Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Lancaster?
- 2 How Does the Water In Lancaster Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Lancaster?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Lancaster?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Lancaster Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Lancaster?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Lancaster?
The Susquehanna River accounts for 60% while the Conestoga River accounts for 40% of water in the City of Lancaster. This water is treated by two treatment facilities before it reaches thousands of homes. While Lancaster enjoys healthy water, residential plumbing systems are still prone to issues that require the attention of our experienced plumbers. Plumbing systems are complex and are used every day. Normal wear and tear, aging materials, and overuse or misuse can cause damage or errors within your plumbing system. These are the most common plumbing issues in Lancaster.
Temperatures in Lancaster frequently dip below freezing during the winter months. This can lead to frozen water pipes within your home. Initially, when water pipes freeze, you may not have any running water to one or more faucets. As frozen water expands within your water pipes, small leaks can form. If the problem isn’t identified and remedied quickly, your pipes can burst, dumping hundreds of gallons of water into your home. To avoid frozen pipes, it’s important to keep the temperature inside your house above 55 degrees, even when no one is home. If you have a burst water pipe, use the main shut-off valve to stop the flow of water to your entire home. Eliminating the water source can help you avoid more damage while you wait for a plumber.
The term hard water simply describes water with an excess of minerals. However, it can affect the plumbing in your home. The most common way homeowners notice hard water is the flaky white buildup that accumulates on faucets. The same calcium buildup that causes these spots occurs inside your pipes and water heater. However, you don’t have the opportunity to clean it away frequently in the same way you clean your faucets. For this reason, calcium buildup in pipes can lead to low water pressure. It can also cause your water heater to corrode, leading to early water heater failure or leaks.
When you consider the amount of water (and debris from various types of cleaning) that enters your drains each week, it’s no surprise that slow or failing drains are one of the most common plumbing problems. Drains with minor clogs, like hair, food, or too much TP can usually be remedied with a common household plunger. Still, sometimes stubborn clogs occur due to other reasons. Many young children enjoy flushing toys and other items. Unfortunately, many adults flush non-flushable items (wipes, diapers, paper towels, grease) as well. When clogs are deep in your plumbing system, you may need an experienced plumber with professional tools to take care of the problem. Other reasons for frequently clogged drains include collapsed drain lines or infiltration from tree roots. Finally, the hard water deposits inside your pipes can restrict flow rate through them and contribute to clogs and slow drains.
There are many reasons water pipes leak. Your residential plumbing system is made up of a network of pipes, fixtures, valves, and connectors. When any piece of the system becomes faulty, a leak can occur. Leaks are common in Lancaster because the hard water corrodes fixtures, o-rings, and gaskets more rapidly than soft water would. Small leaks in homes may go unnoticed for long periods as water seeps behind walls or above ceilings. Many homeowners don’t notice small leaks in drain pipes below sinks hidden in cabinets. Small leaks cost you money immediately by increasing your water utility bills. The damage they do overtime to your home can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars for home repairs. Perhaps even worse, small leaks that remain unrepaired can grow, leading to a burst pipe. If a burst pipe occurs while no one’s home, your home can quickly become flooded without your knowledge.
Aging Plumbing Systems
While Lancaster has its fair share of historical homes, many of the homes used by residents today are 40 to 50 years old. Older plumbing systems are composed of less durable materials, making them more susceptible to damage. This is often realized when you need frequent plumbing repairs for a variety of issues. For example, frequent leaks occur in copper pipes while galvanized pipes may cause low pressure and clogs. If your aging plumbing system requires multiple repairs each year, it might be time to consider repiping.
Low Water Pressure
Residents often assume that low water pressure is related to the water distribution system. This is rarely true. Many components of Lancaster residential plumbing systems can cause low water pressure. For instance, older plumbing systems that use galvanized pipes often become corroded over time. While this corrosion rarely blocks pipes completely it slows the flow of water through your pipes by causing leaks. Small water leaks that go unnoticed are another cause of decreased water pressure. Leaks allow the force of your water flow to be dispersed in multiple directions, resulting in less water at the faucet. Even the buildup of calcium from the city’s hard water can lower your water pressure by creating partially blocked lines at valves and fixtures.
