Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Columbus?
- 2 How Does the Water in Columbus Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Columbus?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Columbus?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Columbus vs. Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Columbus?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Columbus?
Most of us take our water and gas lines and fixtures for granted until we come home to a burst pipe, wake up to no hot water, or find a toilet suddenly overflowing. Five of the most common problems Columbus homeowners encounter are issues frequently found across Ohio and in other states.
Leaky faucets, a shower head that drips all the time, or a toilet that is always slowly running are all sending good water and your money down the drain. If you live in Columbus, you might not notice the extra expense, but further out in Franklin County or in Upper Arlington, those extra gallons can make a dent in your budget. Stopping small drips and leaks is smart, because the average household wastes around 10,000 gallons of water each year just from those drips and slow leaks, adding up to around a trillion gallons of wasted water across the country annually.
Winter’s most bitterly cold days put a strain on us, our cars, our furnaces, and unfortunately, our pipes. Sometimes, even a well-maintained, well-insulated home can have a small gap in that insulation near a vulnerable pipe, and those freezing winds find a way in, freezing your pipes. Older homes, like those in Franklinton and closer to Worthington, are especially susceptible to frozen pipes. Unless the supply is shut off quickly, flowing water from burst pipes can quickly cause a watery disaster in your home and tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
Low Water Pressure
Finding your water pressure is lower than you expect can be an unwelcome discovery. Countless issues can cause low water pressure, from municipal supply issues or underground leaks in your supply line to faulty valves and corroded pipes, and more. If your problem is limited to your house (not also your neighbor’s) or affects only some fixtures in your home, it’s a good time to call our plumbers to see what’s causing it. If it’s a leak or a failing valve, you won’t want to delay repairs.
Water Heater Problems
Few problems are more annoying in the morning than stepping into the shower only to find there’s no hot water. Water heater problems are one of our most frequent calls. Our harder water in Columbus can mean your water heater’s anode will last longer, but also that sediment will build up faster. Doing a little work yourself, such as checking the anode and draining your water heater, can help your water heater run more efficiently and last longer.
Clogs and Slow Drains
Probably our most common service call is helping with clogged toilets, pipes, and slow drains. Whether it’s tree roots below the shady streets like those in Clintonville or pipe buildup from the hard water across Franklin County, numerous situations can cause slow and clogged pipes and drains. If plungers and a household snake have failed to make progress for you, you may need to hire our plumbers to clear your pipes with professional-grade tools or specialized equipment.
How Does the Water in Columbus Affect Your Plumbing?
The water in Columbus and throughout Franklin County is normally of very good quality, both for municipal supply and most residential wells. Occasionally, particularly after major storms, even “city water” can have a little change in smell, taste, or appearance that may not be to your liking, but which is perfectly safe and causes no problems for your plumbing. If any of these bother you, there are a variety of filters you can install yourself, or you can arrange for a whole-house filter.
The most common complaint about Columbus-area water is that it’s too “hard” — though many people don’t really understand what that means beyond it leaving spots on dishes, soap scum in the bathtub and washing machine. As water travels over and through the land, it absorbs minerals. Some of those minerals like iron can affect its color, but others, usually calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, cause water to be more alkaline (less acidic) or “hard”. These dissolved minerals are measured in grains per gallon (gpg) and water is rated hard or soft based on those measurements. In general, 3.5 gpg and lower is soft water and 7.0 and higher is hard water. After treatment, our Franklin County water leans into the harder water category with measurements usually around 7 gpg.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Columbus?
When it comes to burst pipes, water heater replacement, a new shower, a clogged toilet, slow drains, etc., most homeowners tend to fear the cost of plumbing repairs, and many postpone making a service call to us for as long as possible. You’ll be pleased to know most plumbing calls around Columbus cost from $200 to around $600 with the average call being about $400. Of course, so much of what our plumbers work with is hidden in pipes and connections behind walls, water and gas pipes underground, drains under the floors, and more that it can be hard to make a truly accurate estimate until we investigate your plumbing situation. Here are some of the more common factors that can affect the overall cost of a plumbing job.
