Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Duluth?
- 2 How Does the Water in Duluth Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Duluth?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Duluth?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Duluth vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Duluth?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Duluth?
In the winter, plumbers in Duluth receive a lot of calls about frozen and burst pipes. This is not surprising, considering just how cold it can get here (the windchill can drop to -30°F). The plumbing in mobile homes, unoccupied houses, and poorly insulated basements are more apt to freeze. If you are worried about your home’s pipes during a cold snap, you can leave a faucet running at just a trickle. This keeps the water continuously flowing and prevents it from freezing. However, leaving a faucet on is not a long-term or cost-effective solution. There are several ways that we can protect your home’s pipes, like installing foam insulation or heating tape. We can do a home inspection and let you know what methods will work for your home.
If you plan on being away from home for any length of time during the winter, do not make the mistake of turning your thermostat down too low. Many people do this because they want to save money on utility costs. However, we’ve received many frantic phone calls from people who come back from vacation only to find a burst pipe and ruined carpet.
Another common plumbing issue in Duluth is clogged pipes and drains. The best way to handle a clog is to prevent it from forming in the first place. Many clogs are comprised of hair and food particles. We recommend that everyone take precautions, like using drain screens and not dumping cooking grease down the kitchen sink. If you have small children in your home, you may want to invest in a toilet seat lock. We know that little ones like to flush stuff down the toilet. Even if you’re careful, clogs can and do happen. But whatever you do, don’t reach for the drain cleaner. These over-the-counter liquids and gels are abrasive and can damage your home’s pipes. As professional plumbers, we have the right tools to safely and effectively unclog pipes. So if you have a stubborn clog, please give us a call.
Residents who live in older homes common in the area may be concerned about the presence of lead in their tap water. Before 1930, many of the service lines that connect homes to the municipal lines were made of lead. Some of these lines are still in use today. In addition, older homes may also have lead pipes inside. If you are unsure if your home or yard has lead pipes, you can call the City of Duluth Engineering Department at (218) 730-5200. The city is committed to providing safe water and offers lead water education on their website. If you are concerned about the presence of lead, we can upgrade your home’s plumbing system to modern materials like copper or PVC. We also install and maintain residential water filtration systems.
Duluth has soft water, which means it can leach minerals from your pipes and corrode them over time. Many residents experience pinhole leaks in the plumbing as a result.
Lastly, tree roots can wreak havoc on water and sewer lines. Some mature trees native to the area have incredibly strong root systems. As these roots grow, they can exert enough force to shift and even crack main lines. If you notice pooled water or wet spots in your yard, you may have damaged lines. You can avoid tree root disasters with a little planning. Before you plant any new trees, research how big their root systems will grow. And know the location of your home’s water and sewer lines before you do any landscaping. If you have an existing tree that could be creeping up on your home’s plumbing system, vertical root guards may prevent damage. These guards are installed underground, between the tree roots and any pipes. The guards act as a shield and force the tree roots to grow away from the pipes.
How Does the Water in Duluth Affect Your Plumbing?
It probably comes as no surprise that Duluth’s drinking water is sourced from Lake Superior. The Lakewood Water Treatment Plant maintains 11 water pumping stations and over 400 miles of water distribution pipeline. This water makes its way not just to Duluth’s 85,618 residents, but to the municipalities of Hermantown, Proctor, and Rice Lake as well.
The water from Lake Superior offers a benefit that most other U.S. water sources do not, and that is soft water. However, if you access your water from a private well, that water may be hard. Hard water is common throughout parts of Minnesota and the rest of the country and can shorten the lifespan of your home’s pipes and water heater. So if you have soft water, consider yourself comparatively lucky. However, soft water promotes pipe corrosion and pinhole leaks.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Duluth?
If you need to hire our plumbers in Duluth, your first thought is probably, “how much will it cost?” The average plumbing bill runs around $466, not including permit fees or taxes. Many repairs and maintenance will cost between $113 and $820. We realize that is quite the price range, but keep in mind that we do both small and large projects. The final cost is dependent on many factors.
The nature and scope of the project
A bigger project will come with a bigger price tag. We do everything from showerhead replacements to entire plumbing system renovations. For a specific example, unclogging a drain could cost as little as $113 or as much as $514.
If your household qualifies for financial assistance
Duluth residents may qualify for the city’s Healthy Homes Homeowner Rehab Program. The program offers zero-interest deferred loans for repairs done on single-family homes. The state also offers home repair assistance programs through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
If you’re one of the 4,789 veterans that live in Duluth, you may be able to use a VA Purchase Loan to pay for certain home repairs and upgrades.
If you have a plumbing emergency
Our plumbers in Duluth typically work Monday through Friday during regular business hours. However, we know that plumbing emergencies happen 24/7. A complete loss of water pressure or a clogged sewer line can’t wait until the next business day. If you need us to come out ASAP or on a major holiday, you can expect to pay more.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Duluth?
It sure can! Upgrading to better plumbing will save you money no matter where you live and no matter what your budget is. If your washing machine is on its last leg, you could replace it with a front-loading, high-efficiency model. Even modest upgrades like installing low-flow faucets throughout your home will make a difference. These improvements don’t just save you money on your water bill, but also add value to your home.
Fixing leaky faucets right away is important. Those drips may seem insignificant, but they add up over time. For example, if your kitchen faucet leaked one drip per second for an entire year, more than 3,000 gallons of water would be wasted.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Duluth vs Hire a Plumber?
If you experience plumbing problems, it can be difficult to know who to call. As a general rule, homeowners are responsible for plumbing issues on their property and inside of their house. So you’ll need to call us for things like a new toilet installation or a leaky pipe in your basement. Homeowners are also responsible for the portion of the sewer line that runs from their house to the point where it connects to the main sewer line in the street.
The city is responsible for all municipal water and sewer main lines; fire hydrants, and storm drains. If you see a problem with any of those, call the Utility Operations office at (218) 730-4130. If it’s a safety issue, like a water main line has ruptured and water is bubbling to the surface, you can call the Duluth Police Department at (218) 730-5400.
If you suddenly experience no or low water pressure in your home, we recommend that you check with your neighbors before calling us or the city. If your neighbors also have water pressure issues, there is likely something happening with the municipal water lines. The city may be working on the main lines or flushing out hydrants. But if your home is the only one with water pressure problems, you should give us a call.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Duluth?
Duluth’s Construction Services & Inspections office requires plumbing permits for many services, including the relocation of existing fixtures and new sump pumps. While the city does allow homeowners of single-family dwellings to perform their own interior plumbing work, all outside work must be done by a state-bonded plumber like Mr. Blue Plumbing with a pipe layers card or a state-licensed plumbing contractor.
We know that many people think that permits are nothing more than red tape and an unnecessary expense. The truth is, plumbing permits and city inspections ensure that repairs and maintenance are up to code. Permit enforcement protects the health and safety of your family and the greater community. One advantage of hiring us is that we obtain the plumbing permits for you and then schedule any city inspections.