Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Kalamazoo?
- 2 How Does the Water in Kalamazoo Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Kalamazoo?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Kalamazoo?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Kalamazoo vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Kalamazoo?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Kalamazoo?
Located along the Kalamazoo River in Southwest Michigan, Kalamazoo has a pretty cool history. The Gibson Guitar Company, which produces some of the most iconic guitars, was founded in Kalamazoo in 1902. And the name Kalamazoo itself has an interesting story, though no one is entirely sure where it came from. Homes in Kalamazoo face plumbing problems similar to homes around the country, but there are some particular problems that residents face.
Clogged Drains and Leaky Faucets
A slow or clogged drain and leaky faucets are common reasons residents in Kalamazoo call us. If not repaired promptly, there can be larger backups and damage to pipes. Leaky faucets, as well as updating bathroom and kitchen fixtures or repairing or replacing your water heater, are other common problems and are best addressed by us. Since the water is hard here in Kalamazoo, mineral buildup can lead to clogged pipes.
The temperature in Kalamazoo can drop to 18°F in the winter, often resulting in frozen pipes. If frozen pipes burst, 4 to 8 gallons of water per minute could start pooling into your home. This is a costly problem when it happens. Prevent this by contacting us for a maintenance checkup of your pipes.
Kalamazoo has lush greenery, making tree roots one of the destroyers of plumbing pipes. This often results in stagnating water and foul odor because your septic and sewer system have been damaged by it. Call us to assess the situation so we could recommend the appropriate repair and necessary repiping needed to be done.
Lead water pipes still exist in Kalamazoo. Since these lead pipes have been installed time immemorial, it can cause your water to discolor or reduce water pressure because of mineral buildup. Aging pipes are very much prone to leaks and breakage. Have us do a maintenance checkup of your pipes to advise when it is best to replace your water line.
How Does the Water in Kalamazoo Affect Your Plumbing?
The water supply for the City of Kalamazoo comes entirely from groundwater and is Michigan’s largest groundwater-based drinking water system. The city operates 13 wellfields with a total of 94 wells and 10 water storage facilities. The groundwater in Kalamazoo is moderately hard, which means there are higher calcium and magnesium levels, which can cause mineral deposits to form in your pipes. These deposits can lower your water pressure.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Kalamazoo?
Plumbing repairs can get very expensive quickly, particularly if there is a delay in doing the repairs or other problems are discovered during the repair. On average, plumbing costs in Kalamazoo are between $105.00 and $760.00. Costs for any necessary inspections or permits, as well as contractor fees, can increase these prices. Sales tax on materials is another variable that will increase your costs. Some other factors that can influence the cost of your plumbing repairs will be:
Size and Severity
As repairs increase in size and severity, so do the costs. Additionally, we see an increase in costs if the plumbing repairs are initially done incorrectly and more problems develop as a result. Plumbing that is also in poor condition can lead to more expensive repairs because we often find more problems. Damaged pipes and mold can be uncovered when fixing a leaky faucet, and both of these will add to the cost.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plumbing is the most common and inexpensive option for pipes. More expensive pipes, such as copper, stainless steel, or ABS pipes, are more costly, and, unless necessary, most plumbers prefer not to use them. Sales tax for materials, which is currently 6.0%, will also factor into your cost. A project where we use a fixed charge, such as toilet installations, typically accounts for the cost of materials.
Hourly Rate vs. Fixed Rate
Plumbing repairs can be priced in two different ways, with pros and cons to both. A fixed rate is an agreed-upon price before the start of the job. This is often used for installation projects where there is typically not much variance in time and materials. The biggest benefit to this method is knowing how much it will cost, regardless of the time it takes, and not being hit with a surprise bill at the end. An hourly rate is calculated by how long the job takes and how much the materials are. A reputable plumber, like us, should give you a reasonable estimate and updates during the project with any problems.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Kalamazoo?
