Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Madison?
- 2 How Does the Water in Madison Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Madison?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Madison?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Madison vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Madison?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Madison?
Most pipes that carry fluids from one place to another will eventually have a leak. Madison city’s pipe system is no different. Other than issues with the aging city pipes, homeowners may come across other types of plumbing issues. Some of the most common problems plumbers repair is:
On average, people in Madison use 55 gallons of water per person every day. It is common for homeowners to have leaky pipes, and if not detected early, can turn to a big problem. At one drip per second, a leaky faucet wastes 3,000 gallons of water a year.
We have extremely frigid weather conditions in Madison which causes flooding. This is a potentially serious problem that requires homeowners to familiarize themselves with the signs of frozen pipes such as strange smell, frost on the pipe, and no water coming out. Call us if you see any of these signs or you can also report a flooded home to the Madison Water Utility immediately at 608-266-4665.
Clogged Drains or Pipes
Clogs can cause sewage to flow backwards. This can happen when homeowners do not pay attention to what goes down the drain such as grease, hair, dirt, soap scum, or solid materials such as disposable diapers and sanitary napkins.
Some of these issues are easy to fix, while others require a licensed plumber to complete an extensive and expensive repair. Annual inspections of pipes can alert the homeowner of any potential problems like hard water deposits, weakened older pipes, or leaking seals before they become a larger issue.
How Does the Water in Madison Affect Your Plumbing?
Madison receives its freshwater supply from an underground aquifer underneath the city. Twenty-two wells are used to bring up the water for treatment and city use. With the source of the city’s freshwater being finite, it has led to many conservation programs popping up. The water composition itself leads to an issue as Madison’s water is extremely hard. This leads to concerns over water deposits in pipes, constricting and blocking flows.
There is a city-wide issue that has been addressed which is of great concern, lead contamination. The original city main pipes and some older home and business pipes are made of lead. The city has begun replacing these pipes due to the abundance of lead in the drinking water. The aquifer does not contain lead particles, and so the contamination is coming from the piping. Other contaminants in the water include sodium, calcium, magnesium, and nitrate. These cause issues with more than the pipes.
Installing a whole-home Ion or Carbon filtration system can give the drinking water a better taste, less contaminants, and make it softer. Softer water does not erode the pipes as much as hard water can and does not leave as many deposits. It is also better for hair and skin conditioning. These systems can also reduce the amount of lead in water, which will prevent lead poisoning from drinking too much of the contaminated water from an older pipe system.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Madison?
Certified, licensed, bonded, and registered plumbers charge differently per company. However, for any project, big or small they are required for the job. Master plumber costs are even higher, but they usually oversee a group of plumbers on larger projects to ensure code and permit compliance and quality of work. In 2021, homeowners paid an average of $373 for plumbing installation and $482 for plumbing costs in Madison. Several factors determine the cost of a plumbing job including the company, time and hourly charge, size of the project, crew, materials, and permitting.
Company and Labor Cost Per Hour
Each company has its own overhead and running costs which are factored into the hourly labor cost of a project. They may charge a flat one-hour rate for a small project call to cover their costs, and then charge the hourly rate after the first hour. This can range anywhere from $66 to more than $75, and master plumbers charge more. Commercial properties can see an initial cost of $89 or more. The total cost of the project will depend on how much time the company invests in the repair or replacement, per crew member involved.
Size of the Project
Yes, the size of a project is a huge factor. Replacing a toilet is easier and less time-consuming than a whole-home repipe. Declogging a drain will cost the flat rate so long as it’s done within an hour. Adding a bathroom can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. These costs do not include materials or permitting. Larger projects also take more time and more crew members to complete and different equipment. Excavation uses digging equipment and requires more permitting and calls to the city to mark underground electric, cable, or other water lines to prevent further damages.
Materials and Permitting Costs
The cost of the toilet, shower, faucet, or other fixture being installed will be separate from the plumber’s cost. Most of the time, these items are purchased beforehand and are ready for the plumber to install when they get there. Licensed plumbers also know there are extra costs for permits, depending on the project. Most will incorporate the cost in the final bill, some will require that you obtain the permitting.
No matter how big or small the project, the cost is usually flexible depending on the materials, plumber, and permitting necessary. Each project is unique and will have its own problems and fees associated. Emergent services are typically more expensive and may require a second trip after materials have been obtained to complete the job.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Madison?
Conservation of the freshwater supply not only saves the water, but it can save money as well. Other ways replacing plumbing can save money is by reducing the occurrences of leaks, decreasing time and water wasted waiting for hot water, and replacing appliances for water and energy efficiency. Replace or install these to help reduce water waste and decrease costs:
- Install a tankless water heater for a more instant hot water appearance and less water standing inside the home.
- Install a shower control for digitally monitored water pressure and temperature for the perfect low-pressure shower every time.
- Install a dual flush toilet for reduction of water use when not flushing solid waste.
- Whole-home water softeners reduce the hardness of water and the likelihood of water deposits.
- Repair or replace insulation on exposed pipes and hot water pipes to prevent freezing and loss of heat.
- Replace appliances to reduce water and electric usage and reduce the possibility of damage caused by hard water deposits.
Replacing and repairing broken pipes is the simplest way to reduce water bills and water damage costs. A simple leak that is not caught can not only cost the repair of the leak but lead to damages of the property requiring more than plumbers to fix. An annual or bi-annual inspection can assist with identifying aged pipes and potential problems before they become major issues.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Madison vs Hire a Plumber?
There is a time to call your plumber for a problem on your property, but there is also a time to call the Madison Water Utility Company. Do not delay in calling either the plumber or the water company as damage from water can quickly get worse. To determine the time to do this, there are a few simple steps.
- Turn off the water at the water main after finding the location of the leak.
- If the leak is inside the home or well within the property lines, the meter will not have stopped spinning. Call the plumber to investigate and repair the leak. Do not turn the water back on until they are on site.
- If the leak is on the city’s side of the meter, the spinning will have stopped. Call the water company to repair the damages and turn the home water back on.
Be sure the water leak is off the private property because the water company will usually charge a call-out fee for leaks that are found to originate on private property. You will have to pay this on top of hiring a plumber. There are several other ways to determine if there are leaks inside the home as well, like this toilet leak 10-minute test:
- Remove the lid of the toilet’s tank and add a few drops of food coloring to the water, enough to make the water’s color visible.
- Let the toilet sit without flushing for 10 minutes.
- If there is color in the bowel of the toilet it has a leak, and the flapper needs to be replaced.
- Remember to clean the dyed water out of the tank and bowl to prevent staining.
There are assistance programs for toilet replacement that will assist in the costs incurred. You can apply for a toilet rebate credit to be applied to your bill for the purchase and installation of a new EPA WaterSense replacement of a larger capacity toilet.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Madison?
Most plumbing services will require a permit if replacement of pipes, valves, O-rings, or fixtures is required. Excavation of pipes and connection to the city’s water main will require inspections before the work is recovered and water is allowed back into the home. Permits can be obtained by the plumber for the work through the city of Madison. Approval of plans must be received from the city for new installments that have 16 or more connections or fixtures and for private water mains. A permit is also necessary for turf sprinkler systems, and inspections must be made prior to operation.
Be sure that the plumber hired for any work done is licensed, certified, bonded, and registered to the city. An unlicensed plumber may be cheaper now, but repairs to subpar work will cost more in the long run. These licenses ensure the plumber has ample knowledge of permitting, codes, and has adequate plumbing knowledge. It is also a good idea to ask about warranties on replacements and installations.