Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Charleston?
- 2 How Does the Water in Charleston Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Charleston?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Charleston?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Charleston Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Charleston?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Charleston?
Charleston is currently home to over 130,000 residents, and it is one of the oldest and most historic cities in the United States. Many people enjoy working and living in Charleston due to its old town feel, and the city has been an important tourist destination in the South since it was first incorporated in 1670. It was originally called Charles Town after King Charles II, and much of that history is preserved in old and historic landmarks and buildings all throughout the city.
This gives the city its unique look and plenty of charm, but older buildings tend to have a whole host of problems, especially when it comes to plumbing. Many of the issues we see most often in Charleston are due to older plumbing fixtures and outdated piping, including low water pressure, chronic clogs in drains, and toilets that constantly run.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but it can quickly get annoying when it becomes difficult to get shampoo or soap out of your hair and off your body in the shower. Low water pressure can also make it hard to get food scraps and residue off dishes, and appliances may also begin to run less efficiently. Nobody wants to waste water on purpose, but having low water pressure can lead to massive amounts of wasted water and higher water bills to boot.
Low water pressure often occurs because of Charleston’s hard water that creates mineral buildup inside pipes, allowing less and less water to flow through over time. This causes a gradual loss of water pressure, and it can be hard to detect changes little by little, until one day it becomes unbearable. If you notice a sudden change in water pressure, this can indicate a leak somewhere in your plumbing, and you should get a plumber to come to take a look right away.
Older plumbing is also more susceptible to clogging, which is not only annoying and inconvenient, but can also pose a health hazard. When water doesn’t drain quickly enough or at all, it allows bacteria and fungi to thrive in standing water. This can create a horrible smell, and it can lead to health issues if it doesn’t get addressed in a timely manner.
Many clogs are caused by physical items like food scraps, soaps, grease, and other matter combining to create a blockage, though clogs can also be caused by invasive tree roots that push on and grow into your plumbing. In many cases, plumbers can resolve root problems within your pipes while also preserving the health and strength of the tree itself.
One of the most common reasons a household wastes gallons and gallons of water per year is because of toilets that run constantly. Running toilets are noisy, and they often lack enough flushing power to do the job in one flush. Running toilets are relatively common in Charleston, though the problem is usually easily fixed by replacing an old and outdated toilet with a newer and more water-efficient one.
How Does the Water in Charleston Affect Your Plumbing?
The residents of Charleston that use city water are lucky in that they have access to clean drinking water that is also considered soft. Hard water contains high concentrations of hard minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, and these can wreak all kinds of havoc on plumbing. Most Charleston residents don’t have to worry about these issues, but they should still keep an eye out for the signs of hard water including mineral buildup on fixtures, staining on laundry, less efficient appliances, and soap scum in bathtubs and showers that causes clogs.
Charleston residents that don’t use city water tend to get their water supply from groundwater wells. Groundwater tends to have higher concentrations of hard water ions, as it leaches into the water supply from rocks and soil. Hard water like this isn’t hazardous to health when drinking, cooking, or bathing, but it can cause other household annoyances like dry skin and hair in addition to soap scum and mineral buildup.
Fortunately, hard water is a relatively easy problem to fix with the installation of a water softener. Water softeners exchange the hard ions with softer ones, like sodium and potassium, and these help make appliances more efficient and can alleviate dry skin and hair quickly. If you don’t already have a water softener and you have hard water issues, it’s worth considering getting one installed. If you do have a water softener, but it doesn’t seem to be working like it once was, our plumbers can take a look and see if your machine needs repairs to work efficiently again.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Charleston?
The average cost for a plumber in Charleston is about $400, though your final bill can be much higher or much lower depending upon numerous factors. Plumbing jobs can either be billed based on a flat rate or hourly rate. There are pros and cons to both, but it’s always a good idea to get a free estimate from our experts to see about how much a job will be before they begin the work. This can help you know what to expect and avoid getting blindsided by huge bills. For the most part, the three largest factors in plumbing costs include the size of the job, what equipment is needed, and how much time it will take to finish the job.
Cost Factor: Size of Job
Plumbing jobs vary widely from small, such as a clogged drain, to large, like a water heater installation, to huge, like a whole home remodel. Your final bill will largely depend on how big of an undertaking the job is for our plumber. Unfortunately, many homeowners have had the unpleasant experience of thinking their plumbing job would be small and simple only for our experts to discover larger and more underlying issues below the surface.
Sometimes, these are due to old fixtures that need to be replaced entirely or shoddy plumbing fixes the previous owners did incorrectly that are the root cause of the issue. Either way, it’s better to address your plumbing concerns sooner rather than later to avoid an even more costly plumbing disaster.
Cost Factor: Equipment Needed
Plumbing jobs like a minor clogged drain or small leak may be fixed with a simple arsenal of tools like a snake or wrench and little more. Other jobs, like septic system failures or root problems, may require much more equipment to address, like heavy-duty diggers to reach the pipes below your yard. When our plumber has to rent equipment, those costs will be passed onto you.
Cost Factor: Time Needed
Some jobs can be fixed in as little as fifteen minutes to an hour depending upon their severity, but others may require days or even weeks of labor. This factor becomes even more important when our plumber charges by the hour, which is common for larger jobs that have an unknown total work time. If you have a home remodel that will take our plumbers days or weeks to fix, don’t be surprised when your bill creeps up into the thousands.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Charleston?
Yes, better plumbing can definitely save you money in Charleston, but this is true no matter where you live. Older plumbing systems, like those common to Charleston, often contain pipes that are lined with zinc. The zinc within these pipes tends to corrode over time, which can lead to more leaks, worse water efficiency, and higher and more regular plumbing repair bills.
In these cases, it may be best to get your plumbing system completely replaced so that you can avoid having to call our plumbers several times per year or paying higher water utility bills due to a less efficient system. Getting new pipes and fixtures installed in your home can not only prevent higher costs from repairs and water bills, but it can also add tremendous value to your home if you decide to sell it soon.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Charleston Vs Hire a Plumber?
When it comes to plumbing issues, you will most likely be responsible for hiring our plumbers to take a look and address water problems that arise, especially when they take place on your property. If your pipes are leaking or clogged, the city will not provide any assistance if the problem is within your private property.
The only times you will contact the water utility company, Charleston Water System, is if you have questions about your water bills, you need to start or stop water service, or if you see plumbing problems like leaks or backups on public property. If you see a fire hydrant leaking or sewage backing up into the street, it’s best to call their emergency line at 843-727-6800 to report it right away.
Most other concerns will have to be taken care of by our master plumber that you hire, though if they discover that the root of your problem is actually a city main, they can contact the right entity for you to get the problem taken care of in a timely manner.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Charleston?
Plumbing permits are needed for major renovation projects in a home or building when new plumbing or sewer equipment is installed, or current water supply or sewer equipment is repaired or replaced. The installation of some types of plumbing fixtures also requires a permit, but it depends on your unique set of circumstances.
For the most part, getting clogs and leaks fixed in your home will not require a permit or application fee, though our plumbers are familiar with local codes and will know which projects require a permit. Our professionals will also be able to help you fill out the paperwork and answer questions from the city about your plumbing projects if you need assistance.