Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Bellevue?
- 2 How Does the Water in Bellevue Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Bellevue?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Bellevue?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Bellevue Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Bellevue?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Bellevue?
A common issue in Bellevue is higher or lower than ideal water pressure. A major project is underway to improve pressure along West Lake Sammamish Parkway. Because of the city’s terrain, however, some areas may have particularly high pressure. Houses at lower elevations often have higher water pressure, which causes some issues. These include breaks in the plumbing, pipe knocking, and damaged fixtures. For some properties, you need a PRV (pressure relief valve) to reduce the water pressure coming into your home. The PRV will prevent your plumbing from being damaged as long as it works correctly. It is generally smart to have your PRV regularly checked for correct function.
If you have a PRV installed, you should also have a water heater expansion tank to protect your fixtures further, as pressure-limiting valves can cause their own problems. The current project may require additional homes to have PRVs and expansion tanks installed. You can check the function of your PRV by comparing system pressure inside your home to that of an outdoor hose connection if you have a water pressure gauge. If you don’t, we can come out and do this for you relatively inexpensively. A malfunctioning PRV can cause your water pressure to change to usually higher than normal, and needs to be fixed as soon as possible, as it can damage the rest of your plumbing significantly.
Low water pressure is a little harder to deal with, but you can get advice from us on ways to adapt to it and possibly increase it. Unfortunately, variable water pressure is a natural result of Bellevue’s geography. Many of the problems caused by high water pressure are a side effect of the city’s work to ensure that nobody has to deal with unusably low water pressure.
Bellevue has some older homes which may have lead piping. It’s a good idea to get your water tested for lead if your home was built before 1986, especially if you have children or are planning on starting a family. A reverse osmosis filter will remove lead from your water and if the lead is in your home and not utility-owned pipes, running the water until the temperature drops before filling a glass significantly reduces lead contamination. In the long run, it is worth considering getting lead pipes replaced.
Other than that, the plumbing issues in Bellevue tend to be fairly typical.
How Does the Water in Bellevue Affect Your Plumbing?
Bellevue’s water comes from the Tolt River and Cedar River watersheds and is believed to be of high quality. It tends, however, to be a little acidic. The water is treated to raise the pH, thus reducing the amount of corrosion in your pipes. Assuming everything is working normally, you should not have to worry about acid corrosion, but it can be a concern if a weather event or an earthquake causes issues at the treatment plant.
The weather and humidity in Bellevue can cause pink or black stains in your sink or around drains. These do not come from your water and are the result of airborne yeast. They can be dealt with by simple cleaning. Bellevue’s water is considered soft, so you do not need to use a water softener. However, soft water can pull more metal out of your pipes, increasing the levels of lead and other metals in your water. This can cause pinhole leaks, pipe breaks, and a variety of other issues. Again, this is primarily a concern for older homes.
Thankfully, the water has no other specific concerns except for the typical concerns about conservation. We strongly recommend taking every step you can to save water. The water in Bellevue comes from pristine watersheds and is a valuable natural resource.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Bellevue?
Typically, plumbing will cost you an average of $325. Clearing a drain blockage will run you about $154.85, while more complicated issues could reach over $850. These costs are fairly typical but are affected by a variety of factors.
The size of the project is the primary factor affecting its cost. We charge based on the parts and materials needed and the time and complexity of the work. For example, a more complex project may require more than one person, increasing its cost.
Sometimes, we will discover that the scope of a project is higher on inspection. Unfortunately, a simple repair may reveal an issue that requires more complicated action to be taken. We rarely estimate higher than the final cost, although we do our best to be as accurate as possible.
If you need emergency service, it will cost you more. We are available 24/7, recognizing that major leaks, appliance failures, etc., have no respect for things like normal office hours.
However, service at night or on a weekend is likely to cost you more as is any need to expedite the service. In most cases, we will fix the immediate issue and then worry about long-term repairs at a more convenient time, but this is not always possible. In some cases, we may have to do all the work right then to prevent further damage, particularly if there is an issue with your PRV.
Older buildings often come with an increased cost for repairs. First of all, it’s more likely that we will find extended issues that require more work in a building whose plumbing has not been touched in a while. If we have to carefully restore appearance after we are done, then this will also cost more.
In some cases, we may recommend replumbing, especially if the building still has lead pipes. Rest assured, if we do make this recommendation, it is to save you money and hassle in the long run. In addition, replacing lead pipes can increase the resale value of your home.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Bellevue?
Better plumbing can always save you money. Lead piping, for example, significantly reduces the resale value of a home and extends the time it spends on the market. In addition to the health concerns they may cause, it is always worth considering the affordability of pipe replacement. Replacement may ensure that your pipes and fixtures are not developing slow leaks, as is common with older plumbing. As Bellevue’s water is soft, lead contamination is more of a concern here than in some places.
Here, water conservation is considered important. These natural resources are valuable and need to be preserved. Bellevue is part of the Cascade Water Alliance and is part of a program to support conservation. For a little over $5, you can get free basic conservation items, such as a low flow showerhead, faucet aerators, shower timers, etc. We will gladly help you install them if you are not up to the task yourself. The city is also currently replacing all existing water meters with smart water meters that take less time to read. There is no cost for this, and it will give you more frequent access to your water usage information.
If you have a smart water meter, ask how you can access your real-time water usage data, which can help you find and fix leaks quickly. Upgrading to more efficient appliances can also save you a lot of money over time.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Bellevue Vs Hire a Plumber?
You are responsible for everything in your house as far as your meter. The utility company is responsible for everything beyond that, so you should call the utility company if you see signs of a leak in your lateral line or the street. This often takes the form of standing water in your yard.
Water pressure in Bellevue can be weird, but you should still call them if water pressure drops significantly. If you have a PRV, you may want to look at the water pressure in an outdoor faucet or hose connection first. However, if the water pressure is still normal at that point, you should call us, as the issue is probably a malfunctioning PRV. If your water pressure jumps up, then the issue is almost certainly your PRV and you should get us over as soon as possible before the uncontrolled pressure causes more damage to your plumbing.
We may also recommend contacting the utility company if we believe the leak is outside your meter. One way to check this is to turn off the valve. If your meter still runs, you have a leak. Smart meters can help you work this out faster.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Bellevue?
You need a plumbing permit for most work, but Bellevue does have exemptions for basic repairs, replacing fixtures that are not concealed in a wall, replacing a fixture with the same fixture in the same location, and for installing water features or exterior hot tubs that are filled by hose. You need a permit if you are adding new plumbing or altering piping.
We can determine whether you need a permit and will help you get all the required ones, but you will be responsible for the cost. In most cases, you can get your permit on the same day. However, the work will have to be inspected to ensure it is up to code. This is one reason why it’s a good idea not to attempt any plumbing work (that might need a permit) yourself.