Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Racine?
- 2 How Does the Water in Racine Affect Your Plumbing?
- 3 How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Racine?
- 4 Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Racine?
- 5 When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Racine vs Hire a Plumber?
- 6 When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Racine?
What Are the Most Common Plumbing Issues in Racine?
With many structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and many older neighborhoods throughout the city, houses in Racine often have plumbing issues that occur due to the age of the plumbing system. Like many older plumbing systems, clogged drains and low water pressure, due to sediment and mineral buildup from the hard water in the area in the drain and water pipes, are relatively common.
In addition to the age of homes, climate and weather are significant causes of plumbing issues in Racine and the surrounding area. Precipitation is scattered evenly throughout most of the year, with summer months typically being slightly wetter and more humid than winters. While the summers are warm, they can be very short, and the winters bring plenty of cold, with the average low temperature being below freezing five months out of the year. The frigid temperatures, combined with the Arctic air that blows from Lake Michigan, can lead to a host of plumbing issues.
One of the most significant plumbing issues caused by below-freezing and frigid single-digit temperatures is frozen water pipes. The thin column of water in your lines can freeze solid surprisingly quickly when exposed to severe cold. Exposed outside pipes and fixtures, plumbing in an unheated basement or crawl space, and underground plumbing systems are all vulnerable to freezing temperatures.
Frozen pipes can be more than just an inconvenience. When a pipe carrying water into your house freezes, your supply of fresh water is gone until you can thaw the pipes. In addition to having no running water in your home, as the water freezes, it expands and can cause your pipe to rupture. While copper pipe is less apt to rupture, PVC and other plastic piping, and some of the plumbing still in use in many older homes, are very vulnerable.
Cold weather also has a notable effect on the performance of your water heater. The efficiency of your water heater is closely tied to the incoming water temperature. The colder this water is, the harder your water heater must work, and the more energy required to heat your water to the desired temperature. The expansion caused by even a tiny amount of ice in the outlet or inlet of your water heater can also cause leaks and permanent damage.
Additionally, Racine’s hard water leaves deposits in your water heater, eventually reducing the efficiency of your equipment and reducing its lifespan.
How Does the Water in Racine Affect Your Plumbing?
The City of Racine draws its water from Lake Michigan – by volume, the second largest of the five Great Lakes of North America. Lake Michigan has an abundant supply of high-quality freshwater, which is purified, treated, and delivered to residents by Racine Water Utility. The water supply in Racine is generally free from excess contaminants and has earned a reputation for quality. As evidence of the water quality, the water supplied to the city by Racine Water Utility earned recognition in 2011 for being the best tasting tap water in the United States as determined by a panel of U.S. Mayors.
Older homes have a higher risk of the water supply being contaminated by lead and other heavy metals. Many of the houses constructed in Racine before 1940 were built with lead service lines. We now know that lead is a poisonous substance that can severely impact the brain and is especially dangerous for young children. Lead in the water is a national concern, and the Racine Water Utility Lead Service Line Replacement Program is one program designed to help homeowners alleviate the issue.
How Much Does Plumbing Usually Cost in Racine?
The average cost that Racine homeowners can expect to pay a plumber is about $450, with the majority of plumbing services in the area ranging between $104 and $754. The total cost of a project is dependent on several factors.
When it’s an emergency, response time is critical, and most major problems seem to happen outside of regular business hours. When a drain is backing up, or a pipe has burst, you can’t always wait until tomorrow, and we understand that. For this reason, we have plumbers available in Racine 24 hours a day, every day of the year, in all types of weather. While the costs associated with an after-hours emergency call are more expensive, it is comforting to know that help from our master plumbers is only a few clicks away.
Type of Project
Our plumbers perform various services, from fixing leaky faucets, toilets, tubs, and showers, to replacing and repairing entire plumbing systems. Whether making a minor repair, thawing a frozen pipe, installing a gas line, or building a new plumbing system, the average plumber in Racine charges about $70 an hour, plus the cost of materials. The type of project has a significant impact on the time it takes to resolve the problem and, consequently, the cost of our services.
