Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Stamford?
- 2 How Does the Water in Stamford Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Stamford?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Stamford?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Stamford vs. Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Stamford?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Stamford?
The average age of a Stamford home is 48 years. Many of those homes built in the early 1970s still have galvanized or lead pipes. Galvanized steel pipes replaced most lead pipes in the sixties and early seventies to reduce lead exposure in homes. However, decades of water running through pipes can cause extensive rust and corrosion to the galvanized steel. Damage to your pipes can cause low and uneven water pressure, leaks, and discolored water.
We all pour food items down the drain or disposal that we shouldn’t. Fats, oils, and grease discarded down sinks are notorious for causing drain blockages. Every time we throw meat, cooking oils, butter, and sauces down the drain, we contribute to blockages that can cause sewer backups into homes over time. The Stamford Water Pollution Authority has removed over a million pounds of fats, oils, and grease (also known as FOG in the industry) from commercial and residential sanitary sewer systems.
Dripping taps, slow clearing drains, and burst pipes are also common plumbing issues that will often require plumbing expertise. But, leaks, by far, are the most common plumbing issue. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, leaks make up about 12 percent of the water used in homes. So if your faucet is dripping at a rate of one drip every second, you will lose 5 to 6 gallons of water every day or around 3,000 gallons a year.
How Does the Water in Stamford Affect Your Plumbing?
The Aquarian Water Company supplies Stamford’s water. The Stamford water supply is considered hard water and serves over 122,000 people. Northern Stamford is considered more rural, utilizing well water and septic tanks over city water. Although perfectly safe to drink, hard water stains, sinks, showers and tubs, and glassware can leave rust on clothing and a filmy residue on your skin.
Also, hard water minerals can build up in your appliances and water heater over time, reducing efficiency as scale and clogs grow. Stamford was hit by drought last year. Droughts tend to increase hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium, leading to water quality issues.
According to Aquarian’s recently released 2020 quality report, almost 161,000 water quality tests were conducted during the double challenges of the pandemic and the recent drought conditions. These included both regulated and unregulated water contaminants that can not only harm your health but can create scaling within your pipes, rust, and corrosion. The ensuing leaks and blockages can cause insufficient water pressure that may eventually mean a section of or all of the affected pipe may need replacing. Fixture strainers, hoses, and aerators can also succumb to gunky sediment, necessitating replacement. If blockages become severe, costly backups can occur inside and outside your home.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Stamford?
Plumbing is a competitive field in Connecticut, driven by the fact that there are more openings than licensed plumbers. This demand for plumbers means that the rates will be competitive, averaging around $97 per hour, including parts and materials. Time and labor can bump up the cost, as well as hiring a master plumber to do the work. Figure on $250 to $500 on average for basic repairs and installations. Complicated plumbing jobs with accessibility issues, hard-to-get fixtures or materials, and subcontracting needs will cost you more. Many plumbers have a minimum charge to apply to their first hour of work, usually in the $100 range.
Highly Specialized Labor
Plumbing is a highly specialized trade that often calls for plumbers to make house calls at all hours of the day and night. Nationally, labor factors separately at about $70 to $90 an hour for general licensed plumbers. Master plumbers can take that up a notch to $120 or more per hour. Some plumbers will charge travel fees and most plumbers charge premium prices for emergencies like mainline breaks.
- Clearing drain clog or blockage: Ranges from $135 to $175 or around $60 per hour, plus parts
- Drain line video inspection: Ranges from $330 to $380
- Sewer line cleaning: Ranges from $220 to $340
- Sewer line installation and repair: $89 per linear foot
- Sink installation: Around $150 fixed fee
- Toilet installation: Around $150 for labor only to install a pre-purchased toilet or $300 to $600 for parts and labor
Fixed fees are typical for plumbing projects in the Stamford area. Reported hourly fees are around $60. Always get at least three estimates on project costs plus labor fees. Estimates from your local plumbing professionals are usually free.
