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?
Clogged drains are one of the top reasons that Rochester residents call in our plumbers. Often, people call us after trying an over-the-counter drain cleaner. These products are often not effective, especially on very large or stubborn clogs. Liquid drain cleaners are abrasive and damages pipes if frequently used. Plus, these chemicals are not safe for the average person to handle. If they can damage pipes, imagine what they can do to your skin or eyes! Our plumbers have special tools to safely clear out clogs created by hair, grease, soap build-up, and food.
Another common reason that we hear from people is reduced or no hot water. The heating element in your water heater won’t last forever and requires replacement periodically. The first sign of a faulty heating element is having less and less hot water. Your usual 15-minute hot shower suddenly goes cold after just 5 minutes. You want to call our plumbers right away if you notice a change in your hot water supply. No one wants to be without hot water, especially on a cold Rochester winter morning! And in some cases, the entire heater needs to be replaced. Most water heaters will last between 8 and 12 years. If yours is that age or older, it might be time to buy and install a new one.
And speaking of winter, we see our fair share of burst pipes during the colder months. Pipes burst when the water inside freezes and expands. A burst pipe is considered a plumbing emergency. So if this happens in your home, turn off the main water valve (you do know where that is, don’t you?!) and give us a call right away.
Our plumber will repair the burst pipe and identify the reason why the water froze in the first place. There can be many causes behind a burst pipe, including inadequate home insulation or air leaks in the walls. We often see burst pipes in homes that are unoccupied during the winter, especially rental properties. The vast majority of housing in Rochester – almost two-thirds – is rented out. If a landlord has a home or apartment that will be unoccupied during the winter months, they can call us to ensure the pipes aren’t at risk for freezing. We can inspect in the summer or fall before the cold weather sets in.
We also receive calls to replace and update plumbing fixtures. Not everyone is a DIYer, and that’s okay! Our plumbers can swap out that old, ugly kitchen sink and replace it with the modern farmhouse basin of your dreams. Or, maybe it’s time for a new shower head. Our experts do so much more than fix leaky pipes. We can also help you assess your current plumbing and let you know if newer, eco-friendly options are available on the market. No one likes to pay more for their utilities than they have to, and we know the tricks of the trade to keep your costs low.
How Does the Water in Rochester Affect Your Plumbing?
Most people don’t give much thought to where the water in their home comes from. The Finger Lakes south of here is much more than a tourist destination – they serve as Rochester’s water supply. When you turn on the faucet to get a drink or take a shower, you’re using water primarily from Hemlock Lake and Canadice Lake. Aside from hardness, the water from these lakes does not pose any unique problems for Rochester residents.
After leaving the Finger Lakes, Rochester’s water passes through two different treatment plants. The water tested at these plants have hardness ratings that range from 95 to 130. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) classifies these ratings as “moderately hard” to “hard.”
While it sounds ominous, “hard water” is simply water with elevated levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium. The presence of these minerals is not a health concern, nor does it make water taste bad. Rochester won the title of “Best Tasting Water in New York State.”
However, hard water is problematic for plumbing systems. One telltale sign that your home has hard water is the presence of scale build-up on plumbing fixtures like showerheads. You may also notice this build-up on glasses you take out of the dishwater. As this scale forms inside of water pipes, it can create lower water pressure over time. This buildup can also affect your water heater’s performance. If your home has hard water, our plumber can advise you on your best options for a water softening system.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Rochester?
If you’re in need of a plumber in Rochester, you’re probably wondering how much you can expect to pay. Keep in mind that “plumbing services” is a giant umbrella term for everything from putting in a new gasket on a kitchen faucet to replacing old copper pipes beneath a home’s subflooring. That being said, the average plumbing bill in Rochester comes in at $462, with an average range of $112 to $812. These prices do not include permits or state and local taxes.
When you hire our plumbers, several factors will affect the final cost.
