Pipe Down! What to Do About Noisy Water Pipes

Pipe Down! What to Do About Noisy Water Pipes

You expect to hear a rush of water when you turn on your washing machine or flush your toilet. What you don’t expect is a banging, clanging or gurgling sound coming from your water pipes.

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Here’s what’s causing the wretched noise — and how to fix it.

Why Are My Water Pipes…

Your plumbing system is an intricate maze of pipes, drains and valves, all of which work together to give you the comforts of modern plumbing on demand. When something goes wrong, you typically find out quickly with signs like leaks, low water pressure or noisy pipes. Often, the type of noise you’re hearing indicates what’s wrong with your plumbing.

Banging

Does it sound like someone’s hitting your pipes with a hammer every time you run water? The issue could be a phenomenon called water hammer, which happens when a water valve closes suddenly. You’ll often hear it when your washing machine stops filling, for example. The momentum and pressure from the water flowing toward the valve create the shockwave that causes the banging noise when the valve closes suddenly. It might not seem like a big deal, but water hammer can cause damage to your pipes, including leaks and joint damage.

One way to ease water hammer is by installing water hammer arrestors. Your plumber can install them near major valves to help cushion the shock of the water when it suddenly stops or changes direction. You might also need to reduce the water pressure coming into your home with the pressure-reducing valve.

Gurgling

Gurgling sounds typically come from drainpipes. This sound happens when the water can’t drain properly, usually when there’s a clog in the water pipes. Drain clogs often happen due to hair, grease, soap scum or objects that fall down the drain. They can happen suddenly or build up slowly over time.

You can sometimes clear a clogged drainpipe with a plunger to help force the clog through the pipe. A plumbing snake or an auger can also help break up tough clogs. A common plumbing myth is that chemical drain cleaners are safe and effective, but they often don’t work and contain harsh chemicals that can hurt you and your plumbing. If you can’t remove the clog with a plunger or snake, it’s best to call a plumber to help.

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Rattling

Water travels through your pipes with lots of pressure, so the pipes are bound to move a little. Pipes should be secured well to keep them from moving too much when water runs through them. If they’re not properly fastened or the fasteners come loose, you might hear them rattling when you run water.

Resecuring the pipes can cut down on the rattling noise and prevent damage to the joints of the water pipes. However, many pipes run behind walls where you can’t easily access them. A plumber can help determine if loose fasteners are the cause of the rattling and resecure them if necessary.

Humming

If your pipes sound like they’re humming, it’s likely a water pressure issue. When the water pressure is high, it can cause the water pipes to vibrate and create a humming sound. High water pressure is more common if you have a well for your water, but it can happen with municipal water as well. High water pressure can damage your plumbing and cause leaks.

If you have a well, check the pressure to ensure it’s below 55 pounds per square inch. A plumber can test the pressure for you and help adjust the issue if you’re not sure how to do it yourself. If you’re connected to the municipal water source, your home likely has a pressure-reducing valve near where the water enters your home. You can adjust the screw in the valve to decrease the pressure, but be careful not to lower it too much.

Squeaking

Squeaking or squealing is another common sound you’ll hear in your water pipes. This often happens if small components within the plumbing, such as washers or aerators, become loose, dirty or damaged. When this is the cause, the squeaking sound is usually confined to a certain fixture or area of plumbing. Replaced or repairing the part should solve the noise.

If you can hear the squealing sound everywhere in your home, it could be an issue with water pressure. Buildup in the pipes narrows the space for the water, which can cause squealing as the water tries to squeeze through the pipes. Wear and tear on the plumbing system can also cause whistling or squeaking. These situations typically require a professional plumber to diagnose and repair.

How Much Does Sanitary Sewer Line Maintenance Cost?

How Much Does Sanitary Sewer Line Maintenance Cost?

Per the quote popularly attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Conversely, when it comes to your sanitary sewer, yuck is what happens when disregard meets eventuality. (See what we did there?) While there’s no guarantee against a sewer leak on your property, another old adage — this one courtesy of American philosopher Benjamin Franklin — states that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Again, in sanitary sewer terms, swap out “prevention” with “maintenance,” and “pound of cure” with “untold quantities of raw sewage not leaking into your home or yard.”

