Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Kirkland?
- 2 How Does the Water in Kirkland Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Kirkland?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Kirkland?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Kirkland Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Kirkland?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Kirkland?
Overall, Kirkland’s plumbing infrastructure is in good shape. Only a few major issues are reported by residents, the most common problems being things like clogged drains and leaky faucets, among others. For older homes near places like Market Street, pipe corrosion might be a major issue. Corrosion and pinhole leaks are also a universal problem throughout Kirkland because the soft water in the area pulls minerals away from the pipes and leaves pinhole leaks in them. Corroded pipe systems can lead to dirtier and less healthy water as the copper or lead used in their construction slowly breaks down and exits out of your tap. Older pipes are also more likely to burst, leading to more contaminants, and potentially losing water altogether, but all pipes in the city are at risk.
Low water pressure is another of the most commonly reported issues in the area, beyond the basics. This is commonly related to corroded or damaged pipes, once again caused by the soft water in the city. Water pressure issues could also potentially stem from elevation in certain neighborhoods, too. Kirkland’s elevation ranges from only 14 feet to 500 feet above sea level, with houses at higher elevations being more likely to have lower water pressure, simply because of gravity.
Finally, we get many calls for underperforming or damaged water heaters, as the city’s soft water naturally corrodes the inside of the tank and limits its useful life.
How Does the Water in Kirkland Affect Your Plumbing?
The water in Kirkland is provided by South Fork Tolt River Watershed in the Cascade Mountains and is bought from Seattle. The Seattle government website covers the various treatments done to make the water safe for drinking before it’s sent out to Kirkland and other places. Unique among major cities is how few chemical additives are used during this process, with the main disinfectant for the water being ozone. Small amounts of lime and carbon dioxide are used to adjust the pH of the water to prevent overly acidic water from corroding pipes. After that, fluoride and free chlorine are added as they are virtually everywhere for strengthening teeth and helping to keep the water clean, respectively. None of these things are added at levels harmful to humans, with some even being beneficial to us and the pipes the water flows through.
One of the main benefits of this arrangement is that the water coming into the treatment plants is already fairly clean. By sourcing the water from the Cascade Mountains in areas without human development, there is virtually no contamination from agricultural or industrial runoff. Though there is still potential for contamination at later points, it doesn’t change that Kirkland’s water is still very clean, compared to many other large cities. It’s also why treatment plants can afford to use fewer chemical additives for cleaning and the like, all of this serving as a major strength for protecting the plumbing infrastructure in the city.
Thanks to how clean the mountain water is, Kirkland and the rest of the Seattle Metro Area have a water hardness rating of 22 ppm. This is significantly less than Washington’s average of 76 ppm. This means the water in Kirkland is classified as soft by the USGS. This can be good news for your pipes since softer water means less chance of scale buildup to your plumbing systems. It also means you won’t have to spend money on water softening treatments. However, soft water can corrode your pipes and leave you with leaks more readily than hard water would.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Kirkland?
The average cost of a plumbing visit in Kirkland is about $425, ranging from $145 on the low end to $900 on the high end. That said, plenty of factors can influence your final bill. Some of them are listed below:
Emergency visits naturally cost more than a routine plumbing call. Getting the necessary gear and people together on such short notice is a major hassle for all involved. Depending on when you call us in (weekends and holidays, in particular), overtime pay might also be a factor. The same goes for after-hours maintenance calls.
Various institutions offer Kirkland residents assistance for plumbing repair and home renovation. As an example, the USDA provides loans and grants to people in certain income brackets and age ranges. Through programs like these, you could considerably reduce the amount you have to pay for plumbing services. Insurance might also play a factor in this, potentially covering your entire bill, depending on what your policy specifies.
How much you need us to do is probably the most obvious cost factor in a plumbing call. Unclogging a single drain can be done in a flash, but replacing numerous pipes in your home could take days or even weeks of effort. In addition to the time involved in a job, we also have to consider the materials used. More materials mean more costs, after all.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Kirkland?
Better plumbing can save you money just about anywhere, Kirkland included. Taking care of your home is a natural part of being a responsible adult, and a lot of that responsibility has to do with catching problems early and getting them fixed. Like any other part of a house, your pipes and plumbing fixtures also need this kind of maintenance and care to continue functioning normally.
When you call in plumbers like us to solve your problems, you’re getting the chance to locate other more serious issues before they happen. Maybe your water’s slowed to a trickle because of a clog somewhere or maybe it’s because of damage to a pipe from the soft water in Kirkland. To a layman, those two problems might look the same, but professionals can tell the difference and find solutions.
Beyond that, even just fixing simple problems like a leaky faucet can end up saving you a ton of money in the long run. While you might be tempted to ignore something that minor, letting a faucet drip can cost you around 3,000 gallons of water every year, according to EPA estimates. That’s cash going down the drain because of a problem that you could otherwise fix without any issue.
Though calling our plumbers inevitably costs money, it’s a great way to save money in the future, compared to much more costly visits for repairing the damage you didn’t prevent.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Kirkland Vs Hire a Plumber?
Different problems require different solutions. Understanding when it’s appropriate to hire our plumbers and when you need to contact the utility company isn’t always as clear-cut as it seems at a glance. While making the wrong call isn’t usually disastrous, it can waste precious time and money, which is why knowing how to respond to an issue in your plumbing is so important.
A good rule of thumb to use in these situations is to ask yourself a simple question: Am I the only one affected here? In general, our plumbers handle problems that are happening to a single building, while the city’s utility company deals with issues city-wide. While certain duties might overlap from time to time, this is the easiest way to remember it.
As an example, your water no longer running could happen as a result of numerous problems, like a burst pipe, a clogged faucet, or a shutoff at the treatment plant. These are possible explanations, but you likely can’t tell simply by noticing that the water isn’t coming out when you twist the knob. To fix this, ask your neighbors if they’re also experiencing problems with their water. If the answer is yes, that’s a good sign that at least a few houses or your entire street are currently having problems, and the city should take a look. If the answer is no, then it’s most likely a problem with your house’s plumbing, and we’ll be happy to inspect your pipes.
Additionally, our plumbers can’t help problems that don’t involve your property. We’re not equipped to stop a busted fire hydrant from spraying out all over the street, but the city’s people could shut off water and send a crew out to repair it. We also aren’t about to go busting down the doors of an empty home because it looks as if it’s flooding somewhere. Again, if you suspect that there’s a water or plumbing emergency somewhere you don’t live and no one is there to stop it, call the city and get them to shut off the water directly.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Kirkland?
As mentioned before, Kirkland requires permits for many plumbing services. While things like unclogging a drain or an inspection are free to do without a permit, something like replacing a water heater or replacing pipes would require one from the city. As it states in the Kirkland Municipal Code Section 21.06.205, your plumbing project will need a permit if it’s constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, moving, demolishing, or changing a building or…plumbing system.
To keep it simple, if your project involves installing something like a water heater or replacing pipes, that’s going to need a permit. Anything that involves knocking down walls or digging up the floor will also require a permit. Replacing small things like valves or gaskets won’t require a permit.
If this seems kind of confusing and vague, you’re not alone. Taking on major plumbing repairs or alterations can be difficult if you’re not experienced. Having our professional plumbers to help is typically the best way to go about it for this and many other reasons, especially when it comes to navigating the permits themselves. Plumbers like us have been doing this for years and can take care of the necessary permit acquisition without troubling you. With us, there’s a much higher chance of getting the job done right, compared to you going at it alone, without any training.