Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Oklahoma City?
- 2 How Does the Water in Oklahoma City Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Oklahoma City?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Oklahoma City?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Oklahoma City vs. Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Oklahoma City?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Oklahoma City?
In the first census count, after Oklahoma became a state in 1907, Oklahoma City was already a quickly growing city of over 64,000 people. Since then, we’ve added over a half-million people, making the Big Friendly a lively, cosmopolitan place to live. Unfortunately, you may not enjoy life quite as much here if you’re having plumbing problems.
Slow and Clogged Drains
Perhaps the most common service call we make, drains that are slow to empty or those that are completely clogged can make life miserable, especially if they prevent you from using necessary fixtures. If a plunger or household drain snake doesn’t solve your problem or you experience slow drains frequently, it’s a good time to call a plumber. Recurring problems can indicate more substantial issues, such as larger clogs further down the line, tree roots in your pipes, or other issues. Sometimes, clogs just need some specialized equipment and expertise. We do recommend you avoid using caustic drain cleaners which can corrode your pipes and lead to more substantial (and expensive) repairs.
Frozen or Leaky Pipes
When winter comes and snow and ice storms roll across the plains, we get numerous calls to repair pipes that have frozen as cold winds blow through and dreaded ice storms hit, especially if pipes have burst. Sometimes pipes burst as water in them expands as it freezes, causing weak spots to break open. Other times, frozen pipes burst as they thaw out when water begins to flow again and forces its way into small gaps in the frozen sections, forcing them open with too much pressure. Other causes of the leaky pipes and fixtures we are frequently called to repair include worn or corroded connections, water pressure changes, and physical damage.
Water Quality and Quantity
Whether you notice your water smelling bad, looking odd, or find you’re not getting the water pressure you want, a call to our plumbers can help figure out the problem and set things right. We can also help you determine if your plumbing has any lead pipes or soldering. While the City of Oklahoma City has removed known lead pipes in the municipal water system, homes in our older neighborhoods, such as Mesta Park or Heritage Hills, may still have lead piping in service lines, and occasionally, in homes or the solder in household pipes. Water supply problems also frequently prompt calls for plumbing repairs. Sudden drops in water pressure can indicate a break in a supply line (on your side or the city’s side) or another municipal supply issue. Water pressure that slowly decreases over time can be the result of mineral buildup in pipes or aerators, problems with a pressure regulator, or something else entirely.
Water Heater Issues
One of the absolute joys of modern plumbing is the opportunity to have hot water on demand, available anytime. Unfortunately, our water heaters have a limited lifespan, and when they fail, we hope they won’t cause damage or be at too inopportune a time. Besides failure (and replacement), water heater service calls can also be for pilot light problems, rumbling noises, rust, leaks, water that doesn’t get hot enough, and other issues.
Sump Pump Issues
Many homes around Oklahoma City have sump pumps, especially in lower-lying neighborhoods such as Paseo, Mesta Park, or around downtown. If your basement draws water during or after heavy rains, a sump pump can help keep it dry. As with most critical equipment, it’s important to perform regular maintenance on your sump pump, including cleaning both the pump and the sump and oiling or greasing any bearings in the pump, too. Our plumbing experts can help with these maintenance tasks if you prefer.
How Does the Water in Oklahoma City Affect Your Plumbing?
In general, Oklahoma City produces excellent quality water for over half a million residents and businesses across our city. In fact, the Oklahoma City Utilities Department was awarded the Partnership for Safe Water award in 2019. The only general complaint most people have about our water is that it’s pretty hard.
About Water “Hardness” in Oklahoma City
When people refer to water’s “hardness”, they are referring to its dissolved mineral content — usually calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Measured in grains per gallon (gpg) of dissolved minerals, lower numbers mean softer water while higher numbers mean harder water. Most people prefer water that falls between about 3.5 and 7, neither too hard nor too soft. Water in Oklahoma City generally rates about 9 gpg, making it fairly hard water.
Hard Water and Your Plumbing
Hard water can be a good thing for your plumbing sometimes. It doesn’t corrode your pipes as quickly as soft water, and it doesn’t absorb as many problematic substances from pipes such as lead. On the other hand, hard water can cause mineral buildup in your pipes, can clog aerators, and can annoy you by leaving spots on your glassware and dishes.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Oklahoma City?