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As opposed to your water service line, which carries fresh water to your house, and storm sewer, which channels rainwater away from your house, your sanitary sewer rids your household of all that nastiness produced by the members of your household when they shower, brush their teeth, wash the dishes and, perhaps most pointedly, flush the toilet. As defined by Michigan State University: “The sanitary sewer is a system of underground pipes that carries sewage from bathrooms, sinks, kitchens, and other plumbing components to a wastewater treatment plant where it is filtered, treated and discharged.”

If proper maintenance isn’t performed over time, these underground pipes can rupture and leak. Even if you keep your line well-maintained, ground shifting, pipe separations, cracks and root infiltrations can cause problems. But keeping up with recommended sewer-line maintenance intervals helps ensure the odds are ever in your favor, per Seneca and Franklin … and that YA book series.

How Often Should Sewer Lines Be Serviced?

Homeowners should have their sewer pipes serviced at least every few years, and for large households with several residents creating a lot of sewage waste, at least every two years. This will ensure your sanitary sewer line remains free of gradual clogs and potential backups from debris buildup.

“Performing routine inspection and cleaning is the best way to keep a sewer or storm system working properly,” states Wisconsin-based trade publication Municipal Sewer & Water magazine. “Sewer systems around the world vary in many details, including the type of material for the pipe, shape, size and location. Regardless of these variables, sewer systems must be routinely cleaned to ensure safe, consistent movement of the material.”

According to the magazine, sewer cleaners use high-pressure water jetting and a high-flow vacuum force to scour pipes clean and vacuum up the material that causes would-be blockages. More severe clogs could necessitate rodding, according to the village of Glenview, Ill., “done by inserting a cutting tool into the sewer to cut away roots or blockages along the inside of the pipe.” Before committing to any work, however, have a sewer camera inspection performed to better determine the scope of work needed.

We at Service Line Warranties of America advocate for homeowners to do their own maintenance and repairs wherever they are willing, able and confident to do so, but this isn’t the type of job the vast majority of people can handle themselves without proper training, expertise, equipment and safety precautions. That means you’re going to want to have at least an idea of how much a repair job is likely to cost you before you start making calls to professional sewer contractors.

The good news: Maintenance (i.e., pipe cleaning and clog prevention) on average runs between one-tenth and a quarter of the price of a full repair or pipe replacement costs.

What’s This Gonna Cost Me?

To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for sanitary sewer line maintenance, Service Line Warranties of America has calculated the average costs — both nationally and state by state — for comparison. In order to determine what’s wrong with your system, you’ll have to call someone out to diagnose the problem, which comes with its own cost. We’ve calculated that average, as well.

Below, you’ll find the average costs for sanitary sewer line maintenance in your state. All figures are based on aggregated HomeServe data reported by our network of thousands of contractors across the nation. Where insufficient data was available to determine a verifiable average, we’ve noted so.

(At the time of publication, pandemic-precipitated materials shortages were impacting home maintenance, repair and construction sectors across the board; price fluctuations caused by those supply-chain issues are not necessarily reflected here.)

Nationwide

  • Diagnosis: $83 (CAD 106)
  • Maintenance: $408 (CAD 520)

State by State

1. Alabama

  • Diagnosis: $85 (CAD 108)
  • Maintenance: $467 (CAD 595)

2. Alaska

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Maintenance: Insufficient data

3. Arizona

  • Diagnosis: $75 (CAD 96)
  • Maintenance: $324 (CAD 413)

4. Arkansas

  • Diagnosis: $77 (CAD 98)
  • Maintenance: $398 (CAD 507)

5. California

  • Diagnosis: $67 (CAD 85)
  • Maintenance: $450 (CAD 574)

6. Colorado

  • Diagnosis: $99 (CAD 126)
  • Maintenance: $455 (CAD 580)

7. Connecticut

  • Diagnosis: $69 (CAD 88)
  • Maintenance: $698 (CAD 890)

8. Delaware

  • Diagnosis: $69 (CAD 88)
  • Maintenance: $443 (CAD 565)

9. District of Columbia

  • Diagnosis: $80 (CAD 102)
  • Maintenance: $542 (CAD 691)

10. Florida

  • Diagnosis: $103 (CAD 131)
  • Maintenance: $496 (CAD 632)

