Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Highlands Ranch?
- 2 How Does the Water in Highlands Ranch Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Highlands Ranch?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Highlands Ranch?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Highlands Ranch Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Highlands Ranch?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Highlands Ranch?
Between its proximity to the Rockies and its easy access to Denver, Highlands Ranch is an amazing place to live. Highlands Ranch also has much newer houses than the national average, so aging plumbing is less of a concern than many other cities. However, there are still a variety of problems that can plague homeowners here. These can include:
- Clogged, slow, and backed-up drains
- Upgrading fixtures
- Replacing leaking faucets, toilets, and water heaters
- Installing and maintaining lawn sprinkler systems
Being located in Colorado, drought resistance is also a common concern among homeowners, so many of our clients choose to upgrade their older fixtures to newer, more efficient versions. We especially see this in years that are forecast to be particularly dry.
How Does the Water in Highlands Ranch Affect Your Plumbing?
Due to its location at more than a mile above sea level, the water in Highlands Ranch is generally among the cleanest in the United States. Much of our water comes from surface sources such as Chatfield and McLellan Reservoirs. While the Centennial Water and Sanitation District runs careful checks on the quality and contents of the water it provides us, there’s always a risk of contamination, especially after heavy rainstorms increase groundwater flow. These contaminants can erode pipes and fixtures as well as present a danger to drink, but Centennial Water does maintain state-of-the-art filtration systems to avoid these problems.
The more pressing issue in Highlands Ranch is the hardness of the water. While our water isn’t the hardest in the area, it does contain between 11 and 13 grains of calcium carbonate per gallon, making it quite hard. This can cause problems such as soap scum on dishes, but it can also lead to more insidious issues like limescale buildup inside pipes and fixtures.
On Water Hardness
All water contains some minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These are completely natural as they dissolve into the water. Even purified, bottled water has some of these minerals added so it will taste normal. The trouble begins when the concentration of these minerals is above 9 grains per gallon. This can cause a buildup of limescale in pipes and fixtures and is the culprit behind many malfunctioning coffee machines or showerheads. While you can install water softeners to mitigate this problem, they add complexity to your plumbing system. Softened water can also leach components from pipes and cause them to fail more quickly than pipes with harder water, so softening your water may not be the best option for you.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Highlands Ranch?
As previously mentioned in this article, the average house in Highlands Ranch is 21 years old, when the national average is 40 years. This means more pipes are new and more plumbing complies with modern building codes so plumbing can cost less in Highlands Ranch than in older-built cities. That said, hiring an expert costs money and in the Highlands Ranch area, you can expect to spend between $70 and $82 per hour to have plumbing work done, excluding the cost of materials. Here are some of the factors that can play into the cost.
Parts and Labor
Some plumbing jobs are more complex than others. Tracking down that dripping sound coming from your walls will probably take more time than replacing the washer in a leaky faucet, and both of those will be less expensive than replacing a water heater. The more complex and labor-intensive the work is, the more expensive it’s going to be. Likewise, more complex plumbing work in Douglas County requires permits (more on that later), the cost of which varies based on the scope of the work being done.
Type of Service
Emergency plumbing service will always cost more than regularly scheduled maintenance. That’s just the nature of the industry. Likewise, a job requiring lots of permits will take longer and cost more than one that doesn’t. The scope of service is critical in determining exactly how much you’ll pay for plumbing work. The good thing is, in many cases, you can save money by shutting off water to just the problem area (such as a toilet) and calling during regular business hours when service is cheaper.
Supply and Demand
When the summer is forecast to be a dry one, everybody wants to make their home drought-tolerant at once. This can mean not only more expensive plumbing services, but longer wait times for non-urgent jobs. This is why it’s a good idea to be proactive and get work like this done before demand skyrockets. Other events such as large storms can cause lots of people to have backed-up sewer drains and similar problems, leading to a similar jump in demand. You’ll get faster service than you would have if you’d procrastinated and also pay less overall for the same work.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Highlands Ranch?
Better plumbing will save you money anywhere. More than that, it can help save the planet. One of the biggest natural disasters we face as Coloradans is drought, and anyone who lived here during 2002 or 2012 can tell you how terrible it is to see the bottom of a reservoir through its surface. Because we can’t directly control the rain, the best way for us to deal with drought is to prepare beforehand and conserve as much water as possible. The good thing is, everything you do for drought preparedness will also save you money on your water bills. This can include a variety of work, some of which we’ll describe below.
Installing New Fixtures and Appliances
Installing new fixtures can have the single biggest impact on both your ecological footprint and water bill. You don’t need to pay for permits to replace fixtures, and faucets and showerheads with the WaterSense logo can pay for themselves in a few months. Simply replacing your bathroom faucets can save up to 700 gallons every year. Revamping your sprinkler system is more intensive but can save you up to 100 gallons of water per cycle.
Inspections and Maintenance
Not every leak is readily apparent. Sometimes they’re so slow we hardly notice them; other times they’re in places we don’t regularly look (unless you’re Superman and can see through walls). This is why it’s so important to do annual inspections on your property. Plumbers have technology that can sense slow leaks even inside walls and can tell you what areas are most likely to cause trouble for you later on.
Many household leaks are obvious, but others are obscured by walls or cabinets. Regardless of where the leaks are in your home, faulty plumbing can cost you a lot of money if left untreated, so it’s crucial to find and fix these issues as soon as possible. Leaks can also cause thousands of dollars worth of water damage to your floors, walls, and furniture, so don’t just put a pan out and forget about it. Call a plumber to find and repair the problem as soon as you can. Doing this can prevent a minor incident from becoming a costly homeowners insurance claim.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Highlands Ranch Vs Hire a Plumber?
Most of the time, a plumbing issue on your land is 100% your problem, as it’s your property. There are a few times, however, when it’s a better idea to start by calling Centennial Water.
A leak on your property is generally your problem, but the tricky part can sometimes be telling exactly where it is. Is it the sprinkler line (your problem) or the intake from the water main (the City’s problem)? One way you can tell is by turning off the water shutoff valve for your entire house. If the reading on the water meter is still increasing, the problem is in your house, and you should call a plumber as soon as possible. If it stops moving, call Centennial Water at 303-791-2185 to let them know they have a leak. This number is open 24 hours a day, so you should be able to reach someone immediately.
Your first step if you find you’ve lost water pressure should be to check around the house. Is there an obvious leak? A flooded basement? A water heater failing? If you don’t find anything wrong, you may want to check with your neighbors to find out if they’ve lost water as well. If they have, it’s a good bet that there’s a broken water main somewhere and you should call Centennial Water. If not, you may want to look at your meter. If it’s still running, there’s almost certainly a leak on your property and you should call a plumber instead. Otherwise, report the water loss to the City.
When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Highlands Ranch?
Highlands Ranch is technically part of unincorporated Douglas County, so there are fewer regulations regarding plumbing than other cities. That said, you need a plumbing permit for larger products, especially when building a new home or altering the structure of a current home. This includes:
- Installing, removing, or replacing a water heater or boiler
- Anything that involves your home’s gas lines
- Installing a new toilet, sink, bathtub, shower, or urinal
- Installing an automatic sprinkler system
- Placing new drains
Your plumber can take care of this form for you or you can download the permit application online. From there, you can mail the form to 100 Third Street in Castle Rock, bring it to them in person, or fax it to 303-479-7271.
Smaller jobs don’t require a permit; specifically, replacing any minor part that doesn’t change the basic function of your appliances can be done without permits. This includes repairing leaks, replacing fixtures, and replacing individual sprinkler heads.