Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Williamsburg?
- 2 How Does the Water in Williamsburg Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Williamsburg?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Williamsburg?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Williamsburg vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Williamsburg?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Williamsburg?
As in many homes across the country, problems with plumbing are a common occurrence in Williamsburg. Whether it’s a stinky drain, constantly clogged toilet, or a shower that takes forever to empty, we can help you correct the problem safely and efficiently. Using an over-the-counter drain cleaning product is not recommended, as it may make the problem worse, resulting in costly repairs.
Frozen pipes from freezing temperatures in the area, grease buildup, and tree roots that have grown into sewer pipes can wreak havoc on a home’s plumbing system. Let us know if you are experiencing any of these issues. Together, we can determine the best course of action.
Unique to Williamsburg is the use of QEST piping used in homes constructed before 1996. The Ford’s Colony Homeowner’s Association (HOA), for example, recently informed its residents, “there is a reasonable probability that polybutylene pipe, known as QEST or Quest piping, was used for the main water supply to your home and potentially distributed in the home itself.” They stated, “Due to the high potential for failure, home inspectors are recommending replacement.” The HOA suggested, “You may want to consult a plumber for advice if your home was built before 1996.”
Over at St. Georges Hundred subdivision, more than 25 water-main breaks have occurred in a short period. A resident reported having to pay $4,000 to repair a ruptured water line, which ran between the street and their residence. The HOA president noted, “Our subdivision is of the age where our water lines are getting old and wearing out and breaking.”
A spokesperson for the James City Service Authority (JCSA) noted an infrastructure that is “aging and corroding.” The agency will only replace the main water lines installed during construction. Homeowners are responsible for repairs to their homes and yards. We recommend checking with your insurance provider to see if coverage is available.
Residents serviced by JCSA can call 757-229-7421 to report plumbing emergencies. The after-hour contact line is 757-566-0112.
How Does the Water in Williamsburg Affect Your Plumbing?
The primary water source for the City of Williamsburg is the Waller Mill Reservoir that contains 1.5 billion gallons of water. The City owns most of the surrounding watershed. When drought conditions are present, groundwater obtained from the Waller Mill Park well and Newport News Waterworks supplements the water source.
JCSA “owns, finances, constructs, operates and maintains the public water system” in the City of Williamsburg. The central water system services approximately 54,000 people, with 95% of customers being residential.
The water supply in Williamsburg is classified as “moderately hard, predominantly calcium carbonate.” While an excellent source of calcium, it frustrates homeowners that battle with frequent spots on fixtures, glassware, and dishes. More importantly, hard water can leave mineral deposits on the insides of your pipes, contributing to clogs, low water pressure, and pipe breaks.
A Water Quality Report from 2020 indicates the City’s water is compliant with all Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, with no state or federal violations. Trace amounts of microbial and inorganic substances may be present in the source water. Pesticides, herbicides, organic chemicals, and radioactive residuals are also possible sources of water contamination in Williamsburg.
The EPA and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have established a Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 for residents concerned about water quality in Williamsburg.
Another common issue in the City is lead exposure, which creates adverse health conditions, especially in children. The use of lead piping in older homes common in the area causes it. The EPA can assist with testing methods, but Williamsburg Department of Public Works and Utilities is not liable for the “variety of materials used in plumbing components.” If you suspect lead in the water, they recommend letting the tap run for one to two minutes before using the water for cooking or drinking. Eventually, the pipes will need to be replaced to correct the issue.
Feel free to contact us if you need help identifying the quality of the water in your home.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Williamsburg?
The cost of repairing or replacing plumbing in Williamsburg is based on several varying factors. On average, most homeowners end up paying between $100 and $675 for our services. Some of the cost factors include:
Scope of Required Work
A total overhaul of your plumbing system is going to cost more than a simple fix for a clogged drain. Necessary materials, required inspections, building fees, and City taxes are all considered and based on the depth of the amount of work needed to be performed.
How Soon the Work Needs to Be Done
An emergency water main break in the middle of the night will be much more expensive than a service call appointment scheduled during regular operating hours. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us any time of day or night for issues that can’t wait until morning.