Cost Factor: Type and Complexity of Service
Naturally, fixing a couple of leaky faucets will cost quite a bit less than excavating a broken sewer line, but you get the idea. Generally, the larger or more complex the repair, the more it will cost. As we mentioned, there’s a lot of hidden territory we may need to get into to properly fix a plumbing issue. What seems like a simple clogged kitchen drain may turn out to be roots blocking your sewer line, making a small job into a larger one. Alternatively, what you fear may be a leaking water supply line may be a single clogged pipe or aerator, turning what you dreaded was a huge job into a fairly small repair.
Cost Factor: Materials and Supplies
Due to the fact that every home presents a unique combination of construction, plumbing, and problems, the materials and supplies we need for each service call can vary widely. Especially in working with older homes such as in German Village or Franklinton, much of the plumbing may have been installed before professional plumbers and code enforcement were common. This means we may need a wide variety of parts, materials, connectors, and other supplies to address your plumbing needs. In addition, the choices you make about the scope and extent of any work we do will have a direct effect on overall costs.
Cost Factor: Additional Expenses and Labor
Of course, some plumbing work in Columbus will require a permit, which will add to the cost of the work we do for you. As mentioned, we deal with a lot of the unexpected when facing problems with pipes and drains behind walls and under the ground. More complicated or extensive plumbing work will almost always require more labor, and sometimes, additional equipment. Finally, some plumbing jobs will require an inspection from the Columbus Building & Zoning Services department, adding more fees to your costs.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Columbus?
Many household improvements can help your home run more efficiently, and will often help you save money. Plumbing improvements are no exception. Here are just a few of the ways you can save money by improving your plumbing.
Fix Small Problems
A leaky faucet may be a small annoyance, but it’s also costing you money. A little drip doesn’t seem like much, but a single faucet dripping once per second can send about 3,000 gallons of water down the drain each year. That’s about 200 extra loads of laundry, 180 extra showers, or up to 500 additional loads in the dishwasher. Many small plumbing problems can, over time, turn into much bigger problems, potentially costing you a substantial amount to repair, so it just makes sense to take care of things while they’re easy and relatively inexpensive.
Most of us are pretty good about getting annual physicals, dental checkups, and changing the oil in our cars, but not so many bother with annual checkups for their plumbing. Scheduling plumbing maintenance with our experts on a regular basis can help you catch potential problems while they’re small and manageable. Some preventative maintenance we can help with includes checking the anode in your water heater, examining sewer pipes for tree roots and other blockages or damage, cleaning or replacing aerators for better water flow, check pipes for signs of leaks such as stains or mildew, and many other issues.
Clean water is a precious resource, and whether you want to conserve it for environmental considerations, money savings, or both, updating some of your plumbing can help. Replacing older fixtures with low-flow models and repairing leaks and other issues can help you use less and save more money while you do so.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Columbus vs. Hire a Plumber?
The Columbus Division of Water should probably be your first contact if you spot water gushing from the street where you suspect a water main break, or if you and your neighbors are all experiencing the same water issues. If problems seem to be localized to your home, a call to our plumbers is a better bet. We will be able to determine the cause of your issues, and in the unlikely event it should be needed, contact the Division of Water for you.
When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Columbus?
While obtaining permits often feels like an added burden to potentially expensive plumbing projects, the permitting process is designed to ensure our buildings and repairs are safe, reliable, and consistently done. If you’ve ever lived in an older home that was built or remodeled before permitting was common, you’ll know the pain and misery haphazard techniques and questionable workmanship can present. Technically, the building code in Columbus requires permits to “construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move or change the occupancy of a residential building or structure, or portion thereof.”
In practice, permits are generally required when moving plumbing lines, running new gas or water lines, or replacing a water heater while smaller repairs and replacements that don’t require pipes to be moved can usually be done without a permit. This complicated and uneven application of the statewide building code is an important reason to hire a responsible, experienced, and licensed plumber like Mr. Blue Plumbing to ensure your work is done in compliance with all local codes and regulations.