Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Bowie?
- 2 How Does the Water In Bowie Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Bowie?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Bowie?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Bowie Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Bowie?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Bowie?
If you live in a house long enough, you’ll encounter common plumbing issues like a leaky tap or a running toilet. Some problems are more common than others though. In Bowie, these are the three you’ll encounter most often:
- Discolored water. Bowie experienced a major population boom between the 1960s and 1970s with the population rising over 3000%. That’s when the city annexed the Levitt planned community of Belair Estate. A lot of the plumbing infrastructure in Bowie was put into place then, too, including the city’s pipes. During this era, it was common to use galvanized steel. Unfortunately, that steel has a shelf life, and after the zinc coating wears off after a couple of decades, the pipes can start to rust. If you have discolored water in your home, it’s probably rust from the city’s pipes. It’s not unsafe, but it is unpleasant and can discolor your clothing if it gets into the washing machine cycle. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this, other than installing a water purification system in your home. You may also want to have your own pipes checked to make sure they aren’t also corroded steel and contributing to your rust problem.
- Broken water and sewer mains. Rusty water isn’t the only issue caused by those corroded steel pipes. Eventually, corrosion can become so severe that the pipes break entirely. This isn’t just an issue for the city, but for property owners as well. Many of the pipes leading from the city’s main lines are also made from galvanized steel that’s long past its prime. If these pipes break, you can end up with flooding, sewer backup, and water damage. Replacing them with PVC pipes is the best option. These will last for decades, so they should be the last pipes you ever have to buy for your property. That could help increase your property’s value when you choose to sell it, too.
- Clogged pipes. Clogged pipes can happen for many reasons. You might put too much grease down the kitchen sink. Hair clogs up shower drains pretty quickly too. In Bowie, though one common cause of clogged pipes is invasive roots. We have a healthy and abundant tree population here, and the roots of those trees are strong enough to get into the pipes underground. Once there, they thrive on the water supply and grow quickly. Eventually, they can cause your drains to slow and then stop entirely. An experienced plumber in Bowie will have special equipment that allows them to clear the drains without damaging the tree or your landscaping.
How Does the Water In Bowie Affect Your Plumbing?
The rust in Bowie’s water supply is intermittent, and shouldn’t have an effect on your plumbing system as a whole. If you experience rust, allow the water to run for a little while until it becomes clear again.
However, this is another aspect of Bowie’s water that could negatively affect your plumbing. That’s due to where our water comes from. Bowie gets its water from aquifers, which are sources of underground water. Water from the ground is usually safe, but it can have high levels of minerals in it. This is what’s considered hard water. On average, Maryland has a water hardness level of around 118 parts per million (ppm). The minerals in the water are safe to drink, but they can damage your plumbing through mineral buildup.
The limescale that builds up in your plumbing fixtures and appliances can cause them to be less efficient. In serious cases, limescale and hard water can bring some appliances, like your hot water heater, to a stop. To prevent this, you can run white vinegar through some appliances to reduce the hard water deposits inside them. You can also have a plumber in Bowie install a water softener in your home.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Bowie?
Plumbers can help you with a lot of different issues in your home. They can do everything from fixing a running toilet to remodeling a bathroom to installing a new water heater. Because of that range of skills, what you’ll pay a plumber will vary depending on the project. Typical plumbing repair jobs range in price from $150 to $750, with most homeowners paying an average of $450 for a repair job. These are the factors that will impact your cost:
How Long the Job Will Take
Some plumbing jobs can take as little as an hour such as repairing a running toilet. Other jobs, like putting in new mains or remodeling a bathroom, can take days. Your plumber will estimate how much time they think the job will take and add that into their estimate. Most plumbers charge around $60 an hour for their time, sometimes more if they have a lot of experience or specialized knowledge.
What Materials and Parts They’ll Need
Almost every plumbing job will need materials and parts of some kind. It may be a $5 float for your toilet or $5,000 worth of copper piping. Older homes, such as those found in Old Town Bowie, typically need more replacement parts than newer homes. Your plumber will get the parts and materials for you and add the cost of them onto your final bill. Talk to your plumber at the beginning of the project about your budget, so they can source the right materials at the right price.
When You Need the Job Completed
You’ll pay more for an emergency repair or rushed plumbing job. That’s because your plumber will probably have to put off or even drop other clients to get to your job. They may also need to bring on additional labor to get the work done quickly. If you can wait, you might get a better deal. This is especially true after something like a big cold snap when plumbers need to fix a lot of burst pipes. However, these sorts of plumbing emergencies can’t wait. Paying a fee for an emergency plumber will be a lot less expensive than paying for water damage mitigation.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Bowie?
Yes! When you invest in your plumbing system, you’ll end up paying less in the future for both repairs and replacement. For example, if you remodel your bathroom and pay a little more for higher-quality plumbing fixtures, those fixtures will:
- Leak less
- Be more efficient with water
- Require fewer repairs
- Won’t need a replacement for decades
You’ll also save on your monthly water bill. Upgraded appliances leak less and use water more efficiently, which means you’ll end up using less water each month. That means you pay for less water, savings that can help offset the cost of your new plumbing system. It’s also great for the environment.
Bowie’s Water Utility Department offers additional water conservation tips to help you save on your monthly bill while protecting Maryland’s natural resources.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Bowie Vs Hire a Plumber?
If there is a plumbing issue on your property, you should start resolving it by calling a plumber. That’s even if you suspect the issue is being caused by a problem in the city’s water or sewer lines. Your Bowie plumber will be able to diagnose the issue. If it is because of a problem in the city’s line, they can help you get in touch with the right people to get it resolved. Homeowners are responsible for all the water and sewer lines on their property, including the sewer line that extends beyond the curb and out into the street.
You should call the water utility company in Bowie for problems such as:
- Broken water mains spraying water on the street
- Broken sewer lines leaking sewage on the street
- Backed up storm drains
- Leaking fire hydrants
- Someone illegally dumping trash or liquids into storm drains
You can reach the Bowie water utility department at 301-809-2344. For emergencies, you can contact the Police Communications Center.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Bowie?
If you are fixing or replacing an existing plumbing fixture in your home, then you won’t need a permit. That means projects such as unclogging a toilet, replacing a kitchen sink, or repairing a leaky tap don’t need a permit.
For anything else, you’ll need a permit. This includes:
- Installing or replacing a water heater
- Putting in a backflow device
- First-time installation of new plumbing fixtures
- Replacing water or sewer pipes
- Adding a new bathroom to your home
If your project adds, removes, or modifies your existing plumbing system, you’ll need to get a permit for it. Some projects may require you to submit plans as well, and all projects will require an inspection from County Inspectors. This will help make sure all the work done on your plumbing is safe and meets the minimum requirements of the building code.
Working with an experienced plumber can help speed up the permitting process. They’ll be able to guide you through the application and required paperwork or even submit it on your behalf.
Prince George’s County handles permitting for the City of Bowie. You can apply for a plumbing permit through their website. You will not need an additional permit from the city for plumbing work. If you have questions about the process or aren’t sure if your project requires a permit or not, contact the Permitting, Inspections, and Enforcement Department online.