Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Columbia?
- 2 How Does the Water in Columbia Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Columbia?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Columbia?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Columbia vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Columbia?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Columbia?
Homes in Columbia are vulnerable to flooding, especially given that the average rainfall is about 50% higher than the national average. If your home has a basement, it can flood during heavy rains, storms, and hurricanes. It can also flood due to broken water heaters, plumbing malfunctions, and failing sump pumps. Our plumbers can determine the underlying cause of standing water in your basement to immediately remove the water and reduce the amount of water damage caused by the event. We recommend evacuating a flooded property as soon as possible and staying away from the basement. Depending on the nature of the flood, the water could be contaminated with sewage that presents an additional health and safety risk.
Hard Water Issues
Maryland’s water systems have an average water hardness level of moderately hard or 118 PPM of trace minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals don’t negatively impact the health or quality of the water. However, hard water can leave behind buildup in and around plumbing fixtures connected to public water systems. These deposits can interfere with mechanical function, such as moving parts in washing machines and dishwashers. Severe scale deposits can restrict taps, narrow the interior diameter of plumbing pipes, and even make local valves seize.
Homeowners can address hard water with in-home water softeners and appliance-specific filters. These tools can soften the water with salts or filter the water through reverse osmosis for use in kitchens, appliances, and bathroom fixtures.
Fixture Leaks and Malfunctions
Some of the most common plumbing issues in Columbia are the repair or adjustment of leaking, broken, and clogged plumbing fixtures. These routine problems include leaky pipes, dripping sinks, and toilets, installing devices to prevent water hammering, and other minor repairs to keep your home in optimal living condition. These problems occur due to general wear and tear over time and may not immediately pose a risk of danger or water damage to your home. They’re more prevalent in Columbia than other areas because of the corrosive hard water and the mineral deposits it can leave behind in your plumbing system.
However, it’s important to address small plumbing problems as soon as possible. Small leaks can quickly add up to gallons of wasted water each month, and small cracks can develop into large-scale corrosion and broken pipes over time. We recommend proactively monitoring these problems so you can have them fixed before they turn into plumbing emergencies. Routine maintenance service plans can also help you stay on top of potential plumbing problems that can affect your home.
How Does the Water in Columbia Affect Your Plumbing?
Columbia is in Howard County, which pulls its water from Baltimore City in communities with public water west of Interstate 95. Baltimore area water comes from the North Branch Patapsco River, Susquehanna River, and the Gunpowder Falls, as well as reservoirs that collect water for treatment and consumption. Columbia water has been found to have traces of chromium and hormones that can potentially affect residential drinking water. Residents can ensure the safety of their drinking water by installing filters in their faucets, fixtures, and appliances.
Filtration systems can also remove traces of minerals, like calcium and magnesium, that contribute to hard water. While hard water is generally safe for use and consumption, it can build up on fixtures and inside plumbing, leaving film or layers of scale deposits that damage your equipment over time.
The water in Columbia is below mandated lead and copper testing levels, which means the water is safe from the source. However, older individual plumbing systems in residences can introduce hazardous traces of metals. We recommend calling us to have your water tested, flushing your tap before using water, and replacing lead pipes or pipes with potentially hazardous metals in your home.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Columbia?
The price of plumbing repairs and upgrades can vary a lot depending on the type of repairs, the condition of the plumbing overall, and even the season in which you need plumbing services. Most repairs in the area fall between $100 and $800. Consider these three factors that can have the biggest effects on the total costs you may face:
How Quickly You Need Plumbing Services
If you need emergency plumbing services or have an inflexible schedule, you can expect to pay more for those services. We have plumbers available for emergency service calls and plumbing disasters that need to be addressed as quickly as possible; our team is available overnight, during the weekends, and on federal holidays. However, these services often have an additional surcharge. Also, if you’re scheduling an immediate services appointment when there’s high demand, such as just after a severe storm, you may incur additional costs to receive a fast response.
If you’re upgrading your home to put it on the market or have a strict schedule for repairs and renovations, that can also affect the cost. Maintaining tight timelines for complex projects will increase the total cost of the project.
The Complexity of the Plumbing Repairs
Many plumbing repair projects are more complex than they look on the surface, and this can affect the total cost. For example, a leaking pipe may be doing more than dripping under the sink. The connecting pipe may be corroded due to age and hard water buildup, requiring extensive repairs and repiping. We can’t make detailed estimates over the phone or know the underlying cause of developing plumbing issues without assessing the area. However, our plumbers will provide a detailed estimate if any project has a significant change in scope so our customers always stay apprised of costs and their plumbing options.
Labor and Time
Most plumbing tasks and repairs are not flat fee costs. Instead, multiple different factors go into formulating the final cost, including permits and administrative fees, the cost of parts and materials, and labor hours. The more time it takes for a plumbing task to be completed, the larger the final bill is likely to be. However, we can provide an estimate of the time required and inform you of the hourly rate for services. Our licensed plumbers who are certified to work in Maryland can provide fast resolution to plumbing problems and can complete complex plumbing projects much faster than homeowners and provide warranties for completed work.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Columbia?
Better plumbing can help you save money in the care and maintenance of your home. Proactive plumbing maintenance can help catch damaged pipes, broken fixtures, and failing sump pumps or water heaters before they develop into time-sensitive plumbing emergencies. If we can replace a worn washer or a length of pipe under your sink when there’s just a small drip of water, this can save you money on large-scale water damage, extensive repiping projects, and completely new fixtures and appliances. Preventative maintenance calls can be handled at the most cost-effective times, further reducing costs you might have faced for emergency service calls.
But better plumbing can do more than avert future plumbing disasters. It can help you save money on your utility bill every month. Leaking sinks and constantly running toilets drive up your water bill. Outdated showerheads and faucets can have an output of multiple gallons per minute instead of maintaining a more environmentally friendly rate. By switching to efficient, eco-friendly appliances and fixtures, you can reduce your home’s water footprint.
Modern plumbing fixtures can also include smart sensors that detect moisture and water leaks. These early warning systems can keep you apprised of conditions in your home, such as small leaks in your guest bathroom or a severely cracked pipe while you’re away from home. With these devices, you can monitor your home’s conditions for even more proactive maintenance and cost savings.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Columbia vs Hire a Plumber?
Calling in a plumbing-related emergency quickly can minimize the potential damage to your property or the surrounding area. But knowing whether to call our plumbers to inspect plumbing on your property or Howard County’s sewer and water department can be tricky. As a general rule, we recommend calling your utility company or the county department if you notice signs of a broken water main, water leaking underground in public spaces, and any plumbing-related issues that seem to affect more than your property. Residents can contact the county online or via telephone.
However, if the plumbing issue originates from your property, we recommend contacting us for emergency assistance or a scheduled service appointment. Issues such as changes in water pressure, poor performance of a plumbing fixture, signs of water damage in your home, and other isolated problems indicate an issue with the plumbing in your home.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Columbia?
Howard County requires homeowners and licensed plumbing contractors to file an application for a permit for most plumbing projects. The county has an online permitting system that allows residents and professionals to apply at any time. Along with having a permit on file, you may also be required to schedule an inspection by the county. Howard County officials need to inspect any work down on water or sewer projects, including parts replacement and repairs. Residential plumbing permits are required for installing fixtures, including water heaters, water boilers, sewer ejectors, sump pumps, and laundry tray pumps. Depending on the repairs or modifications being made, your property may also need to undergo a backflow prevention inspection.
When you hire our plumber to handle your water or sewer repairs, we handle the permit filing process, manage the payment of the appropriate filing fees, and schedule the inspection to minimize disruption to your home or property.