Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Chapel Hill?
- 2 How Does the Water in Chapel Hill Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Chapel Hill?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Chapel Hill?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Chapel Hill vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Chapel Hill?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Chapel Hill?
The types of plumbing problems you’re likely to experience in your Chapel Hill home depend on which neighborhood you live in. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? But, the truth is, the older the plumbing is in your home, the more likely it is to need repairs. That’s not to say that newer plumbing doesn’t have problems. Every home in Chapel Hill has an occasional clogged sink, backed-up toilet, or minor leak. Some homes, on the other hand, experience unique issues such as:
Low Water Pressure
Leaks create a drastic and noticeable change in water pressure. Gradual water pressure changes are often caused by mineral buildup, which slowly narrows your pipes and fixtures, allowing less volume of water to flow through it. This can be avoided when you do maintenance checks of your pipes. Rather than wait for leaks to escalate to burst pipes, contact us for maintenance checks, and we will arrange a scheduled plan when these should be done as well.
There are three main historic districts in Chapel Hill, NC: the Gimghoul Historic District, the Cameron/McCauley Historic District, and the Franklin/Rosemary Historic District. All three historic districts date back to the 1920s. In and around these historic districts are beautiful, classic homes built from the mid- to late-nineteenth century, with some dating to the early 1800s.
With these older homes, come older pipes. Most homes built before the 1960s installed galvanized piping. The biggest problem with galvanized pipes in your Chapel Hill home is that they eventually begin to rust due to the corrosive nature of the water. Rust weakens the pipe walls, allowing cracks to form, so water can leak out. But it’s not just the pipes; it’s also the connections that rust and become unstable. All that rust isn’t good for you and your family either. Water containing high levels of rust can also have a nasty odor that makes it unappealing and unsuitable for drinking, laundry, or showering. Replacing these outdated pipes is the only fix. It will save you from the frustration of having a burst pipe. We could remove them for you and replace them with copper, CPVC, or PEX pipes.
Amateur Plumbing Fixes
One of the biggest plumbing problems we see every day is amateur plumbing repairs. People don’t always understand that paying for a professional ensures the work meets the building code. They like to think that they can make repairs around their home and that it will be as good as a professional’s work, but the truth is amateur plumbing is not a good thing. An incorrectly installed pipe or fixture can end up causing serious damage and extensive repair bills and fines. Contact experienced plumbers, like us, to handle your plumbing problems efficiently right away and save you from having an expensive plumbing nightmare.
Heavy Rains and Your Sump Pump
Chapel Hill, NC gets an average of 46.3 inches of rainfall every year compared to the US average of 38.1 inches each year. To add, North Carolina, in general, is one of the states most susceptible to hurricanes. If your Chapel Hill, NC home has a basement, you need to make sure that it’s functioning properly, otherwise, you might wake up one morning to a flooded basement during a heavy overnight storm.
Sump pumps should last about 10 years with regular maintenance. We recommend testing your sump pump annually; twice a year if you live in a flood-prone area. If your sump pump happens to fail, give us a call as soon as possible before you get any water damage in your home and belongings.
How Does the Water in Chapel Hill Affect Your Plumbing?
The Orange Water and Sewage Authority (OWASA) provides water to the homes and businesses located in Chapel Hill. OWASA’s water supply starts as rain collected in the watersheds of Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake. The water is pumped to a water treatment plant, where it’s treated with chemicals. This process helps clean the water so that it’s safe to drink and use for personal hygiene, laundry, and all the other things we need water for.
Taking out the algae, bacteria, and waterborne viruses in the water are accomplished by adding chemicals. One of those chemicals is chlorine, which can be highly problematic for old pipes. Its acidic nature speeds up pipe decay and increases the chances of a catastrophic break. Water treatment chemicals and existing issues with rust combine in some cases, making the water utterly unusable.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Chapel Hill?
