Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Lincoln?
- 2 How Does the Water in Lincoln Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Lincoln?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Lincoln?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Lincoln vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Lincoln?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Lincoln?
Leaky pipes and running toilets are some of the most common plumbing issues across the county, but every city also tends to have its own unique challenges based on its location. In Lincoln, the plumbing problems we most frequently encounter are related to the weather. This area gets very cold in winter, with an average low of 25.8° F. These severe temperature drops can wreak havoc on your plumbing system, with homes in Lincoln being particularly prone to frozen pipes. The city warns residents to be especially mindful of this possibility if the outside temperature has been below freezing for several days in a row. Pipes that are at the greatest risk of freezing are those that are located in unheated areas, such as a basement, an outside wall, or around your water meter.
A good sign that your pipes are frozen is if you suddenly lose water flow to a particular fixture, such as your shower or your kitchen sink. This is a serious problem, as frozen water will expand within the pipe and potentially cause it to burst. Burst pipes can lead to severe water damage and increased water bills and are typically expensive to fix. Our experienced plumbers can help you safely thaw your pipes if you suspect they have frozen.
Other plumbing problems that are common during Lincoln winters include:
- Water heater failure, commonly caused by mineral build-up in your tank from the city’s hard water
- Drain blockages, made worse by mineral deposits from the hard water in the area
- Pipe leaks, which can occur after frozen pipes thaw or in aging pipes that are common in Lincoln
How Does the Water in Lincoln Affect Your Plumbing?
Lincoln’s water comes from wells located along the Platte River. Half of this water is groundwater, while the other half is surface water. Our Annual Drinking Water Quality Report notes that the water in this area is always very high quality due to the natural filtration of groundwater. However, one fact of note is that this water contains slightly over 6 ppb (parts per billion) of arsenic. This amount is still below the Safe Drinking Water limit of 10 ppb, but it is high enough that Lincoln officials are monitoring it and evaluating ways to lower these levels in the future.
When it comes to your plumbing system, the water in Lincoln may have a somewhat negative impact. This is because the water here is considered “moderately hard,” containing 61 ppm (parts per million) of calcium. Hard water is caused by particularly high levels of calcium, which can cause solid mineral deposits to build up anywhere that frequently comes in contact with warm water. On areas such as your showerhead and faucets, this typically manifests as unsightly scaling — an inconvenience, but nothing a little vinegar can’t remove.
However, when this type of buildup accumulates in your pipes, it can be very detrimental to your plumbing system. You may become more prone to slow drains, your pipes are more likely to burst, and systems such as your water heater will be working overtime to compensate. This is very inconvenient and can reduce the lifespan of your equipment.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Lincoln?
Plumbing costs can vary widely between $90 and $800, but homeowners in this area typically pay around $300 to $400 on average. However, there are quite a few factors that will influence the cost of your plumbing visit, including:
Cost Factor: The Cost of Materials
The materials required for your plumbing visit will have a significant impact on the ultimate price. Simple, common jobs are unlikely to require high amounts of materials, meaning that they will generally be more affordable. However, if you are doing a major installation, or if the plumbing damage is quite extensive, our plumber is likely to require more materials to properly complete the job.
Living in Lincoln, you are also subject to slightly higher sales taxes. The state of Nebraska has a sales tax of 5.5 percent, but in Lincoln, it jumps up to 7.25 percent. This means you will pay more for materials here than you would in the surrounding areas.
Cost Factor: The Urgency of the Job
If you have a burst pipe or another plumbing emergency in the middle of the night, it won’t be able to wait until morning. In order to properly contain the damage, our plumber will need to arrive as quickly as possible to begin resolving the issue. Because emergencies often happen during off-hours, the price of labor will increase in order to properly compensate our plumbers. Additionally, plumbing emergencies will naturally tend to create more damage, which will cost more to repair.
Cost Factor: The Size of the Job
If you have a small problem such as a running toilet, our plumber will likely be able to resolve it quickly and easily, using minimal materials. As such, the cost of labor will fall. If, on the other hand, you’re planning for a larger installation or project, you can expect to pay much higher fees. These will cover both the cost of hiring our plumbers and the cost of the system you are installing or upgrading.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Lincoln?
Investing in better plumbing is one of the best things you can do to save money in the long run. Lincoln officials particularly encourage a focus on water conservation, pointing out that a Lincoln family of four will use an average of 300 to 400 gallons of water every single day. That number doesn’t even account for leaks, which can cost a minimum of $180 per year if not caught and resolved. This type of water usage adds up rapidly, and taking the time to install water-saving plumbing devices can save you a significant amount of money while also reducing your impact on the environment. A few options for water-saving devices include:
- High-efficiency toilets
- Recirculating hot water systems
- Performance showerheads
- Water-saving faucets
In addition to focusing on water conservation, it is an excellent idea to schedule regular preventative maintenance inspections with our experienced plumbers. While it may seem strange to spend money when you don’t have an active plumbing problem, our plumber will be able to identify areas of your system that have the potential for future problems. Stopping an issue before it happens will always be less expensive than waiting for it to escalate. In Lincoln, our plumbers will generally place particular emphasis on ensuring your pipes are prepared for the freezing weather.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Lincoln vs Hire a Plumber?
Although you will most often need to contact our plumbers for problems within your own home, there are some scenarios where you may want to contact the customer service line for the Lincoln Water and Wastewater Department. The City should be your first point of contact for major water or sewage issues, particularly if your neighbors are experiencing similar problems. If the water stops flowing to your entire home, this will warrant a call to the City. You should also alert officials if your water pressure suddenly drops, as this may indicate a burst water line.
If your water starts exhibiting a strange color, taste, or smell — and the issue does not resolve itself after you have flushed your pipes for several minutes — this is another time you should contact the City. Other problems that warrant the involvement of the Water and Wastewater Department include:
- A leak that is not coming from your own pipes
- A persistent smell of sewage
- Leaking fire hydrants
One area of potential confusion is whether or not the leak on your property is coming from your own pipes or a public water line. Fortunately, there is a fairly easy way to check this. Turn off all the water in your home, including appliances such as ice makers. Then simply take a look at your water meter. If the meter stops turning but you can still see the leak, this means that the source is not one of your pipes. You should contact the City as soon as possible to alert them of a potential water line leak.
However, if the meter is still turning even after you’ve turned off all your water, this means that the leak is coming from your own pipes. In this case, you will need to contact our plumbers for assistance. You should also contact us for almost any other plumbing problem that is localized to your own home, particularly if that problem is unrelated to the flow of sewage or drinking water.
If you believe you have a problem that requires the involvement of Lincoln officials, you can contact (402) 441-7551 to be connected with a customer service representative.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Lincoln?
Lincoln has fairly extensive permit requirements. Standard maintenance and repairs, such as fixing a clogged drain, will not require a permit. However, you will need a permit for any type of major project or installation. You or our plumbers will be able to select a permit here and will need to login, in order to fill it out.
In addition to permits for plumbing installation, you will also need to apply for a permit if you are replacing the water lines in your home. Before moving forward on this type of project, you will need to schedule an inspection with the Lincoln Water System by calling (402) 441-5926 or (402) 441-7571.