Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Reading?
- 2 How Does the Water in Reading Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Reading?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money In Reading?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Reading Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Reading?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Reading?
One of the most common problems we encounter in Reading is clogged drains. Over time, a buildup of hair, soap scum, and even food debris can collect in your pipes, resulting in sinks that are slow to drain. Additionally, the hard water in Reading leaves mineral deposits in your pipes that can contribute to clogs and slow drains over time, as well as water flow through your fixtures. While this is a frustrating problem, it is, fortunately, something we can resolve fairly easily.
Another very common issue in this area is frozen pipes. Temperatures in winter can frequently drop into the 20s or below, and this can have significant impacts on your piping system if you don’t perform preventative maintenance. Freezing temperatures cause your metal pipes to contract while the water expands, which can ultimately lead to burst pipes and extensive water damage. Pipes located along exterior walls are at particular risk during the winter months. To help reduce this risk, we recommend insulating your pipes, draining any exterior faucets, and regularly running water during colder days. If you suspect your pipes have frozen, contact our plumbers right away to prevent further damage.
Finally, older homes are often at higher risk of plumbing problems. Reading is a city steeped in history, with five historic districts: Callowhill, Prince, Centre Park, Queen Anne, and Penn’s Common. Reading is also home to the Heights Conservation District. The area has many 19th and early 20th century homes, which may be more prone to issues such as:
- Outdated piping systems
- Cracked sewer lines
- A history of poor plumbing repairs
- Shifting pipes
How Does the Water in Reading Affect Your Plumbing?
The Reading Area Water Authority (RAWA) sources its water from Lake Ontelaunee, which is located 6 miles north of the city. Occasionally, RAWA will also draw water from the nearby Maiden Creek. Reading places heavy emphasis on protecting its water source, with RAWA even receiving the Exemplary Source Water Protection award in 2013 from the American Water Works Association. RAWA employees regularly plant new trees around Lake Ontelaunee to preserve the watershed and prevent excess silt from draining into the lake. While the drinking water in Reading does contain trace amounts of contaminants, it is well within the normal range and should not be a concern to residents.
Hard Water in Reading
Although the water in Reading is perfectly safe, it may still cause issues with your plumbing. This is because this area has hard water, which contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium. This isn’t all bad – these minerals are safe to drink and can be very good for your health. However, they’re not so good for your plumbing.
Hard water creates a buildup of calcium carbonate, particularly when it is heated. You may even be able to spot this unsightly scaling on your shower head or taps. When this buildup accumulates in your pipes and water heater, it can cause clogs and reduce your water pressure. Over time, it can significantly reduce the efficiency of your plumbing system and may increase the amount you’ll have to pay to heat your water. Because hard water is less effective at rinsing soap, it can also cause frustrations in your daily life. You’ll need to use more detergent to get clothes and dishes clean, and you may feel a soapy residue on your skin and hair.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Reading?
On average, most homeowners in Reading spend about $458 on plumbing. However, it is impossible to fully predict how much a visit will cost without first inspecting the problem. This is because issues can vary widely from case to case, with some problems requiring more in-depth repairs to resolve the root cause. Here are a few of the factors that may influence the cost of your plumbing visit:
Urgency of the Problem
Routine maintenance tends to be quick and easy, making it much more affordable. But we understand that emergencies happen, and problems like burst pipes in the middle of the night simply can’t wait until morning. In urgent situations like this, plumbing costs tend to increase. Labor costs rise during off-hours, and our plumber may require more equipment or assistance to resolve the problem rapidly. Additionally, plumbing emergencies naturally tend to cause more extensive damage, which will then be more expensive to repair.
Cost of Materials
The cost of your plumbing will be directly tied to the type of materials required to fix the problem. Simple repairs will generally only necessitate a few straightforward materials that ours plumber already have on hand. More expansive repairs, however, may require our plumber to special order materials, or to opt for more expensive options. This is particularly true in some of Reading’s older homes, which may still have outdated materials in their piping systems. Updating these systems can be a significant upfront cost, but it will ultimately save you money by lowering the number of plumbing problems you experience.
Type of Repair
Running toilets, clogged drains, and simple leaks — these types of common plumbing problems can typically be resolved in a single visit, without much hassle at all. Some plumbing projects, however, are much larger and are therefore a bigger investment. Things like replacing your water heater, repairing damaged sewer lines, or installing a new pipe system will all take more time and have a higher cost for materials. They may also require permits, which can create an additional cost.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money In Reading?
Of course! No matter the situation, investing in better plumbing is an excellent way to save money and prevent headaches and frustration down the road. One very important step you can take is choosing to work with a skilled plumber like Mr. Blue Plumbing, rather than attempting a DIY fix or hiring a more affordable but less experienced plumber. While these may seem like tempting, budget-friendly options, they can result in additional time and money spent if the problem does not get resolved initially. It is not uncommon for us to be called in to fix issues that a less experienced plumber was unable to properly resolve.
Importance of Preventative Maintenance
In addition to working with a skilled plumber, taking the time to invest in preventative maintenance is an incredibly smart step. This is particularly true in Reading, where old houses and frigid winters are the norm. Our plumbers can inspect your plumbing system, identifying any areas that are likely to cause problems in the future. This enables you to improve your plumbing system before costly problems occur. For example, if your pipes are not insulated, our plumber may install this insulation so that your pipes are less likely to freeze and burst in winter.
Additionally, during a routine inspection, our plumber can examine the appliances that you frequently use. This will help determine if they are running as efficiently as possible, and if they are not, our plumber can suggest ways to improve their efficiency and save you money.
Water Softening Systems
Because of the hard water in Reading, another excellent way to improve your plumbing is to install a water softener. This will help prevent the mineral buildup that often clogs pipes in this area, and will increase the longevity of your plumbing system. It will also help you reduce detergent costs, as you will no longer need to use higher amounts of soap to clean your clothes and dishes.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Reading Vs Hire a Plumber?
For most plumbing problems, our plumbers should always be your first point of contact in resolving the issue. Issues that are specific to your home, such as clogged drains or burst pipes, are not something that your water utility company (RAWA) can typically assist with.
However, there are times when contacting RAWA is necessary. They will be able to help with larger water issues that are impacting multiple homes. They can also assist with major leaks on public property. Determining when to call the water utility company can sometimes be challenging, so here’s how to know when you should contact RAWA instead of a plumber.
When to Call RAWA
The first significant sign that you should contact the water utility company is if you and your neighbors are experiencing similar issues such as lack of water flow or a sudden drop in water pressure. In this case, you can contact RAWA customer service at (610) 406-6300. You can also contact their emergency number at (484) 459-6113 if you are experiencing a water emergency such as a broken water line. For sewer backups, contact (484) 955-3708.
You should also get in touch with the water utility company if you are experiencing a leak that is not coming from your own pipes. To determine if the leak is in your pipes, simply turn off all the water in your home and check your water meter. If it has stopped turning, this means that you do not have a leak and that the problem is within the water utility company’s lines. However, if the meter continues to turn despite you having turned off all the water, this means the leak is in your own pipes and you should contact us for assistance.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Reading?
You will need a permit for plumbing in Reading if you are doing any type of major installation or alteration to your system. However, simple repairs such as unclogging a drain will not require any type of permit. If you are unsure whether you will need a permit for your specific issue, you don’t need to wait to contact us. We are familiar with local regulations and will be able to offer guidance before starting on your project.