Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Hagerstown?
- 2 How Does the Water in Hagerstown Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Hagerstown?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Hagerstown?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Hagerstown vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Hagerstown?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Hagerstown?
Like anywhere else, Hagerstown homeowners have their share of plumbing problems. Consider all the faucets, sinks, showerheads, toilets, and pipelines inside the home. Add to that your pipeline from the city’s meter to your house and all your outside hose bibs, irrigation lines, and sprinkler heads. There is a lot that could go wrong. Some of the more common plumbing issues experienced in Hagerstown include:
Broken or Corrosive Pipes
Having a broken pipe is probably “the” most common plumbing issue in Hagerstown. With age, pipes corrode and deteriorate, no matter what they are made of. If this is the case, a plumber will likely recommend repairing a whole line at the same time which will save frustration and money when another area of the pipe could break in the not-too-distant future.
Another reason for a burst pipe is the weather. When water freezes within a pipe, it expands often resulting in breaking that pipe. According to the city’s water department, the distribution division receives calls fairly often about a ruptured pipe with no one home. In that case, a city technician will go out and turn off the water to the home, something the department recommends the homeowner do before going away on vacation.
Clogs and Blockages
A clog in one drain or toilet is bad. A blockage in more than one drain and/or toilet is really bad. There are many reasons one drain can clog. Hard water deposits, corrosion, and placing things down the drain that shouldn’t be are some of the causes. Many people pour cooking grease or oil down the kitchen sink drain. You shouldn’t. It is hard on pipes. Some of the things that get flushed down the toilet that should not include:
- Baby wipes
- Q-tips and cotton pads
- Dental floss
- Paper towels
- Menstrual products
- Cigarette butts
- Kitty litter
Any of these things alone can clog the toilet and may take more than just a plunger to clear it out. Additionally, chemical drain cleaners are truly not a good idea for a sink drain or a toilet.
Chemicals can be hard on pipes and may create even bigger problems in the pipes.
All the aforementioned apply to one drain or toilet clog. But remember that more than one blockage can be really bad. This means there is a problem with your sewer system whether from the line on your property or the city’s sewer system lines. If sewer water is blocking up in more than one location, do not try to clear it yourself, and do not wait to call the plumber. Sewer water can be hazardous to your health not only when coming into contact with the water, but also through the fumes it produces.
Continuous Running Toilet
This is a pretty universal problem. If you hear your toilet running a lot, or all of the time, and it flushes all by itself, this is pretty common and, hopefully, not a major problem. It could be that the float is out of balance, the flapper is worn out, or the handle needs to be replaced. However, there could be a larger issue. A constantly running toilet could be the result of high water pressure throughout your pipeline and needing to find a place to release the pressure. A plumber will be able to diagnose the problem and take care of the issue for you.
No Hot Water or a Leaky Water Heater
One of the reasons plumbing repairs can be expensive is that plumbers go through rigorous training to assure their safety for what may not be a safe situation. Water heaters are a mix of water with either gas or electricity. Either is one of those not-so-safe situations. Even lighting a water heater pilot light can be risky. If you see leaking water from your water heater, hear it making unusual noises, or don’t have any hot water, don’t hesitate, call the plumber right away.
Hagerstown’s water division recommends you follow preventative maintenance for your specific water heater. Your plumber can help you develop that plan which can help provide a long life for your water heater. A residential water heater should last between six and 12 years. If your water heater has served you well for 10-12 years, and you are having issues, it should be replaced.
How Does the Water in Hagerstown Affect Your Plumbing?
Hagerstown and the rest of Washington County have moderately hard water. An average of all of Maryland’s water reveals a hardness of 118 PPM. The initials PPM stand for contaminating parts per million (or unit) of water. Milligrams per liter or mg/L is used interchangeably with PPM. According to the U.S. Geological Survey office, hard water is measured between 121 and 180 PPM, and moderately hard water measures between 61 and 120 PPM.
Hard water, and to some extent, moderately hard water, can be corrosive to pipes. Hagerstown’s water can be the cause of further damage to already aging pipes.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Hagerstown?
It is difficult to pinpoint just how much having the plumber perform repairs will cost unless you know the source and reason for the problem. There are a lot of variables including how long the repair project will take, how difficult the source of the problem will be to access, what replacement materials will be needed and whether any special equipment may be needed. Typically, plumbing costs in Hagerstown range between $92 and $667. The average amount paid for common plumbing issues by Hagerstown homeowners is $375. This price typically includes a service fee as well as an hourly rate of $60-$65.
Plumbers generally work by the hour, although they may have a set initial fee for the service call itself. A simple repair may be included in this initial fee. But if the call is more labor-intensive, that additional time will cost more. Added to that, if the project calls for higher qualifications and experience by the plumber, the hourly fee may increase.
Locating the Problem
Sometimes the location of a leaking pipe is obvious, you can see the water or moisture buildup. But sometimes you know you have a leak because the water pressure to a specific faucet is low or almost nil. The plumber will scope out the source. Maybe it is easy to access or maybe not. If the plumber has to uproot flooring, make a break in a wall, or dig up part of the yard, extra equipment may be involved and a lot of work for which you can expect to pay more.
Almost any repairs performed by a plumber, except perhaps some blockage problems, will require some new pipe and/or new parts. In some cases, you can go out and buy them yourself. But the plumber may have them on his truck or be able to pick them up for you, for which the reimbursement for that cost will be added to your bill including sales tax. Materials can vary widely from:
- A toilet flapper to a new faucet
- A few feet of new PVC or copper pipe, or a whole new line of 30 feet, 50, or more
- A new toilet or a new water heater
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Hagerstown?
Better plumbing will always save you money and in a variety of ways. For one thing, upgrades in plumbing fixtures will utilize water more efficiently, saving you money on your water bill. You can check out products recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program such as water heaters and low flow plumbing fixtures.
Beyond that, you can rest easy knowing your risk of needing costly emergency plumbing repairs has been greatly reduced. Some plumbing problems that would benefit from better plumbing include:
- Low water pressure
- High water pressure
- Running out of hot water
- A toilet that needs to be flushed more than once
- Slow or clogged drains
- Noisy pipes
- Dripping faucets
- Leaking sprinklers or rain birds
Better plumbing upgrades may include:
- New higher quality replacement pipes and joints
- New water heater
- New low-flow toilet
- Replacement of sewer lines
- New faucet fixture
- New irrigation system
There are choices for any kind of plumbing upgrade. Your decisions should be made based on reliability, longevity, in some instances, appearance, and of course, expense. Feel free to have a frank discussion with your plumber and get his opinion before you make any decisions. Remember too, that any plumbing upgrades are also an investment in your home and will improve its value. Those upgrades and improvements will also provide you with peace of mind by avoiding emergency plumbing calls in the future.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Hagerstown vs Hire a Plumber?
For most residential plumbing repairs, you should contact a local plumber. But in the case of a broken water main, the pipeline leading to your property, or anywhere else in the city, you should call the city’s water division emergency line at 301-790-3207.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Hagerstown?
Most plumbing repairs do not require a permit in Hagerstown. However, any plumbers performing work in the city should be city-registered plumbers. For new plumbing work in a new home or new addition, permits are required, and only registered plumbers may obtain the necessary permits.