Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Albany?
- 2 How Does the Water in Albany Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Albany?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Albany?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Albany Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Albany?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Albany?
Located in the beautiful Willamette Valley, Albany, OR is predominantly a farming community that is also known as the rare metals capital of the world. Albany also has one of the most varied collections of historic buildings in Oregon. This combination of farming and history can lead to some unique plumbing issues, such as:
- Older toilets: Albany has a program to replace older-model toilets in the city’s homes with high-efficiency models. Many of these older toilets can use up to six gallons of water per flush, and replacing these toilets can save costly repairs, as well as over 95 million gallons of water a year. The City of Albany even has a rebate program if you replace your toilet with a high-efficiency one.
- Contaminants: The water supply in Albany is filtered and treated to eliminate contaminants that are unsafe, but occasionally, prior to being treated, higher levels of pesticides and herbicides were found during testing. Post-treatment testing does not show evidence of these chemicals, but it is important to be cautious about drinking water that has not been treated.
- Leaks: The water in Albany is fairly soft, and soft water can erode pipes and fixtures to result in leaks.
Other plumbing issues are common in homes across the country. Things such as leaky faucets, slow drains, and clogged pipes are problems we commonly receive plumbing repair calls for.
How Does the Water in Albany Affect Your Plumbing?
The City of Albany receives water from the Santiam River system through one of two treatment plants. The Albany-Millersburg treatment plant processes water from the Santiam River, while the Vine Street treatment plant processes water from the Santiam-Albany Canal, which is supplied by the South Santiam River. Albany’s water supply is typically very soft. Soft water has higher levels of sodium, while hard water has higher levels of calcium and magnesium. Soft water can erode pipes and fixtures, causing leaks.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Albany?
Plumbing repairs can be a costly home repair and can be even more expensive if other issues are found. Additionally, if repairs are not done right away, problems and costs can escalate quickly. On average, plumbing costs in Albany are between $107.00 and $780.00. These averages do not include costs for any necessary inspections or permits or contractor fees. How expensive your plumbing repair is can also be influenced by a few other factors.
How severe and extensive a problem is contributes a great deal to how expensive it is. And, unfortunately, repairs tend to become more extensive if you first try to repair the plumbing yourself, as one can unintentionally cause more problems. Additionally, if your home’s plumbing system is in poor condition, costs can escalate, as more problems are likely to be discovered during the project. A leaking sink drain might uncover pipes that are damaged and even mold, which will greatly increase your costs.
Generally, PVC plumbing is the type of pipe most commonly used due to its cheap cost. More expensive pipes, such as copper, stainless steel, or ABS pipes, are not as common because they are much more expensive. Unless necessary, the majority of plumbers prefer not to use them. Sales tax for materials is not an issue in Albany, since Oregon does not have any sales tax. A project such as a toilet installation, for example, will typically have a fixed charge which accounts for the cost of materials.
Hourly vs Fixed Rates
There are two ways that plumbing repairs can be priced (with pros and cons to both). A fixed rate is agreed upon prior to the start of the job. This is often used for projects where there is typically not much variance in time and materials, such as bathtub installations. The biggest benefit to this method is knowing that, regardless of how long it takes, the cost will be the same and there will be no surprises in the end. An hourly rate, which is commonly known as time and material is, as you might guess, calculated based on the time a job takes and how much the materials cost. Mr. Blue Plumbing will give you a reasonable estimate of costs and provide updates during the project for any problems that arise.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Albany?
