Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Iowa City?
- 2 How Does the Water in Iowa City Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Iowa City?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Iowa City?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Iowa City vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Iowa City?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Iowa City?
Iowa City pipes and appliances can fall victim to many common plumbing problems. These issues can arise no matter where you are in the country and include things like:
- Leaky faucets
- Slow drainage
- Clogged drains/toilets
- Insufficient water heating
- Dripping pipes
- Running toilet
The climate and conditions of Iowa City can also contribute to additional troubles for your plumbing.
Cold Weather Leads to Frozen Pipes
Iowa City has a relatively long cold season compared to the rest of the country. It lasts for just over three months, from November 30 to March 2. These wintry days bring blustering weather and can cause daily high temperatures to still fall below 41 degrees. As you’re well aware, 41-degree days are a blessing for Iowa winters, frequently bringing temperatures below freezing or even sub-zero.
Though kids may appreciate these freezing days and the school cancellations they occasionally bring, your pipes are most definitely not a fan. Even tricks like leaving a faucet dripping can often fail to protect your plumbing from succumbing to the cold. Unfortunately, frozen pipes can be a recipe for disaster.
When your pipes are frozen, you may lose all access to running water. For everyday homeowners, this can be quite an inconvenience. It can be a costly problem for landlords, as you have a responsibility to provide resources like water to your tenants.
If pipes become too cold, they are put at risk of bursting. Replacing this hardware can be expensive and complicated if you don’t hire a pro, like Mr. Blue Plumbing. Your home could also face water damage if the pipes’ water comes flooding out. Investing in strong pipes and keeping them healthy can save you a lot of money down the line.
How Does the Water in Iowa City Affect Your Plumbing?
Residents of Iowa City are blessed to have extremely safe and clean drinking water, surpassing both local and national standards. Many homes and businesses have their water sourced from deep wells, which leads to its natural purity. The Jordan aquifer is one of Iowa City’s most significant suppliers. However, these old, deep sources also come with higher levels of calcium. It’s calcium that contributes to what plumbers call “hard water.” Iowa City’s water is measured at 305 PPM (mg/L).
All drinking water is treated and filtered. Part of this process includes a “lime softening coagulation-sedimentation.” This treatment step reduces calcium hardness and can also improve the aesthetics of the water — bettering taste, smell, and color. However, the remaining hardness and the lime additives can still make an impact on your plumbing.
Is it any surprise that hard water is hard on your pipes? Its signature, calcium-rich composition can leave mineral deposits throughout your building’s piping, leading to clogs. You might know that certain piping materials are labeled as more resistant to hard-water damage. While it’s true that copper and PVC are less likely to see total blockage or hard water corrosion, small build-ups can still cause decreased water pressure.
The lime used to treat hard water comes with its drawbacks. If you’ve ever seen white build-up around your tub or the mouth of your faucet, lime deposits may be to blame. Although this substance typically does more harm than good, it can be unpleasant to look at and, in extreme cases, may create blockages of its own.
Fortunately, there are many tried-and-true methods for treating the build-up of both calcium and lime in your pipes. And while you can likely find DIY solutions for removing noticeable staining, you’ll need a professional plumber like Mr. Blue Plumbing to get to the heart of the issue.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Iowa City?
Homeowners in need of plumbing service in Iowa City can expect to pay anywhere between $103-$747. As we mentioned earlier, a wide variety of plumbing problems could arise in your building, and the cost is largely associated with the type and amount of work you need to be done. However, the average cost lands at around $425.
As you budget for a pipe check-up or upgrade, here are some factors to consider that may help determine your overall bill.
Cost Factor: Labor Costs
One of the primary costs associated with plumbing is the price you pay for service and expertise. While our plumbers never seek to take advantage of our clients, the hours they spend on your project need to be compensated accordingly, in addition to any material costs.
Increased labor costs may also be applied if you require emergency services. Many calls to our experts come after a storm, and the high rate of jobs and the emergency nature of a situation can lead to higher prices. If your pipes are on the verge of bursting or are leaking water into your building, you’ll need that fixed as soon as possible. 2 AM fixes typically come with a higher price tag, though.
Cost Factor: Location of the Problem Pipes
This factor goes hand-in-hand with the first one. If your problematic pipes are located in a hard-to-access area, the process of reaching them will be more time-consuming. This leads to increased hours of our workers’ time and, thus, higher labor expenses.
The overall cost of your pipe project may also go up if drywall or other appliances are removed to access the plumbing. While our plumber will never leave your home in a state of disarray, some things may need to be damaged or displaced to address the most urgent issue.
Cost Factor: Material Cost of Replacement Items
Our expert plumbers can help you make an informed decision about what materials will best suit your building’s needs. In calcium-rich Iowa City, copper or PVC pipes are popular choices. However, each material comes with its costs, based on lifespan and availability. These costs can be raised or lowered per unit, depending on the needed width, thickness, and size of the replacement pipe.
If one of your pipes burst, it may be wise to replace a whole system of them at once. Bursting can be a sign of age or vulnerability. Though it may initially raise expenses, it can save you a lot of money and home damage down the line.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Iowa City?
Plumbing can definitely save you money — and not just through preventative measures like the one mentioned above. At the moment, a slightly leaky faucet may seem like a minor inconvenience. Those little drips can quickly transform into money running down the drain if not addressed, however.
The build-up in your pipes can also decrease water pressure or increase the effort it takes for your plumbing to run smoothly. Filling up a bathtub or flushing a toilet is much more efficient when water can move through your pipes without a problem. By consulting our plumbers about blockages, you can save money and time.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Iowa City vs Hire a Plumber?
Occasionally, leaks or increases in your water bill aren’t the results of your property’s plumbing. The water utility company has its plumbing systems, and glitches in their piping can cause problems on your end.
Your plumbing causes leaks within your own home. However, an underground leak in your front or backyards is a bit more ambiguous. To identify the cause of the leak, turn off all of the water sources in your home. If your meter is still turning (implying that water is being used), the problem is on your end of the plumbing system. If your meter reflects all of the water being off and the leak persists, it may be time to call the water utility company.
A significantly increased monthly water bill is always a good clue that you have a leak on your property. Before you chew out the water utility company for charging you so much, it may be wise to have our plumbers determine the exact source of the problem for you. Water utility companies are all too familiar with leaks and will often provide a refund or a discounted bill if you can provide evidence of a faulty pipe.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Iowa City?
In Iowa City, a permit is required for:
- Adding fixtures
- Making repairs under floors
- Changing materials within a repair
- Installing new water lines
- Extending existing water lines
These permits can be applied for and obtained completely online. However, for even more convenience and confidence, you can outsource your permit needs to our local experts. If you choose to have our professionals do your plumbing work for you, the hassle of obtaining a permit yourself can be avoided.