11. Georgia

  • Diagnosis: $97 (CAD 124)
  • Maintenance: $378 (CAD 482)

12. Hawaii

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Maintenance: Insufficient data

13. Idaho

  • Diagnosis: $66 (CAD 84)
  • Maintenance: $421 (CAD 537)

14. Illinois

  • Diagnosis: $71 (CAD 91)
  • Maintenance: $429 (CAD 547)

15. Indiana

  • Diagnosis: $77 (CAD 98)
  • Maintenance: $372 (CAD 474)

16. Iowa

  • Diagnosis: $87 (CAD 111)
  • Maintenance: $605 (CAD 771)

17. Kansas

  • Diagnosis: $85 (CAD 108)
  • Maintenance: $340 (CAD 433)

18. Kentucky

  • Diagnosis: $85 (CAD 108)
  • Maintenance: $363 (CAD 463)

19. Louisiana

  • Diagnosis: $84 (CAD 107)
  • Maintenance: $373 (CAD 475)

20. Maine

  • Diagnosis: $95 (CAD 121)
  • Maintenance: $413 (CAD 526)

21. Maryland

  • Diagnosis: $87 (CAD 111)
  • Maintenance: $544 (CAD 694)

22. Massachusetts

  • Diagnosis: $88 (CAD 112)
  • Maintenance: $406 (CAD 518)

23. Michigan

  • Diagnosis: $106 (CAD 135)
  • Maintenance: $317 (CAD 404)

24. Minnesota

  • Diagnosis: $99 (CAD 126)
  • Maintenance: $435 (CAD 555)

25. Mississippi

  • Diagnosis: $90 (CAD 115)
  • Maintenance: $397 (CAD 506)

26. Missouri

  • Diagnosis: $85 (CAD 108)
  • Maintenance: $331 (CAD 422)

27. Montana

  • Diagnosis: $102 (CAD 130)
  • Maintenance: $443 (CAD 565)

28. Nebraska

  • Diagnosis: $70 (CAD 89)
  • Maintenance: $441 (CAD 562)

29. Nevada

  • Diagnosis: $69 (CAD 88)
  • Maintenance: $391 (CAD 499)

30. New Hampshire

  • Diagnosis: $88 (CAD 112)
  • Maintenance: $812 (CAD 1,035)

31. New Jersey

  • Diagnosis: $74 (CAD 94)
  • Maintenance: $365 (CAD 466)

32. New Mexico

  • Diagnosis: $112 (CAD 143)
  • Maintenance: $296 (CAD 377)

33. New York

  • Diagnosis: $91 (CAD 116)
  • Maintenance: $390 (CAD 497)

34. North Carolina

  • Diagnosis: $98 (CAD 125)
  • Maintenance: $406 (CAD 518)

35. North Dakota

  • Diagnosis: $88 (CAD 112)
  • Maintenance: $495 (CAD 631)

36. Ohio

  • Diagnosis: $88 (CAD 112)
  • Maintenance: $420 (CAD 536)

37. Oklahoma

  • Diagnosis: $89 (CAD 114)
  • Maintenance: $620 (CAD 791)

38. Oregon

  • Diagnosis: $106 (CAD 135)
  • Maintenance: $421 (CAD 537)

39. Pennsylvania

  • Diagnosis: $78 (CAD 99)
  • Maintenance: $346 (CAD 441)

40. Rhode Island

  • Diagnosis: $103 (CAD 131)
  • Maintenance: $316 (CAD 403)

41. South Carolina

  • Diagnosis: $81 (CAD 103)
  • Maintenance: $307 (CAD 392)

42. South Dakota

  • Diagnosis: $92 (CAD 117)
  • Maintenance: $431 (CAD 550)

43. Tennessee

  • Diagnosis: $85 (CAD 108)
  • Maintenance: $445 (CAD 568)

44. Texas

  • Diagnosis: $82 (CAD 105)
  • Maintenance: $345 (CAD 440)

45. Utah

  • Diagnosis: $64 (CAD 82)
  • Maintenance: $466 (CAD 594)

46. Vermont

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Maintenance: Insufficient data

47. Virginia

  • Diagnosis: $83 (CAD 106)
  • Maintenance: $330 (CAD 421)