Replacement of Polybutylene Pipes
If the entire piping system in a home needs replacement, the cost can be more than a homeowner is able or willing to pay. Polybutylene was low-cost piping used between the 1970s and 1990s to install plumbing in residential homes. Chlorine degradation from the City’s water source and the age of the pipes is resulting in costly leaks, bursts, and the need for total replacement of plumbing systems throughout the county. The average cost for this job is between $5,000 and $15,000, depending on copper or PVC piping utilization.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Williamsburg?
The cost of homeownership in Williamsburg is not cheap, and neither are the utility bills. Finding ways to save money is always a good idea, so we’ve put together a few helpful hints to help you lower your water bill.
Check for Leaks
For starters, turn off all the faucets in your home and then check the water meter to see if it is still spinning. It should not be moving, and if it is, that is a clear indication there is a leak somewhere in your home.
Another good way to check for leaks is to completely turn off the shut-off valve to interrupt water flow into your home. When the valve is off, there should be no water dripping. Check other fixtures such as the faucets in the bathroom and kitchen and see if any water is leaking. Putting a stop to leaks throughout your home can result in hundreds of dollars in annual savings on your water bill.
Inspect Your Water Heater
If you start to hear strange noises coming from your water heater, it could be a sign that it needs to be repaired or replaced. Any corrosion on the tank or muddy-looking water indicates an ongoing issue. Let us know what you find, so we can fix the problem before you need total replacement, which will cost significantly more in the long run.
JCSA instituted a Water Conservation and Management Plan in 2020 to reduce “future demands on limited water supplies.” The Plan addresses a heightened awareness of the “potential inadequacy of public water supplies to satisfy future needs.”
In that regard, the Building Code in Williamsburg mandates the use of low-flow water-conserving fixtures on all plumbing work performed in the county.
A Water Conservation Rebate Program is available to residents that install “various water-conserving fixtures, appliances, and water-smart landscape installations.” Rebates range between $25 to $500, based on what feature is installed in your home. We can help coordinate water-saving improvements in your residence to take advantage of the savings currently being offered by the City of Williamsburg.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Williamsburg vs Hire a Plumber?
James City Service Authority will dispatch a field technician if you are experiencing water discoloration that is either reddish/yellow, orange, or milky-white. These are telltale signs of a water line break that requires repair. Contact JCSA at 757-229-7421 to report a problem.
If you are experiencing low water pressure, JCSA will check the pressure coming into your home. If it is isolated to your residence, you will need to contact our plumbers to address the situation.
Property owners in Williamsburg have the responsibility to maintain backflow prevention devices, ensuring all assemblies are tested and in working order. A Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) worker must perform all installations. As certified technicians, we can make sure you are in compliance with the City’s code, ensuring pollutants and contaminants do not enter the central water source. JCSA is not responsible for this service, and homeowners bear the entire cost for maintenance and repairs.
Issues with sewer lines can prove to be a costly and cumbersome ordeal for homeowners. Sometimes, the property needs to be excavated to access problems drains or lines. Tree roots may have grown into the piping, or the aging sewer pipes may have collapsed from excessive corrosion. The first signs of a sewage backup may indicate a problem with your lines.
Don’t wait to address sewer problems that can get worse in a hurry. JCSA is only responsible for lines located in the right-of-way easements. Homeowners are responsible for covering the cost of repair and replacement on their private property, so you should call our experts for assistance.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Williamsburg?
James City County offers the JCC Permit Link. The fully automated system can assist applicants with permits, inspections, plan reviews, and payment of fees. Traditional paperwork is no longer needed.
The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code mandates a plumbing permit is required “anytime a building or structure will be altered, constructed, converted, demolished, enlarged, moved, improved, or repaired; or in a flood zone.”
If you plan to install a new pool or hot tub on your property, a building permit is required before any work can begin.
Before starting any plumbing project at your home, we will make sure all permits are issued and that you comply with the building and safety codes of Williamsburg, Virginia.