How Does the Water In Lancaster Affect Your Plumbing?
The City of Lancaster owns, operates, and maintains two drinking water treatment facilities that provide drinking water for over 110,000 people in the Lancaster area through approximately 43,000 taps. Additionally, there are around 38,000 private wells providing water to homes in Lancaster. While private wells aren’t required to undergo testing or treatment, city water is treated routinely to avoid chemicals and toxins in the water.
The most common water problem in Lancaster is water hardness. Hard water has excess calcium and magnesium that can build up in plumbing pipes and cause issues like low pressure and frequent clogging. The most common signs of hard water are whitish spots on faucets and difficulty getting soap to lather. Hard water can also make your washer rinse cycle less effective.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Lancaster?
Plumbing repair costs in Lancaster typically vary between $100 and $700, with an average cost of around $400. The biggest reason for such a wide range of prices for plumbing repairs is the difference in scope for each job. For example, a simple leak repair may be completed in an hour while a collapsed sewer line needs to be unearthed and located before a repair is possible. Additional cost factors can depend on your location and various other factors. The most common plumbing cost factors in Lancaster include:
Cost Factor: Materials
Older plumbing systems often use piping made of copper or galvanized steel. While repiping older systems will provide you with completely new materials, repairs to your current system require our team to use supplies that match your plumbing system. Copper pipes are significantly more expensive than modern Pex or PVC piping. This added cost can increase your plumbing service bill.
Cost Factor: Emergencies
Unfortunately, no one has the power to schedule emergencies. If your toilet overflows at 3 AM, or a pipe bursts in your home on a holiday, you shouldn’t delay repairs. We know that immediate repairs can help you avoid serious, expensive, and even dangerous damage to your home. That’s why we make ourselves available to our customers at all times. However, services that occur outside of typical business hours generally cost a little extra to compensate our workers for the extra effort.
Cost Factor: Additional Repairs
While this cost doesn’t come directly from our plumbers, it’s one that many of our customers never consider. Your plumbing system is networked throughout your home in a way that makes it practically invisible. Pipes run behind walls, above ceilings, and beneath your home. Drain lines and sewer pipes are even buried underground. While this keeps your home looking attractive, it can make plumbing issues difficult to detect. Repairing leaks may mean our team must damage walls or equipment may be used to access lines beneath your home. Often, this means you can face additional home repair costs even after your plumbing repairs are complete.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Lancaster?
Yes. While Lancaster has its fair share of historical homes, many of the homes used by residents today are 40 to 50 years old. While these aging homes are often in great shape, many of them still have the original plumbing system. Frequent minor repairs (like those for leaks and clogs) add up over time. Even worse, drain lines and sewer lines can burst or collapse, resulting in more expensive repairs. A newer, modern plumbing system will eliminate the cost of frequent repairs. Additionally, newer plumbing systems have many features designed to help homeowners conserve water. This can save you money on your monthly utility bills.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Lancaster Vs Hire a Plumber?
The water utility company in Lancaster provides water service to thousands of residents. Still, they’re not always responsible for the water issues within your home. The water utility company is responsible for the maintenance of main water lines and water meters of residents using city water. You are responsible for the supply line that runs from the meter from your home and the plumbing within your home. The valves before and after the water meter are also the responsibility of the property owner. Use the following guide to decide whether to call the utility company or our plumbers.
When to Call the Utility Company
- Inquire about mainline break
- To start or stop service
- Leaks or unexplained running water beyond your meter
- Questions regarding a change in water quality
When to Call Our Plumbers
- Leaks within your home
- Clogged or slow drains
- Clogged toilet
- Damaged fixtures
- Supply line leak
- Sewer line issues
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Lancaster?
Plumbing permits are required in Lancaster for the installation of new plumbing. This includes plumbing or sewer lines that must be dug up and replaced with new lines during the repair process. Replacement of bathroom plumbing can be completed without a permit in some cases. However, you’ll need a permit if you’re rearranging the layout of valves, pipes, or fixtures. Permits are not required for the repair of leaks or clogs.