48. Washington

  • Diagnosis: $97 (CAD 124)
  • Maintenance: $558 (CAD 712)

49. West Virginia

  • Diagnosis: $80 (CAD 102)
  • Maintenance: $391 (CAD 499)

50. Wisconsin

  • Diagnosis: $62 (CAD 79)
  • Maintenance: $372 (CAD 474)

51. Wyoming

  • Diagnosis: $82 (CAD 105)
  • Maintenance: $531 (CAD 677)
Weird Sound Coming From the Dishwasher? How to Diagnose Dishwasher Noises

Weird Sound Coming From the Dishwasher? How to Diagnose Dishwasher Noises

Most dishwashers make some noise during operation, but unusual dishwasher noises could be a cause for concern.

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Fortunately, you can often fix a noisy dishwasher yourself with the right knowledge.

Reasons Your Dishwasher Is Making Noise

Dishwashers usually make hissing or sloshing sounds as the water pumps through the inlet and jets. A gentle humming sound from the motor is also nothing to worry about.

However, new or unusual sounds like thumping or grinding warrant investigation. The type of dishwasher noise you hear can help you figure out what the issue is.

Buzzing

A low buzzing sound from your dishwasher can be normal as the water goes down the drain. On the other hand, a new or very loud buzzing sound could be a sign that something’s wrong with the wash pump or drain pump.

A broken or faulty wash pump can reduce water flow through your dishwasher, and you may notice that your dishes aren’t properly clean. Drain pump problems often prevent water from draining, so you might see pooled water at the bottom of the machine.

Grinding

A dishwasher making a grinding noise can be a sign that there’s something stuck in the chopper blade. The chopper blade cuts up solid debris from your crockery before it reaches the drain to prevent clogged pipes. A chopper blade can usually handle soft debris, but harder items like popcorn kernels can get stuck in the mechanism.

Faulty pumps sometimes make a grinding sound when the bearings start going bad. This sound usually gets worse the longer you leave it.

Squealing

A squealing or droning sound is often due to worn-out bearings inside the wash pump or drain pump. The bearings support the pump’s rotor and allow it to turn correctly. Rusty or damaged bearings stop the rotor from rotating properly, which can be noisy.

Thumping

Thumping noises from your dishwasher can be annoying, but they’re not usually anything to worry about. Water flowing through the drain hose can make it vibrate, potentially causing it to knock against nearby surfaces.

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What Does It Sound Like if Something’s Wrong With the Circulator Pump?

Broken or faulty circulator pumps usually make a loud squealing or grinding sound. This sound is usually due to worn or rusty bearings. You can’t replace the bearings individually, so you’ll need to replace the entire circulator pump assembly to solve the problem.

What Does It Sound Like If There’s a Problem With the Drain Pump?

Malfunctioning drain pumps often make a loud buzzing sound, usually when the bearings start to wear out. This noise often progresses to a squealing noise as the problem worsens. The only fix for this problem is to replace the drain pump.

How Do I Stop My Dishwasher From Making Noise?

There are several things you can try to stop a dishwasher from making noise before you call a professional.

Move the Dishwasher

First, try moving the dishwasher away from the surrounding wall or cabinets in case the sounds are due to vibrations. In some cases, this can stop annoying buzzing or thumping sounds. You could also try fixing the dishwasher wall or cabinets to prevent it from vibrating so loudly, or pad it with acoustic pads and blankets.

Clean the Chopper Blade

Try removing any debris stuck in the chopper blade if you hear a grinding sound. You can access the blade by taking the lower spray arm off. Inspect the blades and replace them if they’re damaged. You can stop the problem from recurring by rinsing your plates and bowls thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher and avoiding putting solid food items in the dishwasher.

Replace the Pump

You may need to replace the pump and motor assemblies if you hear a buzzing or squealing sound. Substandard cleaning suggests that you need to replace the wash pump, while pooled water indicates a faulty drain pump. The dishwasher often won’t work at all if you have a defective circulation pump.

Call a Pro

Consider calling a professional technician to diagnose and fix the fault if none of the above tips work. A technician can also advise you about how to prevent the causes of dishwasher noise in the future. It may be more cost-effective to replace your dishwasher if it’s very old or keeps breaking down.

How Much Water Do Dishwashers Use?

