Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Metairie?
- 2 How Does the Water in Metairie Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Metairie?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Metairie?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Metairie vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Metairie?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Metairie?
In the decades since the 1940s, when the swamplands between Metairie Ridge and Lake Pontchartrain were drained, our beautiful part of Jefferson Parish has rapidly filled with homes, and many people have come to find our little corner of Louisiana paradise. Unfortunately, the joys of home also come with responsibilities and those responsibilities sometimes mean dealing with plumbing issues.
Clogged Pipes and Slow Drains
Probably our most common service call, clogs in pipes, drains, toilets, and garbage disposals can be an annoyance at best and a looming disaster at worst. The best time to call us is when you notice a drain is a little slower than usual. While you might think it’s still working and not want to spend money on a professional plumber, by having us address your problem while it’s in its early stages, we can often do so in a shorter time at a much smaller expense. Clogged or completely stopped pipes and drains can be more challenging to remedy, and if your plunger or household drain snake hasn’t done the trick, it’s a good time to call for professional help.
Surrounded by water from Lake Pontchartrain and the mighty Mississippi, and with a ground elevation practically at sea level, drains around Metairie can be a little slow at times. Add in summer rains, hurricane season, and storm surges, our drains can slow, clog, or even back up in many parts of town. Sewer lines can also be in trouble in other parts of town. While we love and protect the beautiful and stately trees in the Old Metairie Neighborhood Conservation District, those old trees have large root systems that can often take advantage of even the tiniest of cracks and gaps in underground pipes, causing breaks and blockages.
Water Heater Issues
Few things can be as satisfying as a long, hot shower, or as disappointing as finding out you don’t have any hot water. The hard water in Metairie can make the life of a water heater difficult. While hard water can help your water heater’s anode last longer because the water is less corrosive, that same water can also leave sediment to sink to the bottom of the tank where the heating element lies. Over time, that makes your water heater less efficient and can lead to its early failure. Regularly checking your water heater’s anode and flushing the tank can help it last as long as possible, whether you do the work yourself or have a plumber help.
Leaks and Broken Pipes
Leaks and broken pipes are a common service call for us, since so many things can cause such problems. Metairie sees its fair share of hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rain, and the storm surges and flooding they can cause. The extra water these add to our low-lying ground can cause the ground under foundations and around underground pipes to shift and sink, stressing or breaking pipes. The strong winds that accompany these storms can put a strain on walls and the pipes within them, sometimes weakening connections and pipe joints. And, of course, pipes can break due to corrosion, clogs, mineral buildup, physical damage, and for many other reasons.
How Does the Water in Metairie Affect Your Plumbing?
Metairie’s municipal water supply comes from the surface waters of the Mississippi River, and is treated and delivered by the Jefferson Parish Water Department through over 1600 miles of water mains and more than 20,000 valves to reach your home. Despite the frequently changing conditions of the Mississippi, our municipal water has always been of high quality, and has never had any serious violations of federal standards. The only problem our Metairie water may cause for your plumbing is caused by its “hardness”.
Water “Hardness” in Metairie
You may have heard water described as being hard or soft and not known quite what that means. Water hardness describes the dissolved mineral content of water, generally dissolved calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, and is measured in grains per gallon (gpg). Ideal water hardness generally falls into a range from 3.5 (moderately soft) to 7 (moderately hard). Water measuring outside that range may seem too soft or too hard. In Metairie, our water ranges from about 8 to 12 gpg, meaning it’s moderately hard to very hard.
Hard Water and Your Plumbing
Hard water offers some advantages to your plumbing, such as helping your water heater’s anode to last longer and making dishes feel squeaky clean. Hard water is also less likely to absorb lead or other harmful substances from older pipes or solder. Unfortunately, hard water has some drawbacks for your plumbing, too. The higher amount of dissolved minerals means more buildup inside pipes, in your hot water tank, and in your fixtures. You may have noticed mineral deposits on faucet aerators or showerheads, and you can see the residue of the dissolved minerals in spots on your glasses when they dry.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Metairie?
