Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Houston?
- 2 How Does the Water in Houston Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Houston?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Houston?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Houston vs. Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Houston?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Houston?
Generally, the most common plumbing issues we have come across in Houston include:
Drippy faucets are a common plumbing problem among Houston residents. This is mainly due to worn-out washers, loose or broken faucet parts, and so forth.
If ignored, the leaks can create a chain of other problems. Excessive moisture can cause either rust or rot on surrounding surfaces depending on their material. It can also encourage the growth of mold, thereby sparking a host of health problems.
As much as it’s tempting to ignore drips, the water quantity lost can add up over time. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), household leaks can waste up to 10,000 gallons per year. Hence, fixing these leaks can help households save up to 10% of their water costs.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure affects both older and newer Houston homes. Older homes with galvanized pipes have higher chances of corrosion issues. As the rust builds up, the pipes clog. This lowers the water amount flowing through. Corrosion may also eat into the metal, leading to leaks and, consequently, reduced water pressure.
There are several causes of drain clogs in Houston. One is the fact that the water around here is mainly hard. Hard water reduces detergent performance, necessitating extra application. When the foams mix with the minerals in the water, they form scum, which then sticks on the drain pipes. The buildup of the scum slows water flow and is likely to trap other deposits, like human hair, leading to a complete drain clog.
Pipe leakage is another common issue that our plumbing specialists deal with. Bursts from tree root invasion, loose joints caused by high water pressure, and wear due to chemical activity from drain cleaners are all common causes of leaky pipes. Some pipes also leak due to corrosion. Though some leaks are obvious and can be detected through wet spots on your yard or ceilings, others go unnoticed, with their only sign being abnormally high water bills.
From time to time, we receive calls for repairing running toilets. Most of the time, the issue arises from loose flappers. The running can be obvious or silent but, in either case, it can cost a home tens of water gallons per day.
Sewer Line Failure
Clogged drains and foul smell coming out of the drain are some of the problems Houston residents with sewer line failure issues complain about. This is most common in older Houston homes where the lines get overwhelmed by the increased system usage.
Generally, modern homes have more appliances than the 80s homes used to. Dishwashers, garbage disposals, etc., all contribute to increased water usage that older sewer line models may not be able to handle. Modern toilet supplies like fresheners also cause problems if they happen to break and get flushed.
Water Heater Issues
Though some homes have long installed tankless water heaters, which present fewer problems, most Houston homes still feature tank-type heaters. With Houston’s hard water woes, the minerals in the water wreak havoc on heaters, necessitating a plumber appointment.
Essentially, you should replace your water heater within seven to ten years. However, some do not come close to their full life due to corrosion or reduced performance from the buildup of minerals.
How Does the Water in Houston Affect Your Plumbing?
Like most parts of the United States, Houston has hard water. The level of mineral concentration (calcium and magnesium) in water determines the measure of its hardness. Though hard water is beneficial to our health, high calcium and magnesium ion levels can wreak havoc on the plumbing system.
Hard Water and Limescale
As the water flows through the pipes, faucets, showerheads, water heaters, etc., the minerals form limescale. Limescale buildup causes clogging which reduces the water pressure in clean water pipes or causes poor drainage in the waste pipes. Again, limescale accumulation may eventually corrode the surfaces and lead to leakage. In some cases, the rust can change the watercolor as it flows through.
Hard Water and Drain Clogging
This is especially common in kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room drains. If you haven’t installed water softeners and filters in your home, you end up using so much detergent to achieve the desired lathering. As a result, soap scum accumulates along the lines and as it traps more deposits, the drain may eventually get clogged.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Houston?
Our plumbers will often charge you based on several factors, including the size of the job, the expertise required, and material types used.
Though we often charge an hourly rate, the job specs will determine the time spent and materials required, hence the total project cost. A whole-house repiping will cost you more than sewer line replacement. Water heater repair will also cost you differently and certainly more than toilet repairs.
Generally, whole-house repiping may cost you between $4,500 and $20,000. Sometimes the price may go up by several thousands if you prefer high-end materials. On the other hand, water heater replacement might cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.
