Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Augusta?
- 2 How Does the Water in Augusta Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Augusta?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Augusta?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Augusta vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Augusta?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Augusta?
Going by its age, our city has a mix of old and new homes, with some historic units such as Woodrow Wilson’s childhood home dotting the neighborhoods. These present a blend of plumbing issues to the owners from leaks to blockages and appliance failure. That said, the most common issues we have handled in Augusta include:
Drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaking pipes are all quite common in Augusta. These lead to the loss of thousands of water gallons every year. On average, a household with leaks can waste over 9,000 water gallons per year.
Drippy faucets often result from a worn-out washer, O-ring, or an improperly installed valve. The city’s soft water can contribute to corrosion in fixtures, leading to leaks. However, a quick repair helps get rid of the annoying drippy noise.
As irritating as leaky faucets are, running toilets are the real trouble. This is because a toilet can waste over 20 gallons of water a day without your knowledge. Nonetheless, malfunctioning handles or self-flushing, in extreme cases, alert the homeowners to the problem.
Pipe leaks are an expensive plumbing headache. Unless they occur in an open area, such as under the sink or on the yard, some go unnoticed, leading to high water bills and structural damage. Especially, leaks occurring under the foundation can lead to foundation damage and cause a load of troubles to the entire structure.
Most of the pipe leaks we have repaired in Augusta are due to loose joints and corroded piping, especially in older homes. The soft water here in Augusta pulls mienrals away from the insides of your pipes, eventually leading to corrosion and pinhole leaks. Extreme weather changes, tree root invasion, and high water pressure are some other causes of leaks in the area.
Water Heater Issues
A water heater is a handy household appliance. When it breaks down or starts causing annoying troubles such as irregular temperature, it becomes a significant concern. In Augusta, water heater issues range from leaks to heating inefficiency and complete breakdown where the water doesn’t heat at all. In new homes, improperly fixed appliance parts account for the most problems, while leaks and heating inefficiency are more common in older houses.
Generally, leaks can be due to worn-out parts or corrosion in the main tank’s surfaces. The city’s soft water rapidly corrodes the inside of the water tank, making it less efficient and severely limiting its useful life. Replacing worn-out parts or flushing the tank to clear chemical buildups helps correct some issues. But where the leaks and problems are due to normal wear and tear and corrosion after many years of use, we usually recommend replacing the unit.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure is always a giveaway of other plumbing issues such as leaks or blockages. In most cases, a homeowner may fail to single out the primary cause unless the leaks are open, such as a wet spot on the wall, slab, or yard. In Augusta, the soft water gradually corrodes the insides of your pipes and leaves pinhole leaks where corrosion has taken place. Multiple leaks can lead to significantly decreased water pressure. Once we get called in, we analyze the situation to locate the issue, then do the necessary repairs.
Clogged drains are part of homeownership. Foreign deposits often find their way into the plumbing system, no matter how careful you are. But generally, the more cautious you are, the fewer problems you’re likely to have.
In Augusta, the culprits of drain clog are the usual ones – hair in bathroom drains, food particles in kitchen sink drains, tissues in laundry room drains, and so forth. Accidental flushing of fresheners in the toilet also does occur. Most of the blockages require quick intervention, but where the clogging affects the entire home’s drainage, we correct it from the sewer line. Some homeowners resort to using over-the-counter drain unclogging products to eliminate the minor problems, but we discourage their use as the chemicals usually ruin the drain pipes.
How Does the Water in Augusta Affect Your Plumbing?
Our water supply comes from both surface and underground sources. These are mainly the Savannah River and Cretaceous Aquifer. In Augusta, we are part of the minority regions, usually 10% or less, with hard water. The rest of the United States receives hard water, which presents unique challenges to their plumbing systems.
Generally, both hard and soft water are safe for drinking, but their minerals, or lack thereof, are what affects plumbing systems. Magnesium and calcium are the two primary minerals that contribute to water hardness. The level of hardness in water is based on the quantity of calcium carbonate present, which is rated as mg/L, or milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter. The U.S. Geological Survey grades water hardness as follows:
- 0-60 mg/L – Soft
- 61-120 mg/L – Moderately hard
- 121-180 mg/L – Hard
- 181 mg/L – Very hard
Augusta City water is about 58 mg/L, meaning it’s soft. Though soft water does not match hard water in terms of damaging the plumbing systems, it’s destructive in its unique way. Due to the low concentration of minerals, the water leaches them out of metallic plumbing pipes, appliances, and fixtures. In other words, soft water is highly corrosive, a property that ruins the pipes, appliances, and fixtures over time by causing pinhole leaks.
