Common Sacramento Plumbing Issues and How to Resolve Them
Any Sacramento residence is susceptible to plumbing issues, which can vary widely from home to home. Details such as the age of the home, its architecture and its location can influence the likelihood of a particular plumbing issue arising. Fortunately, for every plumbing issue, there’s a solution. Consider these common plumbing issues and solutions:
Hard water contains high concentrations of minerals like calcium and magnesium. While it’s usually safe to drink, it can cause issues with plumbing system components and some appliances. For example, mineral deposits from hard water that accumulate on the insides of pipes (a phenomenon known as pipe scaling) can gradually affect a home’s water pressure. Additionally, hard water can stain glassware, leave rings around sinks and bathtubs, and decrease the operating lifespan of appliances like coffee makers.
As a Sacramento resident, the hardness of your home’s water will depend upon its source. Sacramento gets about 85 percent of its water from the nearby American and Sacramento Rivers, while the other 25 percent is derived from groundwater sources. According to a study performed by California State University, Sacramento, water samples taken from the north side of the American River tended to be harder than those taken on its southern side. Furthermore, the study found that water from groundwater sources tended to be harder than river-sourced water.
If your home has hard water, you should consider installing a water softening system. Types of water softeners range from salt-based ion exchangers to magnetic descalers. The latter utilize magnets to soften water by breaking down the molecular structure of heavy minerals contained within. Magnetic descalers are easy to install, maintenance-free and environmentally-friendly. Salt-based water softeners also work well, but they add sodium ions to the water, which can result in a salty taste and contribute to pre-existing health issues like high blood pressure and edema. That’s why, if you choose to install a salt-based water softener, you should also consider adding a water filtration system (more on this below).
Low water pressure
Many factors can contribute to low water pressure issues, but one of the most common is old, galvanized metal piping. Over time, the piping’s inner zinc coating starts to erode, which allows corrosion to form and build up on the insides of the pipes. In addition to diminishing the home’s water quality, this accumulation of buildup can lead to a reduction in water pressure as the pipe’s pathway becomes smaller. Worse still, a lot of old, galvanized piping was manufactured using lead, which means lead may be leeching into your drinking water—a significant health concern. In any case, if old, galvanized metal pipes are the cause of your low water pressure issues, have a Sacramento plumbing company replace them with modern, corrosion-resistant plastic or copper piping.
In some cases, what seems like low water pressure might actually be something much simpler, such as a clogged faucet aerator. If one of your faucets seems to have low pressure, simply unscrew it from the faucet and see if there’s any sediment inside—if there is, clean it out with your finger and the pressure should improve.
Recurrent sewer system issues
Few plumbing problems are as dreaded as when a sewer line backs up into the home. If this is a recurrent problem in your home, it’s time to find a permanent solution. First, you’ll want to get a full sewer line inspection so your plumber can identify the cause of the problem. Most plumbers have access to in-line camera technology that allows them to get a firsthand view of a sewer line and accurately pinpoint breaches or clogs.
In addition to remedying existing sewer line problems, it’s wise to protect your home by installing a backflow prevention valve. This type of valve is designed so sewage can only flow out of a home, never into it. A small flap inside the valve allows sewage to exit the home; however, if sewage starts to flow back toward the home, the flap floats upward and closes, sealing the pipe. By protecting your home from unsanitary conditions, a sewer backflow prevention valve is nothing short of cheap insurance against disaster.
Long wait times for hot water
If you find yourself waiting a minute or more for hot water to reach your sink or shower, you may wonder what’s behind this continual inconvenience. Wait times for hot water can be caused by a few factors, such as the distance from your water heater to the fixture you’re using and the size of your home (which may increase this distance). Besides wasting your time, these long waits at the faucet and shower waste a lot of water, as all standing water in the pipe must drain out before hot water can reach the fixture.
Fortunately, there’s a solution for long hot water wait times: an on-demand hot water recirculation pump. Typically button-activated (though motion sensor models are also available), this device reduces hot water wait times from minutes to a few seconds. It does this by sending standing water in the hot water line back to the water heater (which would otherwise be lost down the drain) while at the same time drawing hot water directly from the heater to the fixture in use. What’s more, it saves thousands of gallons each year, which, besides being better for the environment, can significantly decrease your water bill.
Running out of hot water
The only thing worse than waiting a long time for hot water is not having enough of it—a common occurrence for large households. If this is the case for your home, consider installing a tankless water heater. Unlike a conventional water heater, which only provides as much hot water as its tank holds, a tankless model heats water to the point of use and can continue doing so as long as necessary. In this way, a tankless water heater provides virtually endless hot water, so you can say goodbye to those dreaded cold showers.
High water bills
If your home’s water bill seems immoderately high for your usage, it could mean a couple of things. The simplest explanation is that your home’s water fixtures aren’t very efficient. If you aren’t using low-flow faucet aerators, showerheads and toilets or water-efficient appliances, making the appropriate upgrades should be your first move. However, if your fixtures and appliances are all up-to-date, there may be another issue at play.
One possibility is that there’s a hidden leak inside or underneath your home. Believe it or not, a single unseen leak can waste anywhere from 100 to 1,000 gallons of water per day, depending on its size and scope. Fortunately, while you may not be able to see a hidden leak, there’s still a way to test for it: checking your water meter.
To check your water meter, you’ll first need to turn off any water-consuming fixtures and devices in your home. This includes everything from faucets to your refrigerator’s ice maker. Once you’ve done this, go out to your water meter (usually located at the sidewalk) and use a screwdriver or comparable tool to remove the lid. Look inside for the red dial. If all of your water fixtures are off, the dial shouldn’t be moving, so if you see movement, you likely have a leak or other hidden source of water loss.Read moreRead less