Budgeting for plumbing work can feel like a shot in the dark for many homeowners, though most expect it to be very expensive. If you’re one of those people, you may be pleased to know that in Metairie, the average price for plumbing work ranges from about $100 for smaller jobs up to $650 for more complex or larger jobs, with an average price of about $375. Plumbing can involve a lot of unexpected discoveries since so much is hidden inside your walls, under your foundation, or underground, so many considerations can affect what you’ll pay.
Cost Factor: Scope and Complexity of Work
Complicated, extensive plumbing work such as re-plumbing a bathroom or kitchen, installing new fixtures, or repairing a slab leak is likely to cost more. Smaller jobs, like unclogging your sink, connecting a new gas appliance, or replacing the anode in your water heater will tend to be lower in cost. Naturally, some seemingly simple jobs like unclogging a drain can turn into complicated excavation projects if the problem is in your under-slab piping. Alternatively, what seems like a major problem in your water supply lines may be a simple, clogged aerator or section of pipe.
Cost Factor: Materials and Supplies
It’s important to us that we do safe, quality work that is up to code and meets with your approval. Satisfying all of these requirements can mean specific materials and supplies are needed to be in compliance or simply to do the job right. Supply and logistical problems can also change the prices of materials we need, which can also affect your overall costs.
Cost Factor: Permits and Additional Expenses
Most plumbing work, except very straightforward repairs, will require a permit from the Jefferson Parish Department of Inspection & Code Enforcement. Meeting any permitting and inspection requirements can affect the cost of plumbing work. Other unexpected costs can also add to the final bill, including specialized equipment needed or additional workers for a project.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Metairie?
Even though the Jefferson Parish Water Department provides high-quality water at one of the lowest rates in the country, improved plumbing can still help you save on your water bill, and other plumbing-related costs.
Reducing Water Usage
Using less water is one of the easiest ways to reduce your water bill. While you might be used to conserving water if the water department has a power outage due to severe weather or other issues, you can continue following some of the same guidelines when everything is running smoothly, too. Making small but critical repairs can help, as well, such as fixing leaky faucets, or toilets that keep running after flushing. The average household wastes about 10,000 gallons of water every year as a result of these small leaks.
Preventing Further Damage
Small plumbing issues can easily grow into major problems costing you much more to fix. A small leak, left unattended, can flow along a pipe and cause an electrical short, soak ceiling tiles so they fall through, or rot out a floor, or a slightly slow drain can grow into a nasty sewer backup. Fixing small problems might cost a little bit upfront, but can save you many times when damage is prevented.
More Efficient Fixtures and Appliances
Replacing older, less efficient water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines with newer models that use less water (and usually less electricity) can save you money over time. You can see savings right away by upgrading your faucets and showerheads with water-conserving models.
As with so many things, like changing the oil in your car or rotating your tires, doing some regular maintenance for your plumbing can help prevent small problems from growing into large ones, and can help your fixtures and plumbing system last longer. Flushing your water heater, cleaning faucet aerators, and keeping your drains clear are all easy ways you can help keep your plumbing running smoothly. Our professional plumbers can also help with these tasks and can inspect your sewer lines to catch any damage at the earliest point possible.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Metairie vs Hire a Plumber?
Plumbing issues in Metairie are a shared responsibility between you and the Jefferson Parish Water Department. You are responsible for everything on your side, the water meter, and the water department takes care of the rest. In general, if you and your neighbors are all having the same issue, the problem is likely to be on the municipal lines’ side, and you should call the Water Department. If the problem affects only your home, it is probably your responsibility, and you should contact our plumbers to investigate the issue.
When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Metairie?
Most plumbing work, including the replacement or installation of water heaters, toilets, faucets, and other fixtures, requires a permit from the Jefferson Parish Department of Inspection & Code Enforcement. You must also obtain a permit for the “replacement or relocation of any standpipe, addition to or alteration of any water supply, sewer, drain, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping” according to Jefferson Parish. Basic repairs and work such as unclogging a toilet or flushing a water heater do not generally require a permit. If you’re unsure whether a permit is needed, contact the Department of Inspection and Code Enforcement or work with a professional plumber who can coordinate any permits and inspections needed.