Another trouble in Augusta City water is contaminants. Having contaminants in the water is almost inevitable, but the treatment plants try to minimize them as much as possible. Most contaminants are byproducts of the water treatment process. For instance, using chloramine is essential as it helps keep the water safe throughout the supply line. However, with time, the chemical disintegrates the rubber linings in plumbing fixtures, pipes, and appliances.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Augusta City water contains 16 contaminants. Some are safe, while others are not, like chromium and nitrate. They also have different effects on the plumbing systems, such as corroding metal and disintegrating rubber.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Augusta?
Hiring a plumber in Augusta may cost different amounts depending on several factors. Most jobs in the area fall between $120 and $900, with an average cost of $480.
Materials are the primary cost determinant for any given plumbing project. If a client prefers using high-end materials, the quote will be relatively higher than those who choose standard products. For instance, some clients prefer using WaterSense-certified fixtures and appliances due to the associated water-saving benefits. However, installing the products is usually cost-intensive. In the same way, while most people are turning to PEX pipes, some still prefer using copper pipes, mostly due to their durability. PEX pipes are way cheaper than copper pipes, which translates to a low quote.
Like most plumbers in Augusta and the rest of the nation, our charges are mainly hourly. We charge hourly rates for most projects other than minor projects, such as fixing a sink, which calls for standard rates. Hourly rates are based on the project complexity. Generally, our rates range from $50 to $150 per hour, and complex jobs may require two or more of our experts, increasing the price.
Having looked at the primary cost factors, the actual amount you spend on a plumbing job varies depending on project complexity. For example, replacing a toilet can cost you around $400, while unclogging a drain costs about $120. On the other hand, the average cost of installing a septic system, swamp cooler, and bathtub can cost about $7,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Augusta?
Quality pays, more so on matters of better plumbing. Not only does it guarantee you peace of mind, but it can also save you thousands of dollars in the long run. The truth is, in most cases, better plumbing comes at a higher price, so you’re likely not to feel like you’re saving. But if you do the calculations, you may discover that those expensive installations pay for themselves in the long run with water and electricity bill savings.
Some sure ways of saving through better plumbing include:
Installing Water-Efficient Fixtures and Appliances
Statistics by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicate that you can recover the cost of upgrading your toilet, showerhead, and faucets with WaterSense labeled products in as little as a year. WaterSense is an EPA program that promotes water conservation by certifying plumbing fixtures and appliances that surpass the federal water-saving standards by at least 20%.
Replacing your bathroom faucet and showerhead with a WaterSense model can save you approximately $250 and $70, respectively, in water and electricity annual costs. In the same way, upgrading your old toilet with a WaterSense labeled unit can cut your water bills by $130 per year.
Installing Pressure-Reducing Valves
You can drastically reduce the amount of water you spend in your home by installing pressure-reducing valves on the main. Usually, water supply guidelines require maintaining a certain minimum pressure level to avoid contamination. This is usually about 20 psi (pounds per square inch). But the recommended levels and what you’re most likely to find in many supply lines is a pressure of between 60-70 psi. (We love the convenience of high-pressured water, don’t we?)
However, on top of loosening joints, increasing wear and tear, and eventual bursts, high-pressured water does escalate your water bills. Installing pressure valves to cap the pressure at around 35 to 40 psi can help cut down the bills without compromising your safety.
Adopt a Smart Plumbing Layout
If you’re constructing a new home, the plumbing design you adopt can save you some dollars from the onset and in the future during repiping. Designing amenities that share plumbing fixtures close to each other can significantly reduce the number of pipes needed, as they can share the supply and drain lines.
Upgrading Your Water Heater
Conventional water heaters are convenient because they also act as storage, hence perfect for large-scale use. But on-demand heaters beat them hands down when it comes to saving costs. Tankless heaters only warm water on a need basis, which leads to energy cost savings. They also tend to have fewer mechanical issues, which translates to fewer repair expenses. Again, you can use a tankless heater for 20 or more years, unlike the tank-type, which requires replacement after about 10 years. This, too, amounts to substantial savings on your replacement budget.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Augusta vs Hire a Plumber?
Your water pressure has been dwindling, inconveniencing you as you have to wait for minutes on end to fill a bucket. Whom should you call?
Not knowing whom to call when such issues arise, here are a few examples of situations highlighting when it’s ideal to call the water utility company or hire our plumbers.
When to Call the Water Utility Company
- If there’s low water pressure across the neighborhood
- If a pipe in your yard is leaking on the company’s side of the meter
- If no water is running in your home
When to Hire a Plumber
- If you’re having low water pressure in your home and the neighbors’ is okay
- If the supply line is leaking on your side of the meter
- If you notice your meter running even when no one is using water
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Augusta?
Augusta City plumbing regulations require you to obtain a permit before hiring a plumber for projects costing more than $500. This applies to all new installations and repair work. However, you don’t need a permit when doing minor repairs to the plumbing system.