Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Pocatello?
- 2 How Does the Water in Pocatello Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Pocatello?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Pocatello?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Pocatello vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Pocatello?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Pocatello?
Pocatello is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous places in the world. With the Portneuf River at your doorstep and the Bannock Range in your backyard, there’s not much more a person would want. But homeowners in Pocatello face the same problems as anywhere else. These can include:
- Backed-up, clogged, or slow drainage- This is common due to the river overflowing or dumping silt into the pipe system.
- Fixture leaks (especially in water heaters and older plumbing)- Fixture leaks are common in Pocatello because they are a symptom of older houses, and Pocatello has many older neighborhoods.
- Preventative maintenance such as upgrading pipes
Neighborhoods with older houses, such as those close to Old Town, may have an increased need for plumbing services. Of course, it’s important to balance the cost of having plumbing work done with the cost of a repair in the case of a major failure, and that’s especially true in historic buildings (where the restoration can cost more than the repair itself).
How Does the Water in Pocatello Affect Your Plumbing?
The city of Pocatello gets most of its water from the Lower Portneuf Valley Aquifer, deep underground. This makes it some of the cleanest drinking water out there, even before the Pocatello Water Department stores and cleans it. It’s also some of the hardest water in the country, at 350 parts per million or (20.5 grains per gallon) of calcium carbonate. This isn’t necessarily bad but comes with its own set of problems (beyond having to replace your showerheads more often).
If your drinking water comes from a well, you have a different set of concerns. Owners are responsible for making sure their own drinking water is clean and safe to drink, and many of the hazards that can lurk in well water are invisible. These can include microorganisms (especially if you have a septic system as well), nitrates and nitrites from fertilizer runoff, and heavy metals that leach into the water table. It’s important for well owners to test regularly for these contaminants. In Bannock County, nitrates and bacteria are the most common culprits, so testing annually is a good idea even if your water looks and tastes fine. These contaminants can also make the water more acidic, which causes faster corrosion in pipes and fixtures, so it’s doubly important to get a test kit from your favorite hardware store.
On Water Hardness
All water, unless it’s distilled, contains trace amounts of dissolved minerals such as calcium carbonate and magnesium. These come from the ground the water flows through, and are harmless to drink. But water with a high concentration of these minerals (more than 10 grains per gallon) is considered “hard,” and having hard water can lead to issues such as limescale that can clog or even break pipes and fixtures. Hard water is also why your hands feel slimy sometimes after you wash them, and is the primary cause of soap scum on dishes and clogged coffee makers. Homes in Pocatello deal with more of these issues than the average American household, and so it’s important to keep the water hardness in mind as you do maintenance on your home. There are little things you can do (such as occasionally running vinegar through your shower head to unclog it) or larger ones (such as getting a water softener for your home) if you find it’s too difficult to keep your dishes, hair, and pipes clear.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Pocatello?
The short answer is that the cost of plumbing work generally depends on the nature of the job. Routine plumbing jobs in Pocatello can usually cost between $60 and $65 per hour, with more complex repairs costing up to $95 per hour. Emergency repairs will also tend to cost more than routine maintenance (which is another good reason to have inspections done).
Type and Complexity of Service
Obviously, a tiny leak on an exposed basement pipe is going to cost less to repair than a broken-down water heater. Not only does the water heater require more expensive parts and more intensive labor, but a single exposed pipe is easier to access and remove. Likewise, a leaking pipe inside a wall will be harder to diagnose and repair than that exposed basement pipe, simply because it’s harder to find and reach it. Additionally, a dripping faucet is usually over a drain and thus will cause less damage than a broken pipe.
Time is money, especially when it comes to plumbing. The more flexible your plumbing plans are, the less you’ll end up paying for the privilege. Of course, you can’t foresee everything that could happen in your home, but it’s much easier to repair a dripping pipe during the daytime than it is to stop a flooding basement at 3 in the morning. The more you keep on top of potential issues, the cheaper your plumbing work will tend to be. Emergency work always comes at a premium.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Pocatello?
Better plumbing can always save you money, no matter where you are! Modern technology (especially fixtures such as faucets, water heaters, and showerheads) is designed to optimize your water usage, meaning you use less water overall and save money on your water bill. Additionally, there are factors such as repair costs to consider. It’s always going to be cheaper to inspect your plumbing and potentially upgrade it than to fix the damage caused by a break.
Preventative Inspections and Maintenance
One of the best ways to save money on plumbing is to know what specific issues you’ll have to deal with in the future. Hiring a plumber to inspect your water system, sewer line, and drains can prevent clogs and leaks from becoming emergencies and damaging the rest of your house (or preventing you from using your water while you wait for a fix).
Never underestimate the power of a small amount of water. Left untreated, small leaks can become big problems, and you’re always better off spotting them before they cause too much damage. If your home is unusually humid, you discover water damage in your walls or ceilings, or you’re just not sure why your water bill is getting more expensive, it’s a good idea to call a plumber to investigate and fix the issue.
Whether you use city water or well water, it’s critically important to keep the groundwater plentiful. It can take years for aquifers to replenish. One of the easiest ways to do your part is to reduce your water usage. Low-flow showerheads and faucets are a good idea, and a plumber can install them quickly and without great expense if you’re not handy or confident enough to do the job yourself. Fixtures with the WaterSense label meet the EPA criteria for water savings and can bring enough savings on your water bill to pay for themselves within a few months. Simply upgrading your faucets can save you up to 700 gallons a year.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Pocatello vs Hire a Plumber?
You can deal with most minor plumbing issues by hiring a plumber unless the issue is obviously the city’s (such as a broken water main). There are a number of situations in which it’s better to start by calling the Pocatello Water Department, though.
The principle is true across the country: if the leak is in a pipe you own, you’re responsible for fixing it. Sometimes this is easy to tell: if the water is coming from under your kitchen sink, it’s your problem. If a municipal main is spewing water in the middle of the street, that’s the city’s problem. Slow, subtle leaks are nearly always up to you to repair. The trouble is, these pipes are usually hidden in cupboards, attics, and walls, meaning that you may need a plumber just to help you find the area that needs to be fixed. Thankfully, Mr. Blue Plumbing has technology that can help with this, so you don’t need to be afraid of tearing into all your walls just to find where that barely-audible dripping sound is coming from.
If you suddenly lose water pressure in your home, it can be hard to tell the source of the issue. Is the problem in your home or on public property? Generally, sudden drops in water pressure are the result of damage to a municipal line. First, take a look around your property to make sure there isn’t any obvious damage where the lines are. If there isn’t, check with your neighbors to see if they’ve lost water as well. In these cases, you’d contact the Pocatello Water Department emergency line at 208-234-6181. If you do find issues on your property, that’s when to hire a plumber instead.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Pocatello?
The city of Pocatello follows the 2018 Idaho State Plumbing Code, which requires permits for most large-scale plumbing work. This can include:
- Installing plumbing in new-built homes or remodeling existing work
- Maintenance and inspections of sewer and water lines
- Installing lawn or fire sprinklers
- Inspections of plumbing
- Replacing water heaters
- Installing water conditioning equipment (including water softeners)
For minor work such as leak repairs, no permits are required.