Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Ellicott City?
- 2 How Does the Water in Ellicott City Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Ellicott City?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Ellicott City?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Ellicott City vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Ellicott City?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Ellicott City?
One of the more stressful parts of homeownership is dealing with plumbing problems. If you need us, it is likely due to a few common issues that we see all the time. Here are the most common plumbing problems you may experience.
Water Heater Failure
If you wake up and get in the shower only to find there is no hot water, it’s safe to say your morning is shot. Not having hot water is a common plumbing issue and it usually means you have a problem with your water heater. If your water heater is electric and stops working, it could be a malfunction of one of the heating elements. If your water heater is gas, it could be that the pilot light has gone out. In the worst-case scenario, the water heater needs to be replaced. This is more likely to be the case with older models.
Another reason to call us is to unclog drains. You may be tempted to use a drain cleaner, but this is not a good idea. They are corrosive and can damage the lines. Most clogs can be fixed with a plunger. Sometimes they will need to be snaked by us. If you’re unable to clear the drain on your own, we can help. You can also prevent clogs in a few different ways. First, you should always use a drain catcher in the shower to catch stray hairs. Second, never flush baby wipes, feminine products, paper towels, and cat litter down the toilet, even if the label says ‘flushable.’ Never pour cooking oil or grease down the drains. It can harden when cooled, causing the drain to backup. Finally, if you have toddlers, you should baby-proof your toilets so they don’t flush their toys.
Invasion of Tree Roots
The State of Maryland puts great importance in their trees and tree planting, assisting residents in planting thousands of trees in the rural and urban areas through programs sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources such as planting school forests, Forest Stewardship, and Arbor Day, to name a few events. However, with all these trees, there is a risk tree roots will wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing.
We see a lot of main sewer line obstructions in the springtime. This is because plants are starting to grow, and their roots are expanding. As the roots grow, they will sometimes push their way through old pipes and main drains. This type of plumbing problem is a big one and you will need us to dig up your yard. You will also need to have a permit to begin the work as well as an inspection from the city once the job is done. One of the first signs is the slow draining of showers and tubs because roots are clogging the drain. Another sign might be an area of your yard where the plants are growing taller, faster, and greener than other areas. This is due to more groundwater.
Frozen pipes are another common problem during winter, causing cracked pipes and leaks. As water freezes, it expands in the lines, creating pressure and, in many cases, cracks. If this happens and you’re not aware of it, you could have extensive leaking and water damage once the ice melts. If you go to turn on your shower or a sink and no water comes out, you might have frozen pipes. If any of your pipes burst or crack, you will need to turn off your water and call us as soon as possible. Here are a few ways to prevent frozen pipes:
- Keep the garage door closed.
- Open cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Let faucets drip with cold water.
- Keep your heater set to at least 55 degrees.
- Add insulation to pipes, attics, basements, and walls.
Ellicott City gets an average of 45 inches of rain each year. Compared to the US average of 38 inches per year, the residents of Ellicott City have to deal with occasional flooding, especially in their basements. Issues with your sump pump could be the cause of flooding in your basement. Calling our plumbing professionals at Mr Blue Plumbing can help you maintain and even replace your sump pumps, readying them for the heavy rains.
If your home was built before 1978 and 1995, chances are you have polybutylene pipes, a type of plastic pipe commonly used in the Ellicott City and Columbus areas. Polybutylene is a type of plastic used commonly in water supply piping because of its low cost and ease of installation. It was discovered later that this type of piping is prone to cracking and splitting because of the oxidant reaction with polybutylene and the water supply. If your home has these pipes or are connected to these lines, call us at Mr Blue Plumbing to schedule a water line replacement to prevent any leaks from springing up.
How Does the Water in Ellicott City Affect Your Plumbing?