Often, housing repair grants and loans available through federal, state, and local programs can significantly reduce the cost of some plumbing services. Locally, the City of Racine Housing Repair Program offers qualifying homeowners loans to address health and safety concerns and energy-saving upgrades. Run by the City of Racine Department of City Development since 1981, the program uses funding from multiple sources to help homeowners.
The USDA Rural Development Division has a program that offers single-family housing repair loans and grants in Wisconsin. This program provides elderly and disabled very-low-income homeowners with grants to help them repair or remove health and safety hazards. The program also makes loans available to other very-low-income homeowners to repair, improve, or modernize their homes for less.
Can Better Plumbing Save You Money in Racine?
Better plumbing can save you money in the long run in several ways. According to the EPA, water leaks in the average household account for almost 10,000 gallons of wasted water each year, with 10% of homes each wasting as much as 90 gallons a day. Repairing a leaky faucet, running toilet, and other leaking valves are often easy to repair, and a small investment of time and hardware can save you as much as 10% on your water usage.
Often, our professional plumbers can identify potential problem areas and provide a solution, such as added pipe insulation or replacing a section of pipe that may be weak. We can suggest money-saving measures you can take, such as installing a low-flush toilet, low-flow shower, upgrading your washer, or ideas to improve the performance of your water heater. Our plumbers will also be aware of programs such as grants and loans available in the area to offset the costs of these improvements further.
The City of Racine does have a large number of older homes containing older plumbing systems, and older pipes are more susceptible to leaks and ruptures. Often these pipes are hidden in walls and ceilings, and issues aren’t apparent until a large amount of damage is done. In the Racine area, if you have an older home or are not sure what condition your pipes are in, a plumbing inspection from our experts may not only save you money but give you peace of mind.
The extreme weather changes in Racine make it critical for homeowners to be vigilant about the condition of their plumbing system. As weather systems around the globe seem to become more extreme, it is essential to understand how the weather and climate affect your pipes and what you can do to protect them in advance.
Our plumbers in Racine are aware of local trends that affect your plumbing, can recommend technical improvements that can save you money, and are also mindful of local and regional programs that can help keep your costs to a minimum. Improving your plumbing system provides many benefits. Better plumbing can eliminate surprises by solving plumbing issues before they become an emergency. A better plumbing system can save you money on your water, the cost of emergency repairs, and on energy costs needed to keep your home comfortable.
When Should You Call the Water Utility Company in Racine vs Hire a Plumber?
It’s not always easy to know whether you should call the water utility company in Racine or if you should hire our experts. Water service from the water main in the street to the sidewalk is owned by the city and the responsibility of Racine Water Utility. Water delivery from the sidewalk to your water meter and inside the home or any structures is the homeowner’s responsibility.
If you have a plumbing issue, such as a leak or ruptured pipe, inside or outside your home, you will need to hire us to make the repairs. Interruptions to your water are sometimes between the water main and the sidewalk, making them the city’s responsibility. It can also be caused by a broken pipe between the sidewalk and the house, making it necessary to hire us. In general, if several homeowners in the same neighborhood share the same water issue, it’s likely to be the water company’s issue. At the same time, if the problem affects only your dwelling, you should call us for help.
When Do You Need Permits for Plumbing Service in Racine?
It is necessary to get a permit to perform plumbing services and have the completed work approved by a city inspector in many instances. The chief plumbing inspector also has the discretion to require submission of a plumbing plan for drain systems and plumbing systems that involve new installations, additions, or changes.
A homeowner or our plumbers can not start any plumbing project in Racine until the Racine Building Department issues a permit. The finished work must meet the satisfaction of a city plumbing inspector to make sure that the installation meets Wisconsin and National building codes. Racine city ordinances require a permit and inspection to install any plumbing system, including:
- New buildings, additions, and alterations
- Water heaters (gas or electric)
- Dishwashers new or replacement
- Fixture replacement of sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, garbage disposals, etc.
- Street opening permits
- Lawn sprinkler systems