Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Philadelphia?
- 2 How Does the Water in Philadelphia Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Philadelphia?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Philadelphia?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Philadelphia vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Philadelphia?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Philadelphia?
Most plumbing problems result from wear and tear, misuse of fixtures, poor water quality, and temperature fluctuations. Among the many plumbing issues we solve for Philadelphia residents, here are some of the predominant ones.
Homeowners in Philadelphia typically use showers, toilet flushes, and sink up to 85 gallons of water daily. That equates to about 272 gallons a day. You can have a running toilet for the following reasons:
- Refill tube faults
- Wrong flapper chains
- Worn-out flush valves and flapper seals
- Corroded handles
Contact a professional plumber like us to save water and money.
Leaky Faucets and Pipes
Philadelphia is an old city and some of the water mains were first installed in the 1800s. Leaky faucets usually occur due to age, a worn-out O-ring, corrosion, or wrong faucet installation. Pipes can leak for many different reasons, including:
- Joint damage
- Improper laying
- Pipe corrosion
- Cracked pipes and seals
- Bursting due to excessive water pressure
Leaky pipes can cause untold damage to your property and other parts of the plumbing system. Turn off your water supply and call us immediately if you notice any of these signs.
Low Water Pressure
Hidden water leaks, pipe corrosion, drain clogs, and blocked sewer lines can reduce water pressure in your home significantly. Most plumbing systems won’t work when water pressure falls below a particular limit. We can check and fix your pressure-related plumbing issues before they get out of hand. You can also report if you have no water or very low water pressure to the Philadelphia Water Department at (215) 685-6300.
Water Heater Issues
One of the most frustrating plumbing crises is having a water heater that can’t achieve the desired water temperatures. After examining many water heaters in Philadelphia homes, we have discovered the following to be the common causes of failure:
- Damaged heating element
- Loose electrical connections
- Improper water heater installation
- Corrosion or sediment buildup
- Wrong water heater choice for a home’s needs
Leaky Hose Bibbs
Unprotected hose bibbs can crack after prolonged exposure to the winter chill. We see such faucets leaking in the summer and spring. Our technicians repair or replace them with frost-proof bibbs to minimize the likelihood of future leaks.
Sump Pump Failure
A sump pump can fail because of improper installation, clogged discharge pipes, stuck switches, and excessive runoff water after a downpour. We advise our customers in Philadelphia to have occasional sump pump inspections, especially when the units are at least ten years old.
How Does the Water in Philadelphia Affect Your Plumbing?
Philadelphia has 3,200 miles of water pipes underground, with an average of 267 breaks every 1,000 miles. About 2,800 miles of small distribution mains supply water to the neighborhoods.
The water in outdoor pipes sometimes freezes and expands during winter due to low temperatures. As a result, the pipes become highly vulnerable to breakage. According to data, 80 percent of water pipe breaks in Philadelphia happen in the winter months.
Philadelphia Water Quality
Water quality is not something to take for granted, and it varies from house to house. Many factors can influence your water’s appearance, smell, taste, and suitability for various uses. Below are some of the factors that can compromise your home’s water quality:
- Water distribution system deterioration
- Pollutants in the water or piping system
- Violation of domestic water standards
- A subpar plumbing system in your house
From our experience, hard water also poses a significant threat to plumbing systems in Philadelphia. Most homes use hard water (supplied by the municipality and private wells), which contains small amounts of dissolved calcium, magnesium, iron, and other minerals. While hard water isn’t a health risk, it causes gradual and expensive damage to the piping system, fixtures, silverware, glass, and clothing, reducing the serviceable life of your plumbing system and water-using appliances.
How Hard Water Affects Plumbing Systems
As hard water moves through your piping system, it leaves mineral deposits within the pipes, plumbing fixtures, and appliances. One sign of having hard water is a whitish or yellowish precipitate on showerheads and faucets.
There are more problems than the visible pesky mess. Over the years, the pipes become significantly narrow and develop clogs, creating issues like reduced water flow and excessive water pressure inside. It causes undue stress on pipes, joints, and fixtures.
Additionally, the mineral deposits cover the heating element of water-heating appliances. Therefore, the heating element has to heat the salt jacket and the water. As a result, the heating appliance consumes more energy and wears down prematurely.
Overall, hard water makes your plumbing less efficient and warrants more repairs in the long run. The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) can get your water tested for hardness and recommend a solution.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Philadelphia?
