Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Baltimore?
- 2 How Does the Water in Baltimore Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Baltimore?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money In Baltimore?
- 5 When Should You Call The Water Utility Company In Baltimore Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Baltimore?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Baltimore?
There are some problems that plague plumbing systems no matter where you live. Issues like clogged drains, running toilets, and broken water heaters are universal. Our plumbers are well-equipped to deal with these problems because they encounter them in their customers’ homes every day. For Baltimore homeowners, though, there are a few specific plumbing issues that come up more often. These are the ones you’ll want to keep an eye out for:
- Sewer pipes damaged by trees. Baltimore is a city that loves trees, planting more than 8,000 of them every year. While that’s great for the environment and your utility bill, established trees can be bad news for your plumbing. Strong roots can invade your pipes, creating issues like slow drains and sewage backup. It’s difficult to know if it’s a tree causing your plumbing issues, though, unless you have the help of our professionals. We can run a camera down your pipes and look for evidence of invasive roots. If roots are causing your plumbing problems, we can be safely cleared out without damaging the tree.
- Low water pressure from old pipes. Baltimore is actually older than the United States. It was founded in 1729. Some homes in the city are nearly that old, especially in historic districts like Mount Vernon. While (hopefully) the plumbing isn’t quite that old, there is plenty of old plumbing left in the city. Many older pipes are steel, which was state-of-the-art at the time of installation. Unfortunately, though, those steel pipes are long overdue for replacement. Over time, steel corrodes. That means those old pipes often have major leaks or create clogs and backups in plumbing systems.
- Pipes bursting due to cold weather. If you’ve lived in Baltimore for long, you know how bitterly cold our winters can be. When the temperatures drop below zero, the number of calls we get for plumbing issues goes up. That’s because frozen pipes are prone to bursting, creating a massive issue for a homeowner. This is a plumbing emergency, and you’ll want to get our plumber to your home right away to help you fix it. If you don’t, the water could end up damaging your home. Our plumber can also help make sure it won’t be an issue again in the future by insulating any exposed pipes.
Some common issues homeowners experience in their plumbing, such as running toilets and dripping faucets, are actually signs of more serious issues. It’s important to have your plumbing regularly inspected by our professionals. We can help you find the underlying cause of your plumbing issues, so you can get them fixed for good.
How Does the Water in Baltimore Affect Your Plumbing?
The good news is Baltimore has terrific drinking water. It routinely ranks within the top 10 American cities with the best drinking water. The bad news is that the water you love to drink might not be so easy on your plumbing.
Baltimore has what’s known as “hard water.” That means there are natural mineral deposits in our water. Baltimore has these mineral deposits at about 185 parts per million, which is classified as very hard. While they are safe to drink, these deposits of calcium carbonate and magnesium can build up in our plumbing systems over time. You’ve probably seen evidence of this happening in your home. The build-up can leave behind water stains on your shower door, rings in your toilet, or hard white scales on the end of your faucet.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about hard water unless you install a water softener. The best thing to do is have your plumbing system inspected by our professionals annually. That way we can address any signs of damage from hard water build-up as soon as possible.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Baltimore?
If you need to call our plumbers in Baltimore, you’ll probably be wondering how much the service will cost. Our plumbers typically change around $60 an hour for basic plumbing tasks and up to $100 for more complicated plumbing jobs. Your cost will vary depending on:
Cost Factor: The Complexity of the Work
If you need our plumber for a common issue such as a running toilet, you’ll pay a lower hourly fee for the work. We may instead charge a flat fee. In either case, it shouldn’t cost you much to have minor plumbing issues fixed. However, if you have a more complicated plumbing job for them, you’ll pay more. More complex jobs might require more than one of our plumbers, or they may need special equipment to get it done. For complex jobs, such as re-piping a house in the Fells Point neighborhood, you should prepare to pay more. Remember, too, that the longer you put off a repair, the more expensive it’s gets to fix. It’s better to address plumbing issues while they are still minor.
Cost Factor: When You Need It Done
Plumbing emergencies rarely happen at convenient times. It’s more likely you’ll have a plumbing problem on the weekend or in the evening. That’s when the whole family is home and putting more strain on your plumbing system. Calls during normal business hours are usually less expensive than service calls made on weekends and evenings. So if you find yourself in need of our emergency plumbing services, you’ll be paying a higher rate.
Cost Factor: The Materials Required
Some plumbing jobs need something simple like a new float in a toilet tank. Other jobs will need a lot more, such as copper piping for a home in Bolton Hill. You’ll need to cover the cost of the materials for your plumbing job, along with the cost of labor. You can ask for a quote before we get started, so you have an idea of what the final bill will be when it comes to materials and labor. Our plumber can also help you find solutions that fit into your budget.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money In Baltimore?
Absolutely. Not only could better plumbing save you money, but it’s good for the environment, too. Better plumbing will help save you money on:
- The cost of replacements. All plumbing eventually needs replacing, no matter how good it is. But when you invest in quality parts, they can last for decades. That means you’ll pay less for plumbing fixtures like toilets, sinks, and pipes over your lifetime.
- Plumbing service calls. Lower quality plumbing fixtures are going to need more service calls. They’ll clog more, leak more, and need more maintenance. When you pay for better plumbing services, there is a better chance that those issues will get fixed right the first time. That means you won’t need to pay for extra visits from our plumbers.
- Your monthly water bill. The Baltimore City Department of Public Works offers many tips on water conservation. Most of them revolve around taking care of your plumbing. Cheap plumbing fixtures and low-quality repairs can lead to leaks, which can waste hundreds of gallons of water every year. You’ll pay for every gallon. The fewer leaks, the less you’ll pay on your monthly water bill.
When Should You Call The Water Utility Company In Baltimore Vs Hire a Plumber?
If you are having a plumbing issue on your property, then you’ll want to call us. This is the case even if you think the issue is because of a problem with the water main or sewer line coming off of the city pipes. The water main and sewer lines are your responsibility once they are on your property. If for some reason, your plumbing problem requires you to contact the city of Baltimore, then our licensed plumbers will know who to contact and the best way to do it.
If the plumbing issue is on city-owned property, then you’ll want to contact the Baltimore County Public Works Department. They will inspect and report the leak to the correct authorities. This includes broken water mains and leaking fire hydrants.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Baltimore?
If you or our plumber are fixing a clog or leak on an existing plumbing fixture, you shouldn’t need a permit. For most other plumbing projects, though, you will need to apply for a permit. This includes:
- Replacing your water heater
- Replacing old plumbing fixtures
- Installing natural gas appliances
- Installation of backflow preventers
- Installing higher capacity plumbing fixtures
If you replace, install, convert, or remove a piece of plumbing, then you will probably need a permit. If you aren’t sure, you can contact the Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development. This is the department that handles plumbing permits.
The permitting process is all handled online. For most projects, you’ll need to fill out a form and explain the project. For more complicated work, you’ll need to submit plans or a sketch of the project and wait for an inspection. The more complicated your project, the longer it will take to get your approved permit. However, for many basic plumbing projects, permits can be ready for payment in under an hour.
The permitting process isn’t always straightforward, though. Many projects will also require a licensed plumber like Mr. Blue Plumbing. While some homeowners prefer to take the DIY approach, this is an area where hiring our professionals can actually save you time and money. They’ll be able to help you with the permit process, make sure you submit the correct paperwork, and get proof that the work was up to code. That can help you out later on when you decide to sell your home.