Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Detroit?
- 2 How Does the Water in Detroit Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Detroit?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Detroit?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Detroit Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Detroit?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Detroit?
Detroit has had its fair share of plumbing issues over the years. On one winter afternoon in January 1914, a sewer explosion right at the heart of Detroit’s Eighteenth St. prompted the city to rethink its underground plumbing systems. The city concluded that the presence of gasoline in the systems caused the explosion and went ahead to rebuild the drainage territory tributary later that Spring.
Later on, in the early 1950s, there was a housing boom around the country following the end of World War II. The houses built during this period in Detroit are now over 70 years old and are prone to plumbing issues due to:
- Old fixtures and pipe material that is prone to failure or is past its lifespan
- Sewer backups
Let’s explore the above issues in detail:
Even with proper maintenance, old plumbing fixtures will eventually cause problems. We often receive calls from Detroit homeowners in older homes raising concerns about the efficiency of their plumbing fixtures. Our research shows that the pumping efficiency for ductile iron pipes common in Detroit decreases with age. Similarly, the life cycle of other plumbing fixtures declines with time and doesn’t remain at factory specifications. Also, continued repairs on your plumbing system make it weak, increasing the possibility of damages. Again, some pipe materials are already past their lifespan, making your plumbing system prone to problems.
Cases of sewer backups are among the most common plumbing issues in Detroit homes, and the culprit is mostly tree roots from the large native species. The rising cases led to investigations by the city officials, who blamed homeowners. For instance, tree roots invading the Yolanda Bonner sewer line led to sewer water seeping into the property basements, making the residents sleep with open doors due to frequent flooding. Whenever a sewer backup happens, we get hundreds of calls from residential and commercial property owners. We treat sewer backups as emergencies because if they aren’t fixed fast, they lead to flooding, and property owners incur considerable losses caused by water damage.
While tree roots are the leading cause of sewer backups, we also have many cases where FOG build-ups lead to backups in many households. Fats, oil, and grease enter plumbing pipes through commercial and residential sink drains. The continuous build-up of these elements will eventually cause a blockage and send sewage back to your home or into the streets. Although it’s tempting to dispose of cooking oil or food scraps into your sink, we always advise Detroit residents to refrain from this habit. This way, we avoid pipe blockage in our own homes or the entire sewer system that affects more households or even leads to environmental pollution.
Stormwater is also common in Detroit and results in various plumbing problems, including:
- Shifting underground pipes
- Increased pressure on the pipes
Heavy storms on the aging stormwater infrastructure also lead to frequent flooding. When the excess water overloads the combined sewer system in Detroit, the stormwater or untreated sewage finds its way into Detroit River, Rogue River, and Lake Erie. To mitigate these problems, the Stormwater Management Group was launched by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in 2017.
When the rain gets soaked up in your yard, it makes the soil muddy, making it heavier as it lies on your pipes. The increased pressure will eventually lead to damages to your plumbing system. Also, as the rain softens the earth surrounding your underground pipes, the pipes can easily shift from their original position. If the pipes bend into a position they aren’t used to, they can easily crack. You may also have to deal with backups if the cracks are too big and soil or rocks find their way into the pipes. We have had cases where the blockage is too strong, leading to water seepage into underground storage areas or home basements in Detroit.
How Does the Water in Detroit Affect Your Plumbing?
Detroit has various water resources under the Great Lakes Water Authority. While the water quality is considered safe for drinking, Detroit has moderately hard water at 104 PPM, especially in the outlying areas where the main water source is groundwater and tributary streams. In most cases, you may not face any challenges in your plumbing system in the short run. However, the continuous limescale build-up will eventually have corrosive effects on your pipes; they can also lead to blockages, clogs, and slow drains as they limit the capacity of your pipes.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Detroit?
The plumbing costs in Detroit vary considerably, and homeowners can pay a minimum cost of $110 or a price of up to $850 or more. The below factors will affect your price.
Cost Factor: Materials Used
Residents in older homes common throughout Detroit often need to replace their fixtures or piping system. Depending on your property’s age and configuration, our plumbers in Detroit will determine the best material that will work for your system. You will want new plumbing if your home has outdated or hazardous materials like lead, polybutylene, and galvanized steel. The more the material needed, the higher the total cost.