Urgency of Plumbing Emergency
You can expect to pay more if you have a plumbing emergency and need service ASAP. If a pipe bursts at 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday, repairs simply can’t wait until Monday. Mr. Blue Plumbing happily provides 24/7 emergency services, but you can expect a higher price tag for middle-of-the-night and Christmas Day repairs.
Scope and Nature of Plumbing Project
As with any home repairs, the scope and nature of the plumbing project will affect the final price. A new faucet installation will run about $130 to $235. And for a sewer line cleaning, you can expect to pay in the $220 to $346 range. If you want our master plumber to install a water treatment and purification system, that will cost you around $3,160 to $4,475.
You may be able to be reimbursed for some plumbing services by taking advantage of rebates. The state of New York offers several programs and incentives for energy-efficient home and commercial improvements. Many of these programs apply to heating and cooling, but there are incentives for water heaters, water-saving measures, and pipe insulation.
The city of Rochester offers several Housing Rehabilitation Programs. These programs help qualified homeowners pay for services like new hot water tanks, water access, and improvements that eliminate health and safety hazards. Each program has its requirements, and the funds are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Rochester?
Like most home improvement projects, better plumbing is an expense that will save you money in the long run. Take leaky faucets, for example. They’re not only annoying (drip, drip, drip); they’re also expensive. If you’ve been putting off replacing worn-out washers or gaskets, you’re quite literally throwing money down the drain. If a faucet leaks one drop per second for an entire year, 3,000 gallons will be wasted.
While a faucet leak is apparent, other leaks may not be. Homeowners should routinely inspect the water pipes throughout their house: underneath sinks, utility rooms, and the basement. Carefully inspect any joints and fittings for leaks. Undetected water leaks can lead to mold growth and cause ceilings and floors to rot. You won’t be able to visually inspect every single piece of plumbing in your home, as some of it runs behind walls and under floors. In those places, you have to look for other clues. Discolored paint, wood, or carpeting can be a sign that there is a water leak.
And if you’re lucky enough to own a property in one of Rochester’s eight Preservation Districts, it’s important to know what your water pipes are made of. In the past, brass, cast iron, steel, and even clay make up pipes. Know that these materials all have a limited lifespan and will require replacement sooner or later. Our experts can inspect your vintage pipes and let you know if they’re in good working order or if it’s time to upgrade to modern materials like copper or PVC. Certain repair and maintenance work on homes in the Preservation Districts must be approved ahead of time by the city’s Preservation Board. The city of Rochester requires written approval by the Board in addition to any other permits.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Rochester vs Hire a Plumber?
If you’re having trouble with your water, you may be unsure about who to call, the water utility company or a plumber. One good rule of thumb is that if your neighbors are also having water issues, you should contact Rochester’s Water Service first. For example, if both you and your neighbors suddenly have no water or significantly lower pressure, something will likely go on with the municipal lines. On the other hand, if your water is at a trickle, but your neighbor’s water flow is normal, the problem is probably in your home’s plumbing.
The city is also responsible for fire hydrants, no matter their location. If you see a leaking or burst hydrant, you should also call the city.
Keep in mind that not all plumbing problems happen above ground. An underground leaking water line can create a patch of muddy soil in your yard. If you see that, your best bet might be to call our plumbers. We can come out and assess the situation. We’ll let you know if it’s something we can work on, or if we need to bring in the city, too.
When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Rochester?
Some plumbing services do require a permit. After reviewing a plumbing project and ensuring that it meets the necessary codes and regulations, the city issues permits. We perform plumbing services only after the required permits have been obtained. Rochester’s building and plumbing permits exist to keep not only us safe but your family and the greater community as well.
If you choose to tackle plumbing problems on your own, it can be difficult to know exactly what permits you might need. Hiring our professional plumbera in Rochester takes the guesswork out of the equation.
When applying for a plumbing permit in Rochester, you can expect to pay the city a flat base fee in addition to separate fees for each service. Backflow repair and installation; dishwasher installation; laundry trays and tubs; sump pumps; tubs; and water heaters require permits for plumbing services.