Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Idaho Falls?
- 2 How Does the Water in Idaho Falls Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Idaho Falls?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Idaho Falls?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Idaho Falls vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Idaho Falls?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Idaho Falls?
Idaho Falls has a humid continental climate, which comes with cold winters. Temperatures routinely drop to well below freezing, bringing the very real risk of frozen and burst pipes. Thankfully, plumbing in Idaho Falls is built for these temperatures, but this does not mean that your home is guaranteed to be immune. Make sure to get your insulation checked regularly and to run the water slightly on particularly cold days.
Most of the precipitation falls in the winter as snow. This means that summer drought is fairly common, and the area around Idaho Falls sometimes experiences agricultural shortages, especially if the snowpack is light. This means that conserving water is unusually important in this area and makes it particularly important to address leaks promptly. However, chronic water shortages have yet to be experienced, and water issues tend to be transient. Spring melt, on the other hand, can bring flooding, which can also damage pipes and sewer lines. Flood issues can also affect basements. Spring flooding tends to be reasonably predictable due to being dependent on the snowmelt, but this doesn’t always make it easy to protect your flooding. It’s very important to ensure that drains are not blocked in the spring, or you may experience slow drains or clogs.
Another common problem is “rusty” water, caused by high levels of iron, which we’ll talk about later. Some people on the outskirts of the city have septic tanks; these must be maintained and properly emptied otherwise they may cause problems. Particularly lush grass on the drain field of your septic tank is a solid indicator that you have a leak or other problem.
How Does the Water in Idaho Falls Affect Your Plumbing?
Idaho Falls often has an issue with “rusty” water. High levels of iron in the water are not a health risk unless you have a personal well. In this case, you should have your water tested for organic iron. As the water in Idaho Falls comes from ground-water wells, iron naturally dissolves in it from the rocks. Iron can also come from corroded cast iron pipes, pumps, etc. Excessive iron can cause the water to look rusty or red and can stain tubs, sinks, and items washed in the water. Bacteria that feed on the iron can stick to pipes and fixtures and cause clogs and degradation of your plumbing.
Water in Idaho Falls is slightly hard. This can also contribute to clogs. Limescale can build up on fixtures, tubs, sinks, and cause stains, and it can also cause fading of your clothes. This mineral buildup can cause clogs, slow drains, and increased pressure on your pipes leading to breaks. Both hard water and iron can be dealt with by using a water softener, and you might want to talk to us about other steps you can take to protect your plumbing.
Otherwise, the water in Idaho Falls generally does not cause too many issues for your plumbing and the water quality is generally good.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Idaho Falls?
Typical costs for plumbing repairs in Idaho Falls range from $155 to around $875, depending on the job you need us to complete.
There are, however, a number of factors that can affect the cost.
Cost Factor: Scope
As the examples above indicate, the primary factor affecting cost is the scope and complexity of the job. A simple faucet repair is always going to be cheaper than installing a bathtub or a sump pump.
In some cases with repairs, we may not know the true scope of the issue until after we start to work; this can sometimes cause estimates to be low, although we do our best to avoid unpleasant surprises. In some cases, such as “rusty” water, we may have to spend some time investigating to find the source, which can also add to the cost.
Cost Factor: Location
If you are in a more outlying area, then it may take us longer to get to your property. If this is the case, then you may face an extra charge to cover our mileage and travel time. This is generally less of an issue in Idaho Falls proper, but distances in this part of the country can be significant. Also, if you are off the grid, then this might affect the costs of certain services. Dealing with a personal well or a septic tank can make things either more or less complicated and it can sometimes increase the amount of piping you are responsible for.
Also, in the winter it can take us longer to get to a location if there is significant snow and roads are not plowed.
Cost Factor: Urgency
We offer 24/7 service because we know that a pipe leak or a broken water heater can be a very real problem and one which seldom crops up during normal working hours. In the winter, things can be even more urgent.
You should expect to pay more for service which is delivered on weekends, holidays, and after hours, and for service which is urgent after a weather event such as a winter storm. However, you can be sure that we will get to your emergency job as quickly as possible and get everything back in order quickly.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Idaho Falls?
Better plumbing can always save you money. Idaho Falls has the peculiarity of charging both a water fee and an irrigation fee; the latter is based on the typical water usage and is not metered. Almost no residential properties are metered meaning that you pay a flat fee for your water regardless of usage. This reduces the typical benefit of improving plumbing in that it saves water, but it does not eliminate all of the benefits.
However, good plumbing can save you money even if you are lucky enough not to have a meter. First of all, replacing old pipes and fixtures can improve the resale value of your home, especially if your home was built before 1986 and has lead pipes. Fixing problems quickly can also save you money in the long run; the longer you leave a problem, the more it will cost to repair. Because of this, it is worth getting your plumbing inspected by our experts regularly, especially in the fall.
Finally, Idaho Falls’ cold winters bring an increased risk of pipes freezing. Making sure that your plumbing is properly insulated will reduce this risk substantially. A frozen pipe that then bursts can cause significant water damage and flooding, costing you money and time. Avoiding pipe bursts is comparatively cheap. Always remember to run your water slightly on cold days so as to reduce the risk of freezing. This is not a waste of water, because a burst pipe will waste a lot more water than just running it as a trickle.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Idaho Falls vs Hire a Plumber?
As in most places, you are responsible for the pipes in your home and the utility company is responsible for the mains and the water line to your home. As the vast majority of properties in Idaho Falls are not metered, although newer properties may have a water meter vault or pit installed in case this changes. If this is the case, you are responsible for your pipes to the vault or pit. If not, then your responsibility ends at the valve to the lateral line. Anything beyond that is the responsibility of the utility company.
If in doubt, it is generally best to call our plumbers, but you should call the utility company if you see standing water in your yard or driveway that is closer to the street. You should always call the utility company if you experience a sudden drop in water pressure, especially if you are not the only one. This indicates a water main issue and you should not assume somebody else has reported it. If they have, then the utility company will be able to tell you what is going on and the status.
Bear in mind that water restrictions may sometimes happen in particularly dry summers. Drought can also lower your water pressure, so it is worth considering that when water levels are low there may appear to be a problem when in fact there is not.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Idaho Falls?
Generally, you need a permit for anything other than basic repairs. If you start work without the required permit(s), then the city will double the inspection fee. You will be liable for this fee.
We will be able to tell you what permits you need for the work. Permits are never needed for genuine emergency repairs but may be needed when we go in to resolve underlying problems. Permit fees in Idaho Falls are based on the overall cost of the work, and as the work cost and scope can increase this can be complicated. Don’t worry, we’ll make the estimate for you and then tell you what the permit is likely to cost.
An inspection is required after permitted work, and we will also make sure that it is scheduled properly. You will be charged the cost of the permit and the inspection fee.