Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Bethlehem?
- 2 How Does the Water in Bethlehem Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Bethlehem?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Bethlehem?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Bethlehem vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Bethlehem?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Bethlehem?
Today, much of the city’s history is in one of the six National Register Historic Districts. Bethlehem is noted as having America’s first pumped municipal water system, the 1762 Waterworks, which is still standing today. The city used Waterworks as a pumping station until the 1830s, with the spring itself serving as the City of Bethlehem’s main water source until the early 20th century.
Even with the city’s strong roots in plumbing, residents still encounter many of the typical plumbing issues experienced in other areas. Some of the most common plumbing problems in Bethlehem include:
Leaking Faucets and Pipes
One of the easiest plumbing problems to identify is leaking pipes because water continues to drip out of the faucet when it’s in the off position, or you may see puddles of water or hear dripping from underneath the cabinet or the flooring. Water leaks are a major annoyance and costly problem for homeowners, and fixing even minor leaks can save you around 10% on your water bill. Typically, a leaking faucet is from a damaged seal or older valve seat, while leaking pipes often occur in joints and may be caused by pipe deterioration or shifting.
The City of Bethlehem stated ways on how you can check for leaks in your home.
Clogged Drains or Toilets
Water backing up into sinks or tubs, or the toilet bowl overflowing when flushed are both signs of a clogged drain or toilet issue in Bethlehem. Slow draining or clogged pipes can be a nuisance and lead to bigger problems if not fixed promptly. The most common culprit for clogged drains in sinks and showers is hair and soap scum buildup. Other items that can cause drain issues are certain foods and items that run through a compactor, small toys, or other solid items that will not dissolve. Clogged toilets are often caused by the use of an excessive amount of toilet paper or flushing items such as wipes or feminine products. When solids are sent to your drains, it causes a partial or complete blockage that restricts water flow, resulting in backups.
Bethlehem, PA has around 130 days each year when the temperature is below freezing, with January having an average low of 18.5 degrees. These cold temperatures can wreak havoc on plumbing if pipes are not properly protected. When pipes freeze, the most common result is serious flooding from the built-up pressure inside the pipe that causes it to burst. Many of us suggest using heat tape or additional insulation around your pipes to lower the risk of frozen pipes.
How Does the Water in Bethlehem Affect Your Plumbing?
With all the city’s water coming entirely from surface sources, the City of Bethlehem’s drinking water surpassed all federal and state drinking water standards. The main source comes 22 miles north of the city at the Wild Creek and Penn Forest Reservoirs. The supplemental water supply is from Tunkhannock Creek, which is most susceptible to potential contamination from road spills and underground storage tanks. The Wild Creek Watershed is most susceptible to individual point source activities. After identifying these potential hazards near the city’s water supply, the City of Bethlehem developed and implemented a Source Water Protection plan.
Before the water goes through the treatment plant, some of the contaminants that may be present include:
- Microbial which can come from septic systems, livestock, and wildlife.
- Inorganic which includes naturally-occurring salts and metals.
- Pesticides and Herbicides which can come from agricultural and residential uses.
- Radioactive which are naturally occurring.
- Organic Chemicals which are by-products of industrial processes or can come from stormwater runoff, septic systems, or gas stations.
The city’s treatment plant removes many of these contaminants from the public’s drinking water, helping to reduce the effects it has on your plumbing.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Bethlehem?
Typically, property owners in Bethlehem are responsible for the repair, cleanup, and contents damage from water main breaks, sewer line breaks, blockages, and backups according to the city’s Claims Policy. The only exception is when the issue arises because of the city’s negligence. Many homeowner’s insurance policies don’t usually cover this type of damage falling within the conditions mentioned above without expanded coverage for these special events. Therefore, it is recommended that you ask your insurance agent about additional protection to help negate the costs in the event of an unexpected problem. Without assistance from your insurance, the cost of hiring us can vary. In 2021, homeowners paid an average of $450 for plumbing repair and $384 for plumbing installation in Bethlehem.
Emergency vs Service Call
When you hire us for non-urgent issues that are simple and quick fixes, you can expect a more affordable price quote than in emergency situations. Even with the most meticulous maintenance, plumbing emergencies can happen. When you awaken to the sound of water spewing from pipes or pipes bursts in the middle of your weekend, we understand that you can’t always wait until the following day. However, labor costs usually come at a premium price during off-hours or if additional equipment is required to solve the issue quickly. Plumbing emergencies often cause a considerable amount of damage than routine repairs, resulting in a higher repair expense.
The total costs of your plumbing repair include any labor expenses and the materials needed to complete the plumbing job. Typically, we will have the few materials required on hand for simple jobs, making the fix more affordable. However, for larger repairs or plumbing issues in older homes, we may need to special order the materials needed to resolve the problem, resulting in a more expensive repair bill. While many of the older homes in Bethlehem have updated plumbing, some may have original, hard-to-find fixtures or outdated pipes. In these cases, we might suggest updating the home’s entire plumbing system to copper or newer plastic materials, such as PEX or CPVC. While this will be a very costly upfront expense, it will pay for itself and save you money by lowering the risk of additional plumbing issues in the future.
Plumbing repairs can range from leaky faucets to a clogged main line. Therefore, the repair type is a huge factor when determining the costs of your plumbing repair. Simple jobs fixed in one visit will always be less than larger plumbing jobs that take more time to finish. Many expansive plumbing issues or replacements take longer and require more materials and equipment, such as replacing your water heater, installing new pipes, or repairing damaged lines. Some of these projects will require a permit from the City of Bethlehem, adding an expense to the plumbing repair and pushing back the completion date.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Bethlehem?
Regardless of the situation, taking on the increased cost for better plumbing or consulting a professional will save you money and time in the long run. Unless you are a skilled plumber, deciding to DIY your plumbing issues can result in a larger problem if not fixed correctly initially.
To help keep your plumbing in its best shape, you should invest in preventative maintenance tasks. Having us routinely inspect your plumbing can help you identify any potential issues early to make any necessary repairs or upgrades before it becomes an unexpected expense. With Bethlehem’s cold temperatures, installing insulation around your pipes will help prevent them from freezing and bursting in the frigid winters.
Better plumbing can increase your well-being since you are bathing and drinking water from the pipes daily. Older pipes often allow more sediments and contaminants to flow into your water supply, which can affect your health over time. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund has provided loans to support the replacement of lead service lines in cities across the United States.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Bethlehem vs Hire a Plumber?
We should usually be your first call when experiencing a drain and plumbing issue. Clogged drains, burst pipes, or leaky faucets are not typically something your utility provider assists homeowners with. The only time you may need to contact the City of Bethlehem is if there is an identified larger water or sewage issue causing problems for multiple homes in your neighborhood.
While it may seem difficult to decide whether to call your water utility company or us, ask yourself these questions:
- Are your neighbors having the same issue?
- Does your water meter continue to run after turning off all the water sources in your home?
- Do you believe there could be a sewage backup?
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Bethlehem?
While a permit from the City of Bethlehem for basic plumbing services is not required, extensive repairs or new construction may require a permit. The City of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania requires a plumbing permit application for adding or replacing the following fixtures in a building:
- Water Closet
- Kitchen Sink
- Water Heater
- Floor Drains
- Auto Washing
Contact the Building Code Enforcement Office at 610-865-7091 if you are unsure if your plumbing project requires a permit or to begin the permit process. Also, remember that when hiring a professional plumber like us for work within the City of Bethlehem, we must hold a valid Master Plumber’s License. Contact us if you have any additional questions and to ensure your plumbing work is done correctly and follows all codes and regulations.