How Much Water Do Dishwashers Use?

How much water does a dishwasher use? It’s something you might wonder about, especially when your water bill arrives.

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You might be surprised how much water the average dishwasher uses and how it compares to washing your dishes by hand.

How Much Water Does a Typical Dishwasher Cycle Use?

The amount of water used per cycle can vary depending on the efficiency of your machine and its age.

In the U.S., if your dishwasher was manufactured after May 30, 2013, it has to meet federal limits that mandate no more than 5 gallons of water used per cycle for a standard-sized appliance. Compact dishwashers made in the same timeframe can use no more than 3.5 gallons. If you choose an Energy Star-rated dishwasher, it can only use a maximum of 3.5 gallons per cycle for a standard-size model or 3.1 gallons per cycle for a compact model. Older dishwashers use a lot more water — often 10 to 15 gallons per cycle.

Is It More Efficient to Handwash Dishes?

The alternative to using an automatic dishwasher is washing your dishes by hand. How much water does a dishwasher use compared to handwashing dishes? Surprisingly, a dishwasher usually uses less water. When you handwash dishes, you might use anywhere from 9 to 27 gallons, depending on how many dishes you wash and your efficiency when washing and rinsing them.

If you have a new dishwasher — especially an Energy Star-rated model — using the dishwasher is typically more efficient when it comes to water usage. However, an older model will use more water and make the process less efficient. The winner in hand versus machine washing can also depend on your habits when you wash dishes by hand.

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How to Wash Dishes More Efficiently

Whether you wash your dishes by hand or in a dishwasher, you can make the process more efficient.

  • Wait for a full load. If you use a dishwasher, only run it when the machine is full. If you do multiple smaller loads throughout the day, you’ll use more water overall. This can also be true of handwashing dishes. If you fill the sink to wash a few dishes, you’ll waste more water than you would if you wanted until you had lots of dishes and washed them all at once.
  • Skip pre-rinsing: When you pre-rinse your dishes for the dishwasher, you’ll add to your water consumption. You typically just need to scrape the food on the dishes before putting them in the machine instead of rinsing.
  • Fix issues: If you’re having issues with your dishwasher, have them fixed immediately to keep the appliance efficient and working properly to get dishes clean with one cycle.
  • Upgrade your dishwasher. If you have an old model, consider installing a new dishwasher that’s more efficient.
  • Install an aerator. An aerator installed on your kitchen faucet cuts down on how much water comes out of the faucet without reducing the effectiveness of the flow.
  • Reduce your suds. Only add enough dish soap to create sufficient suds for handwashing. More bubbles mean more rinsing and higher water consumption.
  • Start with a little water. Instead of filling your sink to the top to handwash, start with just an inch or so in the bottom. As you wash smaller dish items, rinse them with hot water directly into the sink to fill it gradually. When you get to larger items, the sink will have more water in it.
  • Wait to turn on the water. Avoid turning on the faucet until you’re done scrubbing a dish and are ready to rinse.
Why Do My Drains Smell?

Why Do My Drains Smell?

Walking into your kitchen to find a bad smell wafting from the drain is not pleasant. It may also leave you worrying about the cause of the odor.

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There can be many causes of smelly drains. Understanding the reason behind your drain’s smell is the first step to clearing the air.

Why Does My Drain Smell?

Some of the most common problems are:

Clogged Drain

If something is caught in a drain and stops water from flowing, this blockage can begin to rot and cause a foul odor.

Dry P-Trap

Person wearing rubber gloves uses an adjustable wrench on a drain pipe underneath a sink.

P-traps are under every sink in your home. They trap debris before it goes down the drain and the water pooled in them blocks sewer gas. If a P-trap gets dry, odors from the trapped debris can be released, and sewer gas may also rise up the drain.

Venting Problems

Your drainpipes are connected to venting pipes that lead to your roof. These pipes bring fresh air in and allow bad odors to escape. If a venting pipe is clogged from outside debris, such as leaves or a bird’s nest, the bad smells are forced back down into your home and out your drains.

Mold or Mildew

Moist environments are the perfect environment for mold and mildew to form. If mold grows in your drains, it can lead to bad smells. This is often a problem with drains that aren’t used regularly.