You bet! Many plumbing projects might be more expensive initially, but many will save you money in the long run. In addition to saving money on any future repairs by fixing problems when you find them, plumbing that is in good repair can also save you money on your utility bill. A leaky faucet, for example, can add about an extra $20 a year to your water bill. That might not seem like much, but it does add up. It also wastes a lot of water (more than 3,600 gallons a year). Not to mention, only 1% of the water on the plant is suitable for human consumption, so 3,600 gallons, which is about how much water 20 people will drink in a year, is actually a lot. Plus, if you put that extra $20 in the bank, you can earn interest on it, and that is never a bad thing. Here are some more examples of how better plumbing can save you money:
- More efficient fixtures, such as low-flow toilets, not only save money on your utility bill, but also conserve water. Additionally, you can get rebates and other incentives for installing these types of energy-saving fixtures. The EnergyTrust of Oregon has a list of incentives for homeowners in Oregon if they purchase and install certain fixtures, such as:
- High-efficiency washers
- Tankless water heaters or other high-efficiency water heaters
- Energy-efficient fixtures also increase the value of your home. By adding energy-efficient fixtures, being proactive about fixing leaks and slow drains, and even installing a dishwasher if you don’t already have one, you can significantly increase the value of your home.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Albany Vs Hire a Plumber?
More often than not, a plumber from Mr. Blue Plumbing will be able to help fix any plumbing problems you encounter. There are a few instances, however, when you need to call the utility company instead. It might be a problem that only the utility company is allowed to handle or a plumber is not able to help with. If you are not sure if you should call a plumber or the utility company, a plumber can come out and investigate the situation and advise you on whether or not the utility company needs to be called. Here are a few common issues we see when it might not immediately be clear if you need a plumber or the utility company.
Any time you think your home may be out of water, talk to your neighbors before calling the utility company. There might be an issue with the city water supply, which would require a call to your utility company, but if nobody else in the neighborhood is having the same problems, it is likely only a problem with your house. In this case, it would be more appropriate to call a plumber.
Any time you find a water leak, either in your house or somewhere else on the property, the first step is to determine where the leak is coming from. This is because, depending on where the leak is coming from, it might be your responsibility to fix it or it might be the city’s responsibility to fix it. In general, leaks on your property are going to be your responsibility, while the utility company is responsible for any leaks from a broken water main. If you can’t find the shut-off valve for your water, or it does not work, or you think there is a break in your water line, often a plumber can easily help with that.
If you are concerned that there might be a water leak in your neighbor’s home and it does not look like they are home, you should call the utility company. While it might seem like you are just being a good neighbor, you can actually get into trouble for shutting your neighbor’s water off yourself. If you are not employed by the utility company, it is actually illegal to turn someone else’s water off. The utility company will come out and decide if the water needs to be turned off. And any time you think there is an error in your bill, you should contact the utility company. Unfortunately, plumbers can’t make any adjustments to your bill even if they work with the utility company.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Albany?
Even though trying to fix plumbing repairs on your own might seem like a great way to save time and money, most of the time you will actually find yourself spending more time and money and then still needing to hire a plumber. Additionally, most projects require a permit from the City of Albany. Most of the time, you do not need a permit if you are simply repairing existing appliances or other fixtures that are already in place. If you are replacing anything that does not require water to operate, such as a toilet seat, you generally do not need a permit. Here are some situations where the City of Albany requires a permit.
- Anything to do with the piping system, which includes repair, replacement, relocation, or addition of any pipes
- Installation of new plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, tubs, dishwashers, and ice makers
- Replacement of water heaters or any existing fixtures that are associated with a water heater
- Capping off pipes from previously removed fixtures
- Installation of sprinkler systems, drywells, or backflow prevention assemblies for lawn sprinkler systems
- Anything to do with sewer lines, sump pumps, and septic systems. Routine septic system cleaning does not require a permit, but it should always be done by a licensed professional.
- Replacing a metallic (copper or galvanized steel) system with a non-metallic system (plastic or CPVC). You will also usually need an electrical permit, as you may need to install a new grounding electrode.
For jobs that require a permit from the City of Albany, it is a good idea to hire a plumber instead of trying to do it yourself. These are usually more complicated jobs and Mr. Blue Plumbing will know exactly which permits are needed (and either already have them or know exactly how to get them).