Some plumbing problems start because of mineral deposits and buildup from hard water. As excess calcium and magnesium run through the pipe, they can clog and corrode the lines throughout the home’s plumbing system. Over time, this can cause plumbing problems, and eventually, you will need to call us. Here are some issues associated with hard water:
- Clogged drains and pipes;
- Reduced water flow;
- Soap builds up in tubs, showers, and sinks;
- Mineral build-up inside fixtures and appliances;
- Appliances running less efficiently;
- Reduced water heater lifespan; and
- Less effective cleaning as soap won’t lather well
The water in Ellicott City measures at around 120 PPM, making it hard. The county’s water comes from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. In some areas, the hardness can be much higher depending on if you have your well. If you notice white crusty residue on your showerhead, faucet, and coffee pot, you may want to have your water tested. There are some water softeners and filtration systems that can help.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Ellicott City?
If you need a professional plumber like us, you can expect to pay an average of between $110 and $798. This price estimate is based on past plumbing jobs. The amount of money you will pay depends on a few factors. Here are some of the most common factors that will change the price.
Reason for a Plumber
The reason you need us can affect the price you will pay. For example, if you need us because you want to remodel your kitchen and bathroom, you will pay more. This type of plumbing service will take some time and you will need to apply for permits. However, if your sink springs a leak and you need emergency plumbing, you won’t have to pay much and you won’t have to deal with permits. Another reason to call us is for an annual inspection. These are the least expensive types of service, but they can save you a lot of money if we find something concerning before it turns into a problem.
Materials and Labor
Materials and labor is another important cost factor. Often, when you need us to fix something, you will have a choice of what to replace it with. For example, if you need to repipe your bathroom, you might have a choice between PVC, which is the least expensive, or copper, which costs the most. Same with faucets, showerheads, and toilets, you can choose how much you spend on the materials for most jobs. You should be able to save a little money here, but make sure quality is still a priority.
Labor also has a huge impact on the price. It seems like so many plumbing emergencies happen during off-hours, weekends, and holidays. We swear it isn’t planned that way. If you need us on a holiday, it will usually cost you more because only a few of us are working.
Sometimes, a plumbing job will come with additional fees. These are usually for permits from the county or city. You’ll also have to pay a fee for inspections if that’s required for the work you need. These fees usually add up quickly depending on what type of job you are completing. For remodels, it is common to pay upwards of a thousand dollars in fees alone.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Ellicott City?
There are several ways that better plumbing can save you money in Ellicott City. The first way is by reducing water usage. By investing in newer fixtures, you could save a lot of water and money. Newer faucets, showerheads, and toilets have been designed to use water more efficiently. That means they can give you better water pressure with less water. If you need to replace broken fixtures, it is better to go with eco-friendly versions.
Another way that better plumbing can save you money is by installing a water softener. Not only can this help extend the life of your plumbing and appliances, but it can increase your home’s value. They can be costly, but so is replacing your dishwasher and water heater due to hard water buildup.
Scheduling an annual inspection is also a great way to save money. These don’t cost very much and you get a lot out of them. In some cases, we will find a minor issue that could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars later.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Ellicott City vs Hire a Plumber?
If your bill shoots up suddenly and you don’t know why, you may have a leak somewhere on your property. Now, we need to try and find the leak to determine who needs to be called. You will need us if the leak is on your property and makes your meter spin. If you find a puddle in the front yard, turn off the main water supply. Now, go look at your meter. Is it spinning? If your answer is yes, you will need to call us. If it is not moving, you need to contact Howard County Water and Sewer. In some cases, you might not find the leak. If this happens, you should still turn off the main water supply to determine if water is going to the house.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Ellicott City?
Ellicott City requires a permit for most plumbing services.You will have to pay a permit fee and it can range from $25 to $125. The minimum charge of $25 is for replacing a fixture and additional fixtures will cost $5 each. Other plumbing fixtures such as sump pump, water heater, and sewer ejector, to name a few, will cost $25 each. If there are a lot of fixtures and repairs, then the price will add up. Most minor fixes for emergency clogs and leaks will not require a permit or inspection.