Lastly, hard water can damage your water heater through corrosion and mineral deposit buildup. However, you can minimize the issues by installing a filtration system or using water softeners.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Santa Barbara?
The cost of hiring our plumbers in Santa Barbara may vary depending on several factors. But generally, you should expect to pay an hourly rate of between $45 and $200 in addition to the material costs. The average total is around $450 for plumbing repairs. The reason behind the wide range is that different jobs/projects may cost differently. For instance, an hourly rate for repairing a faulty faucet is likely to be multiple times lower than replacing your entire plumbing system.
Below are three cost factors likely to vary your plumbing costs.
Cost Factor: Nature of the Job
Our plumbers typically charge an hourly rate, which they may scale downwards, the longer they stay on the job. For instance, they may charge you $80 per hour within the first two or three hours, then lower the rate if they spend more time on the job. This means what you end up paying will vary depending on the amount of work involved.
While repairing a faulty faucet may be a quick job, fixing a leaky pipe requires more work, hence may take longer. If it’s a big project such as a complete plumbing system installation or even remodeling, the rate may be higher as more expertise is required. E.g., fixing a leak may cost you between $150 and $700, while a water-main installation can cost around $600 to $2,400.
Cost Factor: Materials Used
Besides our plumbers’ rates, materials needed to complete a project are a significant cost determinant. For instance, using copper pipes may guarantee system durability, especially here in Santa Barbara, where incidences of freezing are lower. However, you may end up spending three times more on the cost of pipes compared to using plastic pipes.
The quality of fixtures also affects the overall project cost. E.g., if you’re installing water-efficient fixtures like faucets, toilets, showerheads, heaters, etc., they will cost you more than standard fixtures and appliances.
Cost Factor: Job Complexity
The amount you spend on a plumbing job will depend on how complex a job is. If there’s a leaky pipe in your yard, more work will be required in digging up the ground to repair the line. Assuming our plumber finds out invasive tree roots caused the problem, the situation might call for additional work to resolve the root problem. Patching up the yard after the job is complete, may also cost you more in terms of materials and labor. That means you would end up paying more than if our plumber was repairing a leak under your sink.
On the same note, if you were installing, say, a water heater, in addition to the material and labor costs, you would need to pay permit fees, as well as electrician’s costs. Different factors would also come into play if you’re fixing leaky pipes on a storey building or even repairing a sewer line.
In a nutshell, the more complex the project is, the higher it’s likely to cost you due to the time spent, materials used, and the expertise required. E.g., faucet installation may cost you around $150 to $1,000, while installing a water purification system would range between $850 and $2,650.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Santa Barbara?
Even in Santa Barbara, where our water leaves us with fewer options, better plumbing can significantly minimize your need for our plumbers. Consequently, fewer issues translate to massive saves in plumbing costs.
Hiring our expert plumbers to install or repair your plumbing system guarantees high service standards, hence, fewer system failures in the future. Our specialists, who are conversant with Santa Barbara’s unique plumbing needs, can also advise you on the best materials to use for optimal systems. Though the cost of quality service and materials may be initially high, you can end up saving more due to fewer repairs and maintenance needs.
For instance, investing in water-efficient fixtures can go a long way in cutting down your utility costs. Reports indicate that water-efficient fixtures have saved over four trillion water gallons in the past decade. The U.S. environmental protection agency (EPA) has a program known as WaterSense. They step up federal water efficiency standards through the program by ensuring all WaterSense certified products are at least 20% more water-efficient.
Some of the fixtures that can help you conserve more water and lower your utility bills include;
Water-Efficient Toilets – Modern toilet models are designed to remove the waste using less water. An old model toilet uses about 3.5 water gallons per flush, while a water-efficient set can do the job with 1.3 water gallons. There are also dual-flush varieties that allow you to choose between a full and half flush. According to EPA, WaterSense toilets can save you up to $100 per month.
Water-Efficient Showerheads and Faucets – These use aerators, which help reduce water flow. The aerators introduce air to compensate for the saved water, so the pressure remains the same. The showerhead cuts water usage from 2.5 to 1.75 gallons per minute, while the faucet can lower the consumption to 1.5 from 2.2 gallons per minute.
Pressure-Reducing Valves – The valves, usually installed on the main water line, help reduce water pressure, which lessens per minute water usage.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Santa Barbara vs Hire a Plumber?
Assuming you found a water puddle in your yard (indicating a leaky pipe), whom should you call? In situations like these, you may find yourself racking your brain, not sure where the responsibility falls.
Essentially, the water utility company is responsible for the lineup to the meter. Maintenance of pipes from the meter going to the house is your responsibility. That means if you have established the leak is on your side of the line, you should hire our plumbers to fix the problem.
You should call the utility company if the problem is on their side of the line. However, note that the company may charge you a fee if they have a reason to believe you have contributed to the pipe damage.
That said, you should handle arising situations as follows.
When to Call the Water Utility Company
- If no water is flowing to your home
- In case you notice a leak on the street
- If you want to end your water service
When to Hire a Plumber
- If the water pressure reduces
- In case you get bloated water bills, and you suspect they could be due to water leaks.
- If dirty water comes from the faucets after lying unused for a while
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Santa Barbara?
Plumbing is a sensitive activity that, if done wrong, can compromise the safety of a building’s occupants. As such, the city of Santa Barbara requires that you obtain a permit whenever you’re hiring plumbers for installation or remodeling projects. This means that even if you want to relocate your heater, you can’t do so without a permit.
However, the following plumbing activities do not require a permit.
- Stopping drain, waste, soil, or vent piping leaks, provided no replacements are done.
- Water closets removal and installation.
- Repairing pipe, valve, and fixture leaks, provided no replacement or rearrangement is done.