Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Sterling?
- 2 How Does the Water in Sterling Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost In Sterling?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Sterling?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Sterling vs. Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Sterling?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Sterling?
If you live somewhere for very long, you’ll eventually experience a running toilet or a leaky pipe. These issues are part of home ownership, and they are something we help our customers with every day. When it comes to Sterling households, though, these are the three plumbing issues you are most likely to encounter:
- Clogged drains. Drains get clogged for many reasons. Sometimes it’s as simple as hair and conditioner going down the shower drain and gelling together. Other times it’s because someone put something down the toilet that shouldn’t be there, like paper or a small toy. In Sterling, though, one of the most common reasons for clogged drains is invasive roots. We have a dense and healthy tree population in Virginia. These trees send their roots down to seek water, and your pipes can get in their way. Roots are strong enough to break pipes and will find any tiny crack to get into. Then they’ll take advantage of this new water source and start growing inside the pipe. This growth can make your drains slow and stop them from draining altogether. Fortunately, it’s possible to clean the roots out of your pipes without killing the tree or ruining your landscaping with the right tools. You’ll want a professional Sterling plumber like ours to verify that’s the issue, though, with specialized camera equipment. Once they do, they can get your drains flowing freely again by blasting the roots out of your drain. Roots in your pipe rarely require a replacement, though sometimes it’s a necessary option.
- No hot water. You depend on hot water to clean your clothes, your dishes, and your kids. Turning on the tap to discover the hot water isn’t working is never fun. Not having hot water is often the result of an issue with your water heater. Water heaters can stop working for many reasons, including age, broken valves, and even electrical faults. In Sterling, though, they also tend to stop working because of mineral build-up inside the system. This limescale buildup comes from our hard water, and it’s tough on all your appliances, including your water heater. There are ways to mitigate this damage, but the best option is to schedule annual maintenance with our trusted Sterling plumbers. They’ll be able to do a comprehensive inspection on all the parts and pieces of your water heater, looking for damage along with normal wear and tear. Replacing parts before they are destroyed by hard water build-up can keep your hot water flowing.
- Water discoloration. Sterling is a place with a long history, and unfortunately, some plumbing has been around for a while. Lead pipes, commonly used for plumbing in Sterling 30 or more years ago, can rust and corrode, especially as they reach the end of their useful life. Rusty pipes can put unappetizing particles into your water, which might look like orange water or flecks of green. Particles in your water are almost always a sign that it’s time to replace your pipes with something more modern. Copper and PVC are the most common piping material used today, and they’ll last for decades. Replacing your pipes can help clear up any odd smells or tastes in your water, reduce the number of leaks you experience, and put an end to clogs. If you notice any strange aromas, flavors, or sights in your water, you’ll want to contact our plumbers to investigate.
How Does the Water in Sterling Affect Your Plumbing?
The USGS water hardness scale puts Sterling’s water at moderately hard, with a measurement of around 120 parts per million (ppm). That means we have a moderate amount of hard minerals, usually calcium carbonate, in our water supply. Those minerals aren’t dangerous to drink, but they can be tough on your plumbing system.
As water moves through your plumbing system, it can leave behind mineral residue. You’ve probably seen it, even if you didn’t know what it was. This mineral build-up causes the limescale build-up at the end of your taps or in your toilet tank. It’s also what causes those white watermarks on your dishes or your shower door. While mostly harmless, over time, that mineral build-up can start to clog up your plumbing system. It might cause your water heater to stop working, stop your dishwasher from being as effective, or even clog your pipes. It’s also tougher on your skin, hair, and clothing.
You can do things to prevent limescale build-up, including running white vinegar through your appliances periodically. You can also talk to our plumbers about having a water softening system installed.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost In Sterling?
The typical range for a visit from the plumber is between $150 and $900, with an average of about $450. Of course, some plumbing projects cost much more. The cost of your plumbing repair will vary depending on the type of repair, how long it takes, and when you need it done.
The Type of Project
Our plumbers do a lot in your home. They can fix a leaky kitchen faucet in Dulles Town Center before re-piping a stately Victorian home in Potomac Falls. They handle both the big and small issues in your home, and the cost of these projects can vary. A leaking pipe in your wall could be as little as $150 to fix. Replacing the main sewer line, another common need in Sterling can be around $4,500. You can contact our plumbers to get an estimate before they start the work, so you have a better idea about what’s going to be on your final bill.
How Long It Takes
Our plumbers often charge by the hour. They’ll estimate how much time they think your job will take and roll that into your estimate. Some jobs demand a flat rate fee, too, like toilet replacements. This will all be in your estimate, but keep in mind that many plumbing jobs can end up being more complicated than initially anticipated. Our plumber will let you know when your cost is going to increase because of their extra time.
When You Need It Done
Plumbing issues don’t often happen at convenient times. When your water main breaks or a pipe bursts in your wall, you’ll want the help of our emergency plumbers. You’ll pay for their service, though, if you need to contact them after hours or on the weekend. That might be a higher hourly rate or an emergency service surcharge. Whatever it is, though, it’s cheaper than the cost of repairing water damage, so don’t wait to call when you need them.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Sterling?
Absolutely! Investing in your plumbing system upfront can save you from the cost of repairs and replacement later on.
You can also save by reducing your water bill. Good plumbing fixtures and service can reduce the number of leaks you experience and your overall water usage. Loudon Water has several recommendations about lowering your water usage. They include installing WaterSense® toilets and aerators on your faucets. Your plumber can help you with these cost-saving ideas. As well as reducing your water usage, you’ll pay for less water every month. The cost savings on your monthly bill can help offset the cost of upgrading your plumbing.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Sterling vs. Hire a Plumber?
You’ll need to contact our plumbers to repair any plumbing-related issues happening on your property in most cases. Loudon Water, the utility responsible for Sterling, is only responsible for the sewer and water mains in the street. You are responsible for everything else, including the water and sewer lines coming from the street or water meter to your property. You should know how to turn off the water mains in case of an emergency, and Loudon Water has a free printable tag to make identification easier.
You should contact Loudon Water if:
- You see a sewage or water leak in the street
- There is a fire hydrant that is leaking
- You see suspicious dumping in a storm drain
Otherwise, contact our plumbers. If the problem ends up being with the County’s lines and not your own, we can advise you on who to contact.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Sterling?
You’ll need a plumbing permit for most projects in Sterling. This includes plumbing projects such as:
- Adding a new bathroom to your property
- Remodeling an existing bathroom
- Replacing a water heater
- Installing a fountain on the property
If the project somehow alters, adds, or modifies your existing plumbing infrastructure, you’ll need to get a permit. The only exceptions to a permit are:
- Repairing an exiting plumbing fixture, such as unclogging a toilet
- Replacement of a fixture for aesthetic purposes, such as changing out your kitchen sink taps
Loudon County handles all the permits for Sterling, including plumbing permits. You can submit your permit application online, in person, or by mail. Depending on your project, you may need to submit plans to county inspectors before approving your project.
If you have questions about the permitting process or aren’t sure whether your project requires a permit, you can contact the B&D Permit Counter in Leesburg.