Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Bethesda?
- 2 How Does the Water In Bethesda Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Bethesda?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Bethesda?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Bethesda Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Bethesda?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Bethesda?
Bethesda residents come up against several common plumbing issues from time to time. Like anywhere else in the world, clogged drains, low water pressure, corroded taps, and similar issues will sometimes trouble residents. These issues are all made worse by the city’s hard water, which deteriorates fixtures, limits the lifespan of your equipment, and contributes to blockages, slow drains, and full clogs. Older homes that are common in the city might find themselves with off-tasting water due to the breakdown of pipes though this has become significantly less of an issue as older buildings and plumbing infrastructure have been replaced by modernized buildings related to Washington, D.C.
In the winters, over-salting roads and driveways can cause a variety of problems related to plumbing in the city. Bethesda’s “salt-wise” campaign has been used to educate residents on the damage this can cause, from environmental problems to contaminated drinking water to corrosion of pipes, pumps, buildings, and more salty water flow through. According to the water treatment facility, salt levels in the nearby rivers have been increasing from year to year, indicating this problem could get worse if it isn’t stopped soon. When Maryland residents experience abundant snowfall each year, the salt used to mitigate slipping and unsuitable driving conditions can damage their plumbing.
Another winter problem some people encounter is bursting pipes. Like anything else, pipes expand when hot and contract when cold. Pipes that are allowed to freeze solid due to a lack of water running through them can burst when the comparatively warmer water begins to flow through them again. To avoid this, keep a trickle of water running from taps during the coldest months and, if you suspect there’s a problem with your pipes, call us before you do anything risky.
How Does the Water In Bethesda Affect Your Plumbing?
The water in Bethesda comes from the Patuxent River and the Potomac River. Before treatment, the water may be contaminated by things like pesticides and chemical runoff from farms and manufacturing plants, respectively. Salt may also be present due to the winter issues discussed before. Microbes and animal waste may be in the water too. To eliminate these contaminants, the water is treated in several stages to remove solid debris, disinfect it, and neutralize its pH through the use of various chemicals, activated charcoal, and more. None of these additives that remain in the water or the small amounts of contaminants that can’t be removed are found at harmful levels once the water has been fully treated.
On the positive side of things, the water in Bethesda is remarkably clean to drink. The WSSC’s water quality report states that, in its over a hundred years of operation, there has never been a water quality violation for the community. This is good news for people and pipes alike, as the less harmful substances and contaminants flow through the treatment facilities, the less chance they have to harm the plumbing fixtures and people who use that water.
On the slightly less positive side, the water hardness rating of the Washington, D.C./Bethesda area is 119 PPM, a single point higher than the Maryland average of 118 PPM. Either way you slice it, the USGS defines this water as “hard.” Hard water is largely not harmful to humans beyond causing a strange flavor in water at very high levels, though it can definitely hurt your pipes. Hard water contains more sediments and dissolved minerals than soft water, these particles clinging to the insides of pipes and plumbing fixtures to create scale. If untreated, scale buildup can cause a lot of issues ranging from clogged pipes, low water pressure, and even breakages in pipes.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Bethesda?
Plumbing costs in Bethesda average at $425, ranging from $115 to $900 in most cases. While this is essentially the base figure for plumbing, there are a few different factors that can change how much you’ll see on your final bill. Some of the most common factors that affect plumbing costs include:
Cost Factor: Emergency Calls
Calling us out on short notice is likely to add some emergency fees to your bill. While it may be inconvenient for you, we aren’t much better off in this regard. Coming out immediately, particularly on holidays, during the weekends, or after normal hours is a hassle too. To keep this from happening, use the possibility of these fees as motivation to take better care of your plumbing and to have us inspect your pipes regularly to look for damage.
Cost Factor: Materials
The cost of materials used in a plumbing job isn’t usually factored into the per-hour price rate. As a result, you’ll have to pay for things like new toilets, new water heaters, new pipes, and similar that we need to use during a job. Higher quality fixtures will, of course, cost more upfront, but they’ll often reduce your costs in the long run.
Cost Factor: Financial Aid
Unlike other factors, certain financial aid programs can actually lower your bill. For example, the USDA offers a loan and grant program that can help to subsidize the costs of home improvements, remodels, and more. Based on your age, income level, and a few other factors, you might be eligible to receive assistance from something like this. If you do, it could reduce how much you need to pay if not completely eliminate the costs.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Bethesda?
Better plumbing will definitely save you money in Bethesda or anywhere else. By taking the proper precautions and having our plumbers inspect your pipes regularly, you’ll be able to find problems before they become too serious. Just like going to the doctor for a checkup, letting us give your house a checkup from time to time will save you the expenses associated with an emergency call if things go bad. It’s a lot easier to patch a leak than replace a pipe after all.
Beyond simple checkups, though, is the need to fix problems before they get worse. While it’s always gratifying to find an issue you didn’t know about beforehand, finally getting to the bottom of that slow drain or fixing that leaky tap is important all on its own. Not only will you save money you’re wasting on a dripping faucet or the like, but you’re also preventing future issues that may arise as a result of these less serious ones. Basically, you’re spending money in the present to save much more in the future.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Bethesda Vs Hire a Plumber?
Deciding when a problem needs our plumbers and when it needs the utility company can be a bit tricky. Not all problems are as clear-cut as they seem, especially with plumbing when the cause might be hidden behind several layers of concrete and pipes. Calling the wrong people to handle a situation will result in wasted time at best and wasted money at worst.
To avoid that from happening, try asking yourself who’s affected by a particular problem that you need fixing before you make the call. You’re going to be the one having problems (you’re not calling us to talk about your day after all), but try to find out the scope of the issues first. Are you the only one the problem is affecting or is something wrong with the neighbors’ plumbing too?
While this isn’t a foolproof means of deciding who can solve your problem, the scope of a problem does give us a lot of information. If you’re the only one without water, that probably means a pipe bursts open somewhere on your property. If that’s the case, our plumbers can get the job done. If your whole block no longer has water, though, that’s a good indicator that something is going on with the city’s water as a whole, and contacting the water utility company is a better bet.
Additionally, there are some problems that we just can’t fix even if they’re limited to a single person. In general, these would be problems that we have no legal ability to work on, like a plumbing problem in a house that isn’t yours. If we can’t get the owner’s permission to go inside, there’s not much we can do but stand there and watch. This also applies when it comes to something related to city property, such as a broken fire hydrant spraying the street.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Bethesda?
Bethesda plumbing services may require a permit depending on the job you need to be done. While the permit requirements for plumbing in the county are a bit loose at times, one of the main deciders for needing a permit is a project’s scope. This manifests most notably in the ten-percent rule, wherein a job that requires replacing 10% or less of the existing pipes in a building doesn’t require a permit or inspection to be legally completed.
Additionally, clearing clogs, fixing leaks, and general maintenance that doesn’t require removing pipes are generally free to do without a permit. These sorts of plumbing duties pose very little risk to a home’s occupants or the plumbers doing the work, so there’s not much of a need for oversight in these situations. Virtually anything else, however, will require that a permit be granted. This would include pipework beyond the scope of the ten-percent rule, replacing a water heater, and various other activities.
The issue of permits is one reason we typically recommend you hire us instead of trying to DIY everything yourself. Even if your skills are up to the task, filing all the right paperwork is a challenge in and of itself. Thankfully, we’ve got plenty of experience dealing with the more boring side of being a plumber, so we can navigate the red tape for you while ensuring you get your money’s worth on the plumbing duties themselves, all while saving you the time and energy you’d spend otherwise.