Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Rochester?
- 2 How Does the Water in Rochester Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Rochester?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Rochester?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Rochester vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Rochester?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Rochester?
Problems Related to Hard Water
Rochester has notoriously hard water. Hard water has a relatively high concentration of calcium and magnesium minerals. Hard water leaves behind white, chalky scale deposits and film on faucets, fixtures, and appliances. This can clog water supply points, such as faucets. It can also build up inside pipes or on plumbing joints. Over time, this can affect water pressure and increase the risk of leaks and corrosion. Hard water may even build up around local water supply valves, like those behind your refrigerator, toilets, or sinks. This buildup will make the valve hard to open and close if you ever need to do so during a plumbing emergency.
Hard water will also leave behind mineral deposits inside water heaters. If you hear rattling in the bottom of your water heater, like pebbles are being shaken inside the tank, that’s hard water mineral deposits. Left untreated for too long, they can damage your tank and shorten its lifespan. In areas with extremely hard water, it’s recommended that water heaters are drained annually or even semi-annually.
Frozen and Cracked Pipes
Rochester has cold winters with significant snowfall throughout the season ranging from late fall through early spring and the average high in December, January, and February staying firmly below freezing. These temperatures can pose a severe risk to residential pipe systems that aren’t properly protected. If your exterior pipe insulation fails or a long period without power lowers the temperature inside your home, your pipes may freeze and crack. This can result in a lack of access to water, significant water damage to your home, and large repiping projects. Our plumbers can inspect your pipes before winter weather sets in and minimize the risk of freezes, cracks, and damage.
General Plumbing Repairs and Maintenance
Some of the most common plumbing services required in Rochester are general plumbing maintenance tasks such as leaking toilets and faucets, kitchen and bathroom fixture upgrades, and water heater replacements. Maintenance and inspection services from our plumbers can help optimize your home’s plumbing by catching small problems before they evolve into larger emergencies or develop significant damage.
How Does the Water in Rochester Affect Your Plumbing?
Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) manages the city’s water system. It uses comprehensive testing, monitoring, and water treatment systems to provide residents and businesses with clean, safe water. Most of Rochester’s municipal water comes from local aquifers, primarily the Jordan Aquifer in southeastern Minnesota. To make the water safe and less chemically reactive, it’s treated with chlorine, hydrofluosilicic acid, and liquid polyphosphate.
This last additive helps protect city-wide and residential plumbing systems by stabilizing the iron content of the water and minimizing the risk of corrosion. This can reduce chemical wear on your home’s pipes, especially if you live in a home with older plumbing. It also reduces the risk of lead and copper breaking away from the plumbing and leaching into the water supply. Since the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Lead and Copper testing program began in 1990, Rochester’s water has always safely fallen below the lead and copper thresholds for concern.
However, Rochester has very hard water. Hard water is water with relatively high concentrations of minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals are safe for consumption and may even provide benefits, but they can cause scale buildup and make layers of minerals build up on or in fixtures, pipes, and appliances. This can affect the performance of appliances with mechanical parts, such as dishwashers, or cause localized water supply valves in your house to seize.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Rochester?
Plumbing projects can be expensive, and the costs for emergency plumbing services or serious plumbing disasters can feel like they’re stacking up quickly. Most jobs fall between $125 and $900. Knowing the factors that impact the total cost of a plumbing repair or project can help you gauge your budget as you begin an improvement project or compare the cost of maintenance to potential future repairs. These are three factors that can affect the cost of practically any plumbing service:
How Big Is the Plumbing Project?
As plumbing projects grow in complexity and size, the costs grow with them. For example, repiping two given lengths of plumbing in your house will cost proportionately more than just one length. This is because the amount of materials doubles and the required labor time also increases. Complexity matters, too. If a small leak turns out to be due to extensively corroded pipes rather than simply a worn washer, we need to do much more work to restore your plumbing to good operating conditions. If the scope of your plumbing project changes, our plumber will update the estimate and confirm the added work and costs with you before deviating from the previous scope of work.
Do You Need a Plumber ASAP?
Hiring our plumbers for an emergency or immediate service is almost always more expensive than scheduling services for a more flexible date in the future. Many emergencies occur outside of normal business hours, such as overnight, during holidays, or over the weekend, which leads to an additional surcharge. Also, if you need immediate plumbing services during adverse weather conditions or when there’s a lot of demand (such as right after a storm), that will likely increase the total cost.
The Age of the Property
Older properties, such as those in Pill Hill or around 3rd Street, can have a wide range of complexities that often lead to higher plumbing repair prices. Individual elements to consider include:
- Wear and long-term damage: Plumbing emergencies in older structures aren’t often due to a single malfunction. Instead, they’re often a sign of extreme wear or an early manifestation of plumbing problems that could cause cascading failures if they aren’t properly addressed.
- Out-of-Production Parts: Old plumbing systems may have been made by manufacturers that are no longer in business, and modern-day equivalents might not work as replacements. Older plumbing materials and techniques, such as using potentially hazardous or corroding metals, are no longer allowed, so more extensive repairs may need to be made.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Rochester?
Better plumbing is always a great investment for residences. With better plumbing, you can protect your home from clogs, leaks, wear, and other problems that develop from outdated or improperly maintained pipes and plumbing fixtures. This can save you money on water damage repair, money on emergency plumbing service calls over the years, and time due to the inconvenience and stress of plumbing problems.
Proactive maintenance alone can save you significantly by reducing wear and tear on plumbing fixtures impacted by Rochester’s hard water. For example, having our experts drain your water heater to remove mineral buildup can help your heater retain its lifespan of ten years so you don’t have to replace it more often due to scale buildup and internal damage.
Modern plumbing improvements can also help you save money on your monthly water bill. More water-efficient appliances and fixtures like newer dishwashers and washing machines use less water per load. More efficient showerheads, faucets, and toilets can also lower total water usage. Even without upgrading your appliances and fixtures, actively maintained plumbing systems have fewer drips and leaks, resulting in significantly less water waste over time.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Rochester vs Hire a Plumber?
The faster you can notify the appropriate professional about a developing plumbing emergency, the faster you can avert damage to your property or the surrounding area. If you notice an unusual water outage and others in your neighborhood are experiencing the same problem, report the issue to the RPU Service Center. They maintain phone lines for business-hour and after-hour calls. Other problems that the city may be responsible for include broken water mains that are leaking or spraying water into public areas.
However, for plumbing issues that solely affect your property, we recommend you contact us. Plumbing issues are generally considered the responsibility of the individual property owner, so our plumbers can quickly assess the situation and present options to resolve the underlying plumbing issue. For plumbing issues that are resulting in significant water damage or leaks in and around your home, we recommend shutting off your water supply if safely possible and requesting emergency service from our plumbers. Acting quickly can help you minimize the damage and prevent the issue from growing larger or more serious.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Rochester?
The city of Rochester requires homeowners or plumbing contractors to apply for a permit for many plumbing-related projects that can be categorized as projects for new structures, projects related to adding square footage, or plumbing projects that make alterations to a structure. The permitting process allows the city to determine the viability and safety of a project, as well as to ensure the process and the final product is up to code and the city’s standards.
For example, our plumber replacing the flapper in a leaking toilet won’t require a permit; one of our plumbers who is converting a bath-shower combo unit into a walk-in shower will need to file a permit application. When we replace exterior piping as part of an emergency repair following freezing weather, we will also need to file a permit. Our plumber will know which tasks require this step and will be able to explain the details for your specific project.