Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Spokane?
- 2 How Does the Water in Spokane Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Spokane?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Spokane?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Spokane Vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Spokane?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Spokane?
Spokane, Washington is a gorgeous and interesting city that over 215,000 people call home. It’s known for its renowned wineries, breathtaking natural beauty, and historic architecture. Many homes and commercial buildings were constructed in the late 1800s or early 1900s, and the City of Spokane takes great care in ensuring their beauty and integrity are preserved. Older buildings provide the city with a rich visual history and tell the stories of past generations, but they also come with their own sets of issues, especially when it comes to plumbing.
The three most common issues we see in Spokane include running toilets, low water pressure, and clogged drains, and these are often due to outdated plumbing systems.
Most homeowners will deal with a running toilet at least once in their lives, whether they notice it or not. Some running toilets are loud and constant, and others are quiet and sporadic. Either way, it’s estimated that about 20% of toilets leak. Each toilet that constantly runs can waste well over one gallon of water per hour, adding up to thousands of wasted gallons per year. This is not only harmful to environmental conservation efforts, but it also translates to a significantly higher water bill. Taking care of a running toilet issue or replacing your current toilet with a more water-efficient one can save you hundreds of dollars on reduced water bills per year.
Low Water Pressure
Another problem common to older homes in Spokane is low water pressure. This issue can occur simply due to older piping, but it can also become a problem more gradually when mineral buildup occurs within your piping system. Spokane’s hard water leaves mineral build-up to accumulate in your pipes and constrict water flow, allowing less water to pass through. When this happens, it becomes hard to get all the shampoo out of your hair in the shower and your water-using appliances run less efficiently. If you notice a sudden drop in your home’s water pressure, it could also be due to a leak that has sprung somewhere else inside your home, or because of low water flow from the city’s water supply.
We also receive plenty of calls about clogged drains, which occur when food, hair, soap, and other substances stick together and form a blockage. Less severe clogs result in slower draining, but more severe ones can produce total blockages that allow standing water. Spokane’s hard water contributes significantly to this issue, as minerals can add to the clog or even cause it by limiting flow through the pipes. A clogged drain can quickly become a health hazard if it isn’t taken care of in a timely manner, as bacteria and fungi can grow rapidly in moist environments. If you experience clogs in more than one drain at a time in your home, it may be indicative of a larger issue in your main draining system. This can’t be remedied with chemical drain cleaners, plungers, or snakes, and our plumber may have to provide a more comprehensive solution.
How Does the Water in Spokane Affect Your Plumbing?
The water in Spokane is often considered moderately hard, meaning that it contains a fair amount of hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium. Hard water is perfectly safe to use for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other household chores, though it does lead to dry skin and hair, reduced appliance efficiency, mineral buildup, and staining on laundry and dishes. It is also the cause of soap scum and residue that is left behind in bathtubs.
Those who don’t use city water and instead get their water from groundwater wells also likely have hard water. In either case, we often recommend that homeowners purchase a water softening system if they don’t already have one. Water softeners work to reduce hard water minerals by exchanging magnesium and calcium ions with softer ones, usually sodium and potassium. If you already have a water softening system but are still experiencing hard water problems, it may need maintenance or replacing.
The installation of a water softener can provide the near-instant benefits of better-tasting water, well-moisturized skin, reduced mineral buildup, more efficient appliances, and so much more.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Spokane?
The average cost to hire our plumbers in Spokane is about $470, though this can be much lower or higher depending upon many factors. Our plumbers often charge an hourly rate, usually between $50-$150, but some jobs demand flat fees based on our assessment of the work. The three largest factors in determining the bottom line of a job include how large of an undertaking it is, whether special equipment is needed, and whether it’s an emergency service that takes place after regular business hours.
Cost Factor: Size of Job
Plumbing issues can range from small to huge, and the larger and more complicated the job, the more it will end up costing you. Small jobs can include fixing running toilets or clogged sinks, and larger jobs include septic system repairs, the installation of large appliances, and home remodels. Larger jobs usually require more staff and labor hours.
Cost Factor: Equipment Needed
Many plumbing jobs can be completed with the tools and supplies we have stored in our vehicles, like wrenches, snakes, tubing cutters, pliers, and more. More complicated undertakings may require the use of rented tools or machinery such as heavy-duty equipment that can dig up dirt to allow us to access your underground piping. Some jobs also require that we purchase new materials for your plumbing systems, like pipes and fixtures, and these costs can also add up.
Cost Factor: Emergency Services
Plumbing emergencies can occur at any time of day or night, and they don’t wait until business hours to make themselves known. If a pipe bursts in your home in the middle of the night, it’s important that you call our emergency plumbers to address the issue right away. Emergency services, understandably, cost more, as our plumber will have to leave home outside business hours to come to fix your pipes. However, paying for these services when you need them can actually save you money in the long run by reducing property damage that would occur if you wait too long. Some plumbing issues can truly wait until morning or a weekday, but if you aren’t sure, it’s best to have it looked at before it gets worse.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Spokane?
Getting updated and getting better plumbing installed in your home can not only raise the value of your property but can also save you thousands of dollars in the long run by reducing your home’s water consumption and the need for frequent plumbing repairs. Newer plumbing made from better materials is more durable, so you won’t have to worry about replacing it within a few years, and it allows water to flow through your house more efficiently. This can save you substantial amounts on your monthly water bill.
Having updated plumbing reduces the chances that you will have to call our plumbers every few months to fix frequent leaks or clogs. Investing in new pipes and fixtures may seem like a costly investment upfront, but it pays for itself relatively quickly. Plus, the City of Spokane offers rebate incentives to reduce water consumption in the surrounding area when you install water-efficient appliances or replace grass on your property with approved water-wise plants. For homeowners, these rebates can range from $20 for replacing an old shower head up to $500 for more substantial upgrades.
For businesses, these rebates can include installing a new cooling tower conductivity controller, using an irrigation controller, and shifting to a more water-efficient landscaping design. If you have been looking for an excuse to replace some of the fixtures around your home or business anyway, these rebates can really sweeten the deal.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Spokane Vs Hire a Plumber?
When dealing with most plumbing and water issues in your home, you will be responsible for hiring our plumbers to manage the issue. The water utility company won’t have any responsibility for helping you repair leaks or clogs unless it has something to do with water mains or other city property.
The only times you should contact the water utility company instead of our plumbers are if you need help with your water bill, starting or stopping your service, or if you see plumbing issues that occur on city property. Examples of these issues can include sewage backing up into the street, flooding in public parks, and more.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a plumbing issue has to do with your own property or the city’s, so it’s best to contact our plumbers to take a look. If they determine that it’s a city problem, they can contact the right people for you to fix the issue. If it’s your own property that is the root of the problem, they can potentially take care of the issue on the spot.
When Do You Need Permits For Plumbing Service in Spokane?
Local and state building codes can vary greatly, and it can be confusing to keep up with ordinances as they change over the years. Fortunately, our plumbers will be familiar with local guidelines and can help you understand whether a certain plumbing project requires a permit or not.
For the most part, basic repairs and plumbing jobs, like fixing leaks and clogs on existing fixtures, won’t need a plumbing permit. Getting new pipes and fixtures installed, or rearranging the layout of your home or building’s plumbing, usually requires a permit and inspection from the city. You can fill out a permit application online, and we can help you out with the paperwork if you have questions or aren’t sure how to fill out some parts of the form.