Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Boston?
- 2 How Does the Water in Boston Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Boston?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Boston?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Boston vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Boston?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Boston?
Floods cause the most common plumbing problems in Boston, MA. Climate forecasts predict that during the next 100 years, the situation will worsen. Rising sea levels will cause more frequent floods in Boston.
Hurricanes and heavy rains already cause frequent floods in the city. This puts a drain on sump pumps used to keep Boston basements clear of water. Our plumbers in the area stay busy repairing broken sump pumps, so residents have full use of their households. These frequent floods aren’t the only problem caused by severe weather in MA.
Hurricanes and tornadoes also cause property damage, including pipe damage. The high wind from these storms tears apart the pipes and overburdens the city’s sewer lines. Debris flowing into storm drains can infiltrate sewer lines, creating a need for massive clean-up.
Boston is an old city. Some areas have nearly ancient plumbing, it seems. Many areas of its sewer lines have worn with age and when they go out, it causes a massive problem. Sewage backs up into your yard and can cause problems with the plumbing lines that connect to the sewer.
The oldest neighborhoods in Boston have the oldest plumbing. If you notice a spike in your water bill, think first of calling us to check your plumbing, especially if you live in the oldest neighborhoods of Dorchester, Charlestown, Downtown Boston, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Brighton. Some of these older homes may have lead pipes that you should upgrade to a safer material as soon as possible because lead in the water can cause numerous health problems when consumed.
How Does the Water in Boston Affect Your Plumbing?
Boston, MA has soft water. This results in two main problems with your plumbing, one caused by the lack of minerals in the water and the other caused by the high levels of sodium in the water.
The mineral content in hard water deflects lead in old water pipes. Soft water lacks the calcium and magnesium to do this. It only has a high sodium content. Soft water easily picks up lead from the inside of old water pipes. This requires plumbing work to fix. You can either call us to have the pipes replaced or we can treat the pipes to block lead leaching.
The other problem with Boston’s water is its high sodium content. Part of its sodium levels occur due to the city’s nearness to the ocean. Saltwater intrudes into the groundwater of the city. This can cause wells to go bad and damage pipes. Water high in salt content corrodes metal and iron pipes as well as water heater tanks.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Boston?
Service calls to our plumbers in Boston cost an average of $400, with most jobs ranging between $150 and $850.
Having a toilet installed or replaced costs about $535 with our plumber purchasing the toilet. Labor only costs about $230. Clearing drain clogs costs about $150 to $189. The cost of installing an acrylic bathtub ranges between $2,375 to about $2,905. You might want a drain line video inspection, and that costs between $320 to $367 in Boston, MA. Getting your septic tank cleaned or pumped costs between $338 to almost $400 for a 1,000-gallon tank. What makes plumbing repair so expensive in some cases? Three main factors influence the higher cost of plumbing in Boston.
The first cost factor, labor, stems from the city’s union-only labor force. This ensures that our plumbers earn a fair wage. It raises the prices of plumbing labor though. This is unavoidable within Boston.
The work you want to be done at your home influences costs, too. This second cost factor refers to unusual work or non-standard installations. We have a flat fee rate for standard installations that includes purchasing commonly available parts and materials. If you want to purchase your own parts and materials, especially for a toilet or sink installation, that could cost you more money. Double sinks, toilets plus a bidet, and other items such as these cost more to install because they require additional labor. Plumbing for swimming pools and home additions also costs more since it is a more complex installation. Plumbing a basement or an attic is more expensive than other areas because of accessibility issues.
You may need emergency service from our plumbers if you run into a leak or other issue outside of normal business hours. We’re available to help 24/7, but service calls on weekends, holidays, or at night tend to be more expensive.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Boston?
You can easily save yourself money by addressing small plumbing problems before they grow bigger. That slow draining sink might only require a quick snaking today, but two weeks from now, you might need to have the lines taken apart and pipes replaced. Address problems as soon as they become apparent, so they do not grow.
The same is true for leaks. Address a leaky faucet immediately so it does not cost you money on your water bill. Your water bill should remain the same from month to month, so if you see it spike, check for leaks. A leaky toilet can cost you about $150 per month while a major leak in plumbing can cost you up to $600 per month.
You can also spend a little on scheduled maintenance to save your plumbing from larger expenses later. You can purchase a maintenance plan from us that provides you with regular plumbing services to save you money over the long term by reducing wear and tear on your plumbing system. Proper cleaning and line maintenance can help your plumbing last longer without needing major work.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Boston vs Hire a Plumber?
When you notice an emergency situation such as a sewer line backed up or a water main that’s burst, you should call the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. The line problem you see is larger than your yard and impacts many more people than you can imagine. Rather than phone our plumbers, you need to call the city water company. They will repair the damaged sewer lines or mainline. You may receive a credit on your water bill because it will show larger water use than you actually had.
If you need sewer abatement or need to have your sewer laterals replaced, contact the water utility because they have a financial assistance program. You can apply for funding for the sewer lateral replacement. With respect to sewer abatement, the city places a gauge on your home that measures how much water in your home is not entering the sewer system. The city credits you on your monthly bill for this amount.
The city will pay for the replacement service line on your property if you discover you still have lead pipes. The water department has a Lead Replacement Program designed to protect the health of Boston residents.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Boston?
You must obtain a building permit or construction permit when you decide to do any type of construction work on your Boston home, including plumbing work. You must obtain your permit from the city before any work begins. The Boston building code enumerates which specific types of work require a permit. Broadly, this includes items that require new construction, alterations to an existing structure, making building additions, changes in occupancy, electrical work, plumbing work, structural demolition, and installation of fire suppression systems. That means your new bathroom, adding sprinklers, having your lead pipes replaced with PVC, etc. requires a permit.
Permits aren’t free. Boston’s permit costs differ from those in other towns in the area. Permits for any type of alterations or repairs vary depending on the job scope but range from $200 to $500. That’s a lower cost than most of the US. US homeowners, on average, pay between $450 and $600 for a building permit.
Our plumbers can obtain a permit for you, which saves you time but costs a bit extra.