Experts from Mr Blue Plumbing help Philadelphia property owners to estimate the plumbing costs for various projects. Here are the weightiest pricing factors:
We recommend the best plumbing materials when our customers are building new houses or extending their existing homes. We also advise homeowners to replace old, inefficient, or unsafe plumbing materials, such as:
- Polybutylene as the pipes are very fragile
- Galvanized steel since the pipes rust and become narrower
- Lead because it’s toxic and can cause severe health hazards
Copper is the safest material for water delivery systems because it doesn’t leach or succumb to corrosion. However, you may need to dig deeper into your pockets as it costs around $2 to $5 per foot. Anyway, if Copper isn’t your cup of tea, you can go for PEX or CPVC plumbing materials, which are usually 20-40 percent cheaper. But wait, that’s not all; you can also expect to pay between $5,000 to $20,000 for a complete remodel.
Water pipe installation costs also vary depending on fixtures like the sink, toilet, and bathtub. On average, you can expect to spend between $600 to $1,600 per fixture. The price varies depending on whether we supply the fixtures or you have a rough-in permit.
Demolition and Repair
Removing the old pipes when replumbing your house increases your plumbing costs. You may have to demolish parts of the ceiling, wall, and floor to remove the existing plumbing.
After installing new pipes, you need to repair the demolished areas. Depending on the length of your piping, ceiling repair can cost you $300 to $1,000. Drywall repair costs may be in the same range or much higher for a replumbing project.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Philadelphia?
Most people avoid calling professional plumbers like us until they have significant problems that require immediate solutions. That’s why some homeowners think plumbing services are expensive.
We can help you avoid serious plumbing issues and save money if you let us perform preventative maintenance periodically.
Preventative Plumbing Maintenance
Philadelphia residents call us from time to time to inspect their water delivery systems and test their plumbing amenities. On many occasions, we discover concealed water leaks and clogs.
By fixing toilet leaks on time, your monthly water consumption reduces, saving you hundreds of dollars annually. A sewer line inspection can cost you a few hundred dollars, but you can save thousands if we resolve problems early.
Apart from eliminating wastage, timely leak repairs prevent possible water damage and plumbing failure in the future. If a professional plumber like us unclogs and cleans your drain before it blocks, you eliminate the risk of a sewer backup that might necessitate costlier procedures. Overall, preventative maintenance reduces your future plumbing bills.
Durable Pipes and Fixtures
Another benefit of regular plumbing maintenance is that it extends the life of your plumbing system. Well-maintained water delivery systems are less likely to fail prematurely.
You can rest assured that your plumbing is free of corrosion and leaks. The system will meet your home water requirements better and longer.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Philadelphia vs Hire a Plumber?
Homeowners sometimes wonder whether to call us or the utility company when a water-related issue arises. Our guide below will help you contact the right water solution provider when you run into water problems.
Call us if:
- You notice a slow or blocked drain or fixture
- There’s a water leak inside your property
- Your water bill skyrockets for unknown reasons
- You want to modify your plumbing
Contact your water utility company when:
- Initiating or terminating water service at your residence
- Water goes out in all areas of your property
- You notice a leak in the street or public areas
- There’s a leak in a home, and the owners aren’t around
The Philadelphia Water Department is a government-owned nonprofit that provides integrated water services throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. The organization supplies water for domestic and industrial use and protects water resources in the area.
Further, the department manages runoff from storms and maintains the sewer system to prevent pollution and keep communities healthy. They also keep tens of thousands of water pipes in optimum working condition.
To contact the Philadelphia Water Department, call (215) 685-6300 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Philadelphia?
The City of Philadelphia requires you to get a permit for plumbing installation, replacement, renewal, or repair. You don’t need a permit for minor repairs like replacing faucets, stopping leaks, clearing clogs, and replacing toilets without interfering with pipes.
There are two types of permits for plumbing projects:
The City offers EZ permits for plumbing and construction work that doesn’t need plans. Examples include:
- Additions up to four stories for one- or two-family dwellings
- Replacing fixtures with installations of the same type
- New installation or replacement of water service in a single building
- New installation or replacement of a house drain in one building
- Backflow device installation
Before receiving the full permit, you may use a rough-in to perform such duties as water supply piping and soil or waste piping. Please note that in order to get a rough-in permit, you must submit a Plumbing Permit application alongside plans and permit fees. The City then accepts or rejects your application and plans for review, after which you must submit another application to request rough-in approval.