Why Does My Drain Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

A rotten egg smell is caused by hydrogen sulfide. This is one of the compounds found in sewage but can also be caused by a bacteria build-up. Although the smell can be overwhelming, hydrogen sulfide itself isn’t a health risk. However, it can indicate a more serious problem with the sewage line, so it’s important to diagnose the problem.

First, check if the problem is with your water by filling a glass with water from your sink and taking it outside to smell. If your water smells like rotten eggs, contact a plumber to investigate the problem because it could be a problem with your hot water tank, water supply or plumbing.

If your kitchen sink smells like rotten eggs, it’s most likely due to grease or fat stuck in the drain. The bacteria that grow on these substances usually have this smell. If the hydrogen sulfide smell is in your bathroom, it’s more likely to be caused by a clog or dry P-trap. There are actions you can take to fix these problems, but if the smell persists, it’s time to call a plumber.

Why Does My Kitchen Drain Smell?

media/?Closeup overview of stainless steel sink drain shows where the circular sink flange inserts into the sink basin.

HomeServe photo by Matt Schmitz

The most common cause of kitchen drain odors is rotting food. Food can stick to the sides of your drain or get caught in the garbage disposal, and even small amounts can rot and cause a bad odor.

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Why Does My Shower or Bath Drain Smell?

Hair, soap and other substances build up in shower drains and become a breeding ground for bacteria, causing a smell. Another common cause of bad smells in bathrooms is a dry P-trap, especially in guest bathrooms that are rarely used.

How Do You Fix Drain Smells?

The first step to take is always flushing your drain with boiling water. If the problem is a dry P-trap, this will fill it again. If the issue is debris or a blockage, boiling water can help move it.

If this doesn’t work, try pouring 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Let this sit for 10 minutes, then flush with boiling water. This can help dissolve a blockage and scrub away residue stuck to the sides of drains.

What Do You Do If You Smell Sewer Gas From a Drain?

If you’ve tried the above steps and the sewage smell remains, try doing a full clean of your sink to remove the blockage. If you can safely access your venting pipe, you may also want to check for blockages there. If this doesn’t work, it might be time to call in a professional.

How Do You Keep Drains From Smelling in the First Place?

If you want to stop the problem before it starts, make sure you regularly flush water down any drains that If you want to stop the problem before it starts, make sure you regularly flush water down any drains that aren’t used regularly. You should also be careful of what goes down your drains. Never pour fat or grease down your sink, and always put food waste in the trash or a compost heap. In the bathroom, use a mesh screen or similar device to catch hair before it goes down the drain. Lastly, never flush anything down the toilet besides toilet paper and human waste.

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

Water Softener Installation Costs at a Glance

  • Average installation cost: $1,500 (CAD $1,880)
  • Installation price range: $500-$6,000 (CAD 630-CAD 7,500)
  • Replacement cost: $700-$930 (CAD 880- CAD 1,200)
  • Average labor cost: $100-$500 (CAD 125- CAD 630)
  • Monthly salt cost: $2-$15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19)

Maybe you have white calcium built up on your shower heads and around the drains. Perhaps you find that your skin is itchy and your hair is dry. These may be indicators that you have hard water, which can harm your appliances in the long run.

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It may be time to consider investing in a water softener system. Use this guide to get an idea of how much that will cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Water Softener?

The average cost of installing a new water softener system is $1,500 (CAD 1,880).

Prices for a water softener installation for the average home typically range from $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The main factor of what it will cost is the size of the system you purchase. The average price for water softener installation in a larger home is $2,500 to $10,000 (CAD 3,100 to CAD 12,500).  If you are handy, you may be able to cut costs by installing it yourself.

A water softener needs to be replenished with sea salt. The monthly cost of softener salt is $2 to $15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19).

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Water Softener?

Most water softeners typically last around 10 to 15 years — provided they’re well maintained. When it comes time to replace your unit, you can expect an average cost between $700 and $930 (CAD 880 and CAD 1,200). This cost includes installation. Modern water softener systems may have certain parts tied to the sewer system. Because of this, you may need a permit and a professional who can install these systems to code.

What Are the Labor Costs Involved?

The average cost of installing a water softener is $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The labor aspect of this average is $100 to $500 (CAD 125 to CAD 630). The labor cost for installing a water softener depends on a few factors:

  • The type and size purchased
  • How accessible the installation area is
  • If it requires extra piping materials or a drain

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What Size Water Softener Do I Need?