Plumbers everywhere charge by the hour, and you can expect to pay somewhere between $80 and $200 just for the hourly charges. A homeowner pays an average of $359 for plumbing. It normally goes as low as $87 for easy fixes to as expensive as $631 for emergencies. We can’t say how much your plumbing bill will be in Chapel Hill, but we can say a quick job usually takes an hour or two. Bigger jobs can take days. Besides time, there are other things that you’ll be responsible for, including parts and supplies that are necessary to complete your plumbing job. Some other factors that go into your plumbing bill include:
The Scope of Work
Small projects like replacing a kitchen faucet and drain are relatively easy and usually don’t take long. But when we provide estimates for large-scale plumbing projects in Chapel Hill, we have to take into account the amount of time it will take, the amount of work that’s to be done, the timeline for the work, and the amount of risk we’re going to be taking to do the job.
If your 2-story home has lead pipes installed throughout and everything needs to be repiped, we’ll inspect every pipe and give you an accurate estimate for replacing the pipes and fixtures. We’ll also provide you with an estimate of how long the work will take so that you can plan the rest of your life.
Where’s the Plumbing?
One thing that determines the cost of plumbing services in Chapel Hill is where the plumbing problem is located. If you are having a plumbing problem, and it’s obvious, like a bathroom sink that drips endlessly or a toilet that’s clogged, your plumbing bill won’t be as alarming as you might expect. The most obvious plumbing problems can be fixed in a few minutes.
The same can’t be said for water leaks hidden in walls or under the floor. Often, small drips are very difficult to detect when they’re hidden behind a wall. We’re experts at tracking down hidden leaks in the plumbing of Chapel Hill homes of all ages, and we’ll get to the source of the problem quickly.
Indoors or Outdoors?
There’s no doubt that some plumbing problems inside your home can be expensive, like replacing all those old lead pipes. But, doing so protects your family and ultimately increases the value of your home. Maintaining your home’s plumbing is a good investment that doesn’t cost a lot.
Outdoor plumbing repairs for water main and sewer line leaks are more expensive than indoor plumbing. It takes more people and heavier equipment to remove large pipes and experience to install new ones properly. Our crews are very well-trained, and we know exactly what it takes to repair your outdoor plumbing fast.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Chapel Hill?
If you live in an older home with lead, galvanized, or poly pipes, having them removed and replaced with modern materials is a great way to save money and protect yourself. When you get rid of those rusty old pipes, you’ll notice your laundry is whiter and brighter, your hair feels and looks better, and your skin isn’t so dry. You’ll also notice that your washing machine, dishwasher, and icemaker work better.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Chapel Hill vs Hire a Plumber?
The simple answer is that it depends upon where the problem is. Whenever you have a problem with the plumbing on your side of the water meter, it’s your responsibility to have it repaired. This includes the plumbing inside your home, the exterior faucets, and even part of the water main and sewer line. Basically, if the water meter is still spinning despite a leak, it’s probably your problem.
Anytime there’s a main water leak on the sidewalk or street, it’s a city issue, and you should call OWASA. They’ll send a truck and crew out to turn off the main water valve so they can safely and effectively make the necessary repairs.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Chapel Hill?
Like every other city, Chapel Hill has strict building code requirements for new construction, remodeling, and reconstruction processes. Every aspect of a building is subject to these rules. When it comes to plumbing in Chapel Hill, you are required to obtain an online application for what’s called a sub permit if you’re going to perform any of the following activities:
- Plumbing System Installation
- Plumbing System Extensions
- Plumbing System Repair
- Plumbing System Alteration
The types of plumbing work that you’re allowed to perform under this permit include:
- Water Heater Installation and Replacement
- Installation of Irrigation Systems
- Water Line or Sewer Line Repairs
- Water Line or Sewer Line Replacements
We’ve got a lot of experience dealing with plumbing issues in Chapel Hill, and we’re experts at dealing with the city. We always take care of everything regarding sub permits and inspections, no matter how big or small the plumbing job is. Keep in mind that even if you’ve decided to go ahead and take care of your plumbing problem yourself, you still need to pull a sub permit for the work. You’ll also need to have everything inspected once you’re finished to ensure that it meets the city’s building codes.