Absolutely! Plumbing repairs that are done right away will save you more money over time. Additionally, spending a little extra on updating inefficient fixtures will save you money on your utility bill and increase your home’s value. Proactive repairs can prevent more expensive repairs in the future and also reduce your utility bill. A dripping faucet might not seem like something that needs to be fixed right away, but that dripping faucet can end up costing around an extra $20 a year. And that adds up, particularly when you realize it wastes over 3,600 gallons of water a year, which is about how much water 20 people will drink in a year.
Additionally, only 1% of the water on the planet is suitable for human consumption. Plus, it is never bad to have an extra $20 in your bank account earning interest! Here are some other ways that better plumbing saves you money.
- Energy-efficient fixtures can conserve water and save you money on your utility bill at the same time. The state of Michigan has a list of rebates and incentives available through federal and state programs. The City of Kalamazoo partners with Consumers Energy to offer ways to reduce your utility bill, plus get discounts on energy-efficient products. They also have opportunities for customers that don’t qualify for the Consumer Energy program.
- Installing energy-efficient fixtures, being vigilant and proactive about plumbing repairs, and if you don’t already have one in your home, installing a dishwasher, can all increase the value of your home. You may also be able to qualify for rebates that could decrease your property tax.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Kalamazoo vs Hire a Plumber?
Most of the time, we will be able to help fix any plumbing problems you encounter. However, there are a few instances when you need to call the utility company instead. Sometimes it is something that only the utility company is allowed to handle and sometimes it is something a plumber is not able to help with. If you don’t know if you should call us or the utility company, we will be more than happy to come out and figure out what is going on and if you need to call the utility company. Let’s take a look at some common issues we see that might not be clear right away if you need us or a utility company.
If you think your home may be out of water, this might be an issue with the city water supply, which would require a call to your utility company. But before you call, talk with your neighbors and find out if they are having problems. If your house is the only one that seems to be having problems with the water supply, it is more likely a problem with the pipes in your home rather than the city water supply and it would be more appropriate to call us.
If you find a water leak, either in your house or somewhere else on the property, depending on where the leak is coming from, it determines if you need to fix it or if the city needs to fix it. Leaks on your property are generally your responsibility, but the utility company is responsible for leaks from a broken water main. If you think there is a break in your water line and you can’t find the shut-off valve or it does not work, we can usually help with that.
Anytime you think there might be a water leak in your neighbor’s home and they do not appear to be home, you should call the utility company. It might seem helpful, and like you are being a good neighbor, but you should never shut your neighbor’s water off yourself. If you are not employed by the utility company, turning someone else’s water off is actually illegal. The utility company can come out and figure out if the water needs to be turned off. And if you think there is an error in your bill, you need to contact the utility company. We can’t make any adjustments to your bill even if they work with the utility company.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Kalamazoo?
Even though it might seem like a time and money saver to fix your plumbing without a professional plumber like us, a lot of the time the opposite is true and you will find yourself spending more time and money and then still needing to hire us. And for most projects, you need a permit from the City of Kalamazoo. Generally speaking, you do not need a permit for repairs to existing appliances or other fixtures already in place. Additionally, for anything that does not require water to operate such as replacing a toilet seat, you usually do not need a permit. Here are some situations where the City of Kalamazoo requires a permit.
- Any installation of, or modification to, a plumbing or piping system
- Any installation, repair, or removal of a well or a water softener system
- Adding or changing any fixtures or drains such as a washing machine
- Any installation, repair, or modification of a water heater
- Capping off pipes from fixtures that have been removed
- Any installation of lawn sprinkler systems or backflow prevention assemblies for lawn sprinkler systems
- Any installation of a non-metallic (plastic or CVPC) plumbing system to replace a metallic (copper or galvanized steel) plumbing system. In addition to a plumbing permit, since you need to install a new grounding electrode in most cases, you will also need an electrical permit.
- Anything that involves sewer lines, sump pumps, or septic systems. A septic system cleaning does not typically require a permit, but it should always be done by a licensed professional.
For jobs that require a permit from the City of Kalamazoo, it is a good idea to hire us. We know exactly which permits are needed and either already have them or know exactly how to get them.