1. Determine the Hardness of the Water

One of the first things you should do to determine if you need to get a water filtration system is test your water hardness. The hardness of your water is based on what minerals are present in it. You can contact your water company, hire a professional lab or purchase a testing kit. The results are measured by grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per liter (mgL). The range for hard water is 7 to 11 gpg or 121 to 180 mgL.

2. Determine Your Water Consumption

Next, you need to determine the amount of water your household uses. Most household members use 80 to 100 gallons (300 to 400 liters) of water per day. Multiply your daily average by the number of people in your home. This number is your average daily consumption. For example, if you use 80 gallons (300 liters) per day and have three people in your home, your average daily consumption would be 240 gallons (900 liters).

3. Calculate Grains Removed

Calculate how many grains the system would need to remove weekly.  Multiply the gpg of your water by your household daily consumption. If your water has a hardness of 9 gpg, and the daily usage is 240 gallons (900 liters), the number of grains that need to be removed each day is 2,160. Multiply your daily number by 7. This example has a weekly average of 15,120 GR.

4. Determine Water Softener Size

Water softener sizes are typically indicated by grains to be removed weekly. The most common sizes for water softeners start at 24,000 GR and go up to 64,000 GR. When choosing a size, allow for water use fluctuations in different seasons. For the household of 3 that needs 15,120 grains to be removed, a 24,000 GR softener would be suitable.

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

Water Softener Installation Costs at a Glance

  • Average installation cost: $1,500 (CAD $1,880)
  • Installation price range: $500-$6,000 (CAD 630-CAD 7,500)
  • Replacement cost: $700-$930 (CAD 880- CAD 1,200)
  • Average labor cost: $100-$500 (CAD 125- CAD 630)
  • Monthly salt cost: $2-$15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19)

Maybe you have white calcium built up on your shower heads and around the drains. Perhaps you find that your skin is itchy and your hair is dry. These may be indicators that you have hard water, which can harm your appliances in the long run.

This May Also Interest You: Have Hard Water? Here’s How to Know — and How to Treat It

It may be time to consider investing in a water softener system. Use this guide to get an idea of how much that will cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Water Softener?

The average cost of installing a new water softener system is $1,500 (CAD 1,880).

Prices for a water softener installation for the average home typically range from $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The main factor of what it will cost is the size of the system you purchase. The average price for water softener installation in a larger home is $2,500 to $10,000 (CAD 3,100 to CAD 12,500).  If you are handy, you may be able to cut costs by installing it yourself.

A water softener needs to be replenished with sea salt. The monthly cost of softener salt is $2 to $15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19).

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Water Softener?

Most water softeners typically last around 10 to 15 years — provided they’re well maintained. When it comes time to replace your unit, you can expect an average cost between $700 and $930 (CAD 880 and CAD 1,200). This cost includes installation. Modern water softener systems may have certain parts tied to the sewer system. Because of this, you may need a permit and a professional who can install these systems to code.

What Are the Labor Costs Involved?

The average cost of installing a water softener is $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The labor aspect of this average is $100 to $500 (CAD 125 to CAD 630). The labor cost for installing a water softener depends on a few factors:

  • The type and size purchased
  • How accessible the installation area is
  • If it requires extra piping materials or a drain

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What Size Water Softener Do I Need?

1. Determine the Hardness of the Water

One of the first things you should do to determine if you need to get a water filtration system is test your water hardness. The hardness of your water is based on what minerals are present in it. You can contact your water company, hire a professional lab or purchase a testing kit. The results are measured by grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per liter (mgL). The range for hard water is 7 to 11 gpg or 121 to 180 mgL.

2. Determine Your Water Consumption

Next, you need to determine the amount of water your household uses. Most household members use 80 to 100 gallons (300 to 400 liters) of water per day. Multiply your daily average by the number of people in your home. This number is your average daily consumption. For example, if you use 80 gallons (300 liters) per day and have three people in your home, your average daily consumption would be 240 gallons (900 liters).