Plumbing work in Oklahoma City generally falls between $150 for small, basic jobs and $650 for more complicated jobs, with the average plumbing call costing about $400. Numerous aspects of a job can affect how much it will cost, and it’s very hard to make a reasonable estimate without knowing more details about a specific plumbing situation. Here are details about some of the factors that can influence plumbing costs.
Cost Factor: Type and Scope of Work
What a plumbing job requires and how complicated it is are, naturally, two of the most important factors that influence the cost of plumbing work. Replacing a single kitchen faucet or fixing an uncomplicated toilet clog will be much less expensive than excavating a sewer line or re-plumbing your kitchen. Sometimes, very simple jobs turn out to have unexpected complications, such as a single leaky pipe that turns out to be part of a network of leaks that are rotting out a section of floor joists. Alternatively, what you may expect to be an expensive, broken water supply line may instead turn out to be a pressure regulator valve problem.
Cost Factor: Permits and Additional Expenses
When plumbing work requires a permit and/or inspections, those costs will add to the overall expense of a plumbing job. Other additional expenses may include materials and supplies required to safely install or repair your plumbing and to do the job to your satisfaction.
Cost Factor: Labor and Equipment
Some plumbing work will require additional workers or a longer time than expected to complete, adding to the overall cost. This is especially true with plumbing work since so much of it involves pipes that are hidden inside walls and underground. Emergency service during off-hours or holidays may also add to the total, as can any specialized equipment needed.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Oklahoma City?
One of the benefits of improving your plumbing is that you will generally waste less water, resulting in savings on your water bill. Better quality, well-maintained plumbing can also save you money by helping to prevent breaks, leaks, failures, and other problems which could cause more serious, more expensive damage to your home. Some ways you can improve your plumbing include:
Upgrade Pipes and Fixtures
Older homes, especially those in the oldest parts of town, like Heritage Hills, tend to have pipes that have been exposed to the stresses and strains of regular use for many years. They may be more prone to leaks, breakage, clogs, and other wear-and-tear problems. Even if your pipes are in excellent condition, installing faucets and fixtures which conserve water can reduce your water consumption, saving you again.
Small leaks can easily turn into major disasters, so taking care of them can prevent costly problems in the future. In addition, fixing even a tiny leak can have a big impact on your water bill. The average household wastes about 10,000 gallons of water each year due to small leaks.
Most things work better and more efficiently with regular maintenance, and your plumbing is no exception. Flushing your water heater regularly, replacing its sacrificial anode, promptly repairing leaky faucets, and keeping drains clear are all important tasks for any homeowner. You can also arrange for our plumbers to help you out. In addition, having your sewer lines regularly checked for cracks, breaks, and tree root invasion can bring small problems to your attention before they become more complicated and expensive to repair.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Oklahoma City vs. Hire a Plumber?
The municipal water service has grown quite a bit since its founding in 1908 when the Oklahoma City government purchased 14 wells and some pipes. Expansions and thoughtful planning led Oklahoma City to continue to supply quality water to residents, even through the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Today, the water department supplies about 95 million gallons each day across their service area. Technological innovations in recent years have made it easy to check for water outages or report your own water outage. In general, a problem on the municipal side will be in the pipes beyond your water meter and will almost always affect you and your close neighbors. If your neighbors aren’t experiencing any of the issues you are, the problem is probably on your side of the water meter, and therefore, is your responsibility. You should contact our plumbers to help diagnose the problem and discuss repairs with you.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Oklahoma City?
The City of Oklahoma City takes safety seriously and requires permits for most construction, renovation, and substantial repairs. Most plumbing work in Oklahoma City requires a permit that is issued to a licensed plumbing contractor. Work requiring permits includes replacing or installing a water heater, moving or installing pipes, installing new fixtures, and other more complex or extensive work. Smaller plumbing repairs, such as unclogging pipes and fixtures or replacing a faucet generally don’t require a permit. Our licensed plumbers will be able to determine the scope of work necessary, and whether or not a permit will be required.