Cost Factor: Labor
Each plumbing cost will vary depending on the labor input required. For instance, the cost of fixing a leaking or burst pipe is less than repiping an entire home. Our plumbers will spend more time and effort in repiping, leading to a higher price.
Cost Factor: Plumbing Fees
If your plumbing system has multiple damages, our Detroit plumbers may recommend making some replacements instead of repairs. While this is a viable option since it saves you from constant repairs, you will have to pay a higher price due to the fees. While applying for the plumbing permits, each installation into your plumbing system costs $30, and you will also pay a $50 non-refundable application fee to your total amount. Still, you will pay an additional inspection fee of $50 to the city for each installation.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Detroit?
By utilizing better plumbing methods in Detroit, you can save money on repairs. With sewer backups being one of the leading plumbing problems in Detroit, you will want to have regular sewer line inspections. Note that tree roots love to grow around the sewer lines and can go undetected until it bursts through pipes, leading to a flooded yard and backup in your property. Besides, tree roots will actively look for water, nutrients, and oxygen for continuous tree growth. Our professional plumbers in Detroit are aware of these issues and will assist you in taking the necessary precautions. For instance, if the trees within your yard are feeding off the sewer line, we can quickly point out such issues and take action in clearing the roots and repairing any broken water lines.
If you are experiencing frequent water backups and drain clogging, it’s a major sign that your pipes have most probably shifted. Slow or overflowing drains are also associated with sewer line damages due to tree roots. We have also had cases where Detroit homeowners had constant gurgling toilets resulting from obstructed wastewater flow. Using a sewer camera inspection, we can assess your drain and sewer condition to prevent any potential damages. In older homes, pipe replacements are a better option since they save you money and prevent water wastage in the long run. The Water and Sewerage Department also offers other water-saving tips during fall and winter.
Where roots have already invaded the pipe, hydro jetting can blast the roots with powerful streams of water in a multi-directional nozzle. The water pressure can reach 3,500 psi in case of any stubborn tree roots. If you want to ensure that the roots won’t invade your pipe, we recommend making full sewer line repairs. One effective method is having a new pipe inside your old one by utilizing epoxy resin usually cured into place by air pressure. The hardened liner creates an impenetrable layer between the soil surrounding the pipe and your wastewater. The process doesn’t involve large-scale digging in your yard, and the smooth liner increases the flow in the pipes. Even better, the strong liners last for an extended period, which prevents repetitive repairs.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Detroit Vs Hire a Plumber?
While our licensed plumbers can fix almost all your plumbing problems, there are some instances where you can call the water utility company in Detroit. If you have a sewer backup problem, an inspection should be carried out to ascertain the location of the blockage. Detroit residents are responsible for any blockage that happens within their property. Therefore, if you regularly pour food particles or grease into your kitchen sink, it will eventually cost you plumbing repairs within your home. While you can hire our Detroit plumbers to clean the sewer, make repairs, and possibly make any necessary replacements, the public works staff is responsible for any backups within public spaces such as the streets.
Blockages also increase costs for anyone within the sewer system containing the fog build-up, charged as maintenance expenses. Additionally, if your water supply is cut off, you should contact Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD).
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Detroit?
The city of Detroit requires every homeowner to have a permit for plumbing repairs or installation in their current premise or one that they are about to occupy. Still, all installations should follow the Michigan Plumbing Code and shall not be put into operation, covered up, or enclosed until the plumbing inspector makes their approval. The purpose of the plumbing code is to safeguard public health, welfare, and safety.
You will also need a permit for any water-connected appliances, special drains, appurtenances, fixtures, among other plumbing tasks. As per the plumbing fee schedule, each additional item will cost you $30, and failure to obtain the permit will attract a fine of $134 on each installation to the homeowner and $268 to the contractor. Our licensed Detroit plumbers are adept with all the regulations in their field of service.
Note that your permit becomes invalid if the authorized plumbing tasks don’t commence within 180 days after permit issuance. Again, the city considers the permit invalid if the authorized task is abandoned or suspended for 180 days after the date of commencing work. You can call the Plumbing Division to schedule a plumbing inspection within 48 hours or the same day if you request an inspection before 9 am. However, you don’t need a permit for any working parts of a valve or faucet or clearance of stoppages, provided no alterations are made in the fixtures or piping.