3. Calculate Grains Removed

Calculate how many grains the system would need to remove weekly.  Multiply the gpg of your water by your household daily consumption. If your water has a hardness of 9 gpg, and the daily usage is 240 gallons (900 liters), the number of grains that need to be removed each day is 2,160. Multiply your daily number by 7. This example has a weekly average of 15,120 GR.

4. Determine Water Softener Size

Water softener sizes are typically indicated by grains to be removed weekly. The most common sizes for water softeners start at 24,000 GR and go up to 64,000 GR. When choosing a size, allow for water use fluctuations in different seasons. For the household of 3 that needs 15,120 grains to be removed, a 24,000 GR softener would be suitable.

9 Common Plumbing Myths — Busted

9 Common Plumbing Myths — Busted

From the outside, your plumbing system might seem simple, but go a bit deeper, and you’ll find an intricate network of pipes and fixtures that can all have major issues. Because plumbing systems are often mysterious to homeowners, it’s no wonder certain myths have cropped up about their inner workings.

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Acting on common plumbing myths can make plumbing problems worse or introduce new issues that can damage fixtures, cause water damage or require expensive professional repairs. These are some of the biggest plumbing myths going around. Here’s how to avoid unintentionally damaging your plumbing system.

Steer Clear of These Plumbing Myths

These plumbing “tips” are often passed down through generations. Kids see their parents putting a brick in the toilet tank or pouring drain cleaner down the sink to clear clogs and assume it’s the best way to handle plumbing issues. The following plumbing myths are some of the most common ones people share.

1. Drain Cleaners Are Safe and Effective

It’s easy to assume that drain-cleaning products are safe and effective if they’re sold in stores, but they can actually be very dangerous. The harsh ingredients used in these drain openers are often damaging and can cause your pipes to deteriorate. If you breathe them in, splash them on your skin or get them in your eyes, they can cause serious injuries.

Drain cleaners don’t always work all that well, either. That might lead you to try other methods, such as additional drain-cleaning products, which can cause a serious chemical reaction if combined. If you use a plunger after putting drain opener in your drain, the plunger could splash the product on you. Instead, it’s best to try plungers and augers initially without the addition of drain-opening products.

2. Flushable Wipes Are Flushable

Despite the name, flushable wipes aren’t really safe to flush. Toilet paper is designed to break down, so it goes down the drain when you flush your toilet and doesn’t easily clog up the sewer or septic system. However, flushable wipes don’t disintegrate as toilet paper does, so they can often clog up the system. It might flush down your toilet, but it can create deeper issues in your system. Toilet paper and human waste are the only things you should flush.

3. Minor Leaks Are Nothing to Worry About

If your sink only has a minor drip, you might not think much of it. However, every drip adds up and can lead to gallons of wasted water. The leaky faucet will likely get worse, which can cause more damage and even more wasted water. Handling a plumbing leak as soon as you notice it prevents the issue from getting worse.

4. Lemon Peels Are Good for Garbage Disposals

There’s a good chance someone has told you to put lemon peels down your garbage disposal to freshen it up. Citrus peels can damage the disposal. Even though the chopped-up lemons might temporarily freshen your kitchen, they can make the blades dull. The citric acid can also cause the metal blades to corrode, and the peels can clog your garbage disposal. Instead, use a cleaner designed for garbage disposals, and always disconnect the power if you’re wiping the blades or other garbage disposal components.

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5. If It Goes Down the Drain, There’s Nothing to Worry About

For the most part, if your toilets flush and the drains drain well, your plumbing should be working fine. However, sometimes clogs can build up inside the pipes even when water is still flowing. Some clogs start small and gradually build up as more gunk goes down the drains, which means the problem could be growing in the pipes without you realizing it. If you notice the water starts to take longer to drain or you notice other unusual things, having your drains cleaned could help you avoid a major clog or backup.

6. Pipes Only Freeze If the Heat Is Off

You might think the only way your pipes can freeze is if you lose power or your furnace stops working. However, some pipes can freeze even if your heat is working fine. Pipes that run through exterior walls without much insulation or in areas like basements and attics that aren’t insulated can freeze, even if your furnace is still running. Freezing can often lead to a burst pipe, which can cause serious water damage. Monitor your pipes carefully in freezing weather. Leaving cabinet doors under sinks open and insulating pipes in uninsulated areas can minimize the risk of freezing.

7. Putting a Brick in the