The deeper the plumbing lies in your home, the less accessible it can be. Leaks originating from outside your house but affecting your interior plumbing may necessitate a plumber specializing in outdoor plumbing. For accessibility issues, you may need a camera inspection first. You may also require permits and trenching services. Waterline and sewer line replacement can cost several thousand dollars, whereas you can expect smaller jobs to cost less than $300 in many cases.
Trenching services can be costly. Traditional trenching costs factor in depth, length, and trench width. A 3-ft. deep trench may cost $2,000, while a 4-ft. trench may nearly double the price. Trenchless sewer line repair is not yet available for every homeowner but is less costly and aids accessibility for outdoor maintenance, thereby reducing damage to your lawn.
Indoor repairs that lie deep within walls, basements, or crawl spaces are often inaccessible. Plumbers keep damage to a minimum, repairing the plumbing issue and creating new accessibility fixes as needed.
Materials Must Be Up to Code
DIYers aren’t always privy to what kind of materials must be used to keep plumbing up to code. There may be size requirements, material type requirements, structural, installation, and other connectivity requirements. It’s prudent to use suitable size hoses, appliances, and incidental materials the first time. Hiring a plumber to get the right materials needed can ultimately save you time, money, and frustration. If you need to look up Stamford plumbing codes, you will find them at the town hall. Connecticut uses the International Plumbing Code statewide.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Stamford?
The plumbing systems of many older homes have a more challenging time handling today’s modern appliances forcing more water through the pipes. Dishwashers use an average of six gallons per cycle, while a disposal uses a gallon or more each time you use it. Upgrading to smart appliances can help offset excess water usage and reduce your environmental impact.
- Look for leaks. If your water meter is still running after you turn off all your taps and appliances, you may need a plumber to come in to check for hidden leaks.
- Stop the tap drips. If you cannot stop the dripping, you may need a new aerator or a new washer. These are easy fixes from your local hardware store.
- Today’s low-flow showerheads not only get the shampoo and soap rinsed completely off you but also significantly reduce water usage, saving you money.
- Use baking soda and vinegar monthly instead of harsh drain cleaners to keep your drains in optimum condition.
Listen to your pipes and appliances. If you hear gurgling sounds that don’t go away, call your plumbing professional to check for problems with your main drain. Gurgling can also signify that your septic needs attention if you are located in North Stamford, where they are common.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Stamford vs. Hire a Plumber?
Know where your plumbing responsibility begins and ends. If you rent your home, you’ll naturally call your landlord for more than a minor fix. If you own your home, know where your pipes come out from the house and where city property begins.
If you use city water, however, there are three main pipelines that you need to locate. These are your two lateral pipelines that carry your home’s wastewater to the main sewer line. The third is the main sewer line itself.
- Upper lateral sewer line: this line is usually less expensive to repair as it lies closer to the topsoil. It runs from your home to wherever your property line ends. The end of your property line could be the curb, or it could be the street. Look at your deed or check your local assessor’s office for details. The upper lateral sewer line is always your responsibility as it lies within your property line.
- Lower lateral sewer line: this line can be an expensive fix as it lies deeper than the upper lateral and may need excavation to fix. Don’t assume that the lower lateral is not your responsibility.
- Main sewer line: call the City if you find a backup beginning from the mainline. This problem is the City’s responsibility.
If you are in rural Stamford and have a septic tank, any related plumbing issues like a shower or toilet backup will be your responsibility. Many homes now have smart meters that can alert you to leaks long before they become significant issues.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Stamford?
Ordinary repairs to structures like drains, water, soil, waste, valves, fixtures, or vent pipe leaks do not need a permit. You will need a permit, however, if a pipe has to be replaced. That would make it a new job, with new pricing and a subsequent inspection.
Stamford’s Municipal Code of Ordinances lists permit fees for both plumbings and inspections.