Nationwide costs for typical plumber jobs (which to a greater extent reflect Houston charges) are as follows:
- Leaky pipe repair – $250
- Drain unclogging – $200
- Bathtub replacement – $1,000 to $5,000
- Water heater installation – $1,000
House size may not affect the cost of single fixture jobs like unclogging a kitchen sink or repairing a toilet. However, jobs involving whole-house installations will vary in cost, depending on the size of your home. For example, if you’re repiping your house, the price will depend on the number of bathrooms, toilets, sinks, etc., you have. And if you’ve been using outdated materials, you will need to upgrade to modern ones. Again, the cost will vary significantly depending on the number of fixtures in your home.
You can spend too little or too much on a similar job depending on the materials you use. Plumbing materials range from metallic to ceramic and plastic. Each costs differently and has its unique advantages. While the metallic ones are likely to be a little harder, and sometimes more durable, they may be susceptible to corrosion or have a higher price tag. Plastic materials will, in most cases, be relatively affordable, but their ability to withstand pressure damage may not equal that of metal or ceramic.
On the other hand, there are fixtures for every price range – low-end, average-priced, and high-end. All these choices are available in Houston and our plumbers will give you a quote depending on the materials you choose.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Houston?
Plumbing is a sensitive part of housing. Done shoddily, it can endanger the lives of the dwellers and cause massive losses. In other words, better plumbing guarantees the safety and comfort of occupants. But that’s not all. Better plumbing can cut down your utility bills – both electric and water costs.
For instance, installing a tankless water heater can reduce water heating costs and also prevent water loss. It allows instant water heating, meaning only the required amount is heated. Again, as the water gets heated instantly, wastage is minimized as you don’t have to run the faucet for several seconds before the heated water flows in.
There are loads of water-efficient plumbing fixtures such as faucets, toilets, showerheads, etc. The EPA has a program known as WaterSense that seeks to protect the environment by certifying water-efficient products.
Manufacturers of products such as showerheads, faucets, toilets, sprinklers, urinals, etc., can apply for WaterSense certification. One requirement for approval is that the product’s water consumption should be 20% less than the federal requirement. But manufacturers must step up the technology to ensure the products offer superior performance despite reduced water use.
Using products that meet WaterSense standards can significantly reduce your water bills. For instance, with a traditional toilet, water usage per flush is about 3.4 water gallons. WaterSense toilets cut the usage by more than a half to about 1.6 gallons. This can even go down if you install a dual flush toilet tank that gives you the option of either using full or half flush. In the same way, water-efficient showerheads and faucets can cut down your water usage by up to 30%.
Though the initial cost of installation may set you back financially significantly, you can often recover the costs through utility bill savings over time.
Another way you can earn massive saves in Houston is by opting for trenchless sewer line repair. This is a non-invasive plumbing option we provide that causes minimal disruption to your landscape. Our experienced plumbers can repair and replace damaged pipes without digging up your yard or driveway. As a result, we save you the cost of re-patching the grounds.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Houston vs. Hire a Plumber?
Complicated situations may arise, leaving you confused about whom to call. For instance, if you suddenly find a water puddle on your driveway coming from a non-exact underground location, you may grapple with whom to call – a plumber or your water utility company.
Knowing who to call, when, and why is crucial to getting such troubles off your mind. It also ensures you act fast to minimize damage and avoid losing too much water.
When to Call the Water Utility Company
- If there’s a pipe leakage on the water company’s side of the line (their pipe starts from the meter backward).
- If no water is flowing or the pressure is low due to a leaky pipe on the street.
- Even when there are no visible bursts and there’s no water in your home, you may need to call the company.
When to Hire a Plumber
- If there’s a leakage in the yard on your side of the meter.
- If you’re receiving abnormally high bills and you suspect it could be due to unnoticeable leakage. Probably, you have conducted your investigation by closing all the taps and found the meter is still running.
- If the water pressure is too low and you suspect it could be due to a leaky or blocked pipe.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Houston?
You ought to obtain a permit for any extensive plumbing work. Extensive work will range from new plumbing installation, remodeling and repiping jobs, water heater installation, and repairs or replacements that involve altering the original plan. Before the city issues you a permit, they first conduct an inspection, then approve or deny the permit depending on minimum safety regulations.
Plumbing service involving toilet, bathtub, or sink replacement does not require a permit. But if the replacement involves moving a fixture to another corner of the room, you may need a permit as this requires altering the original piping.
Nonetheless, it’s always advisable that you engage our licensed plumbers who understand Houston City’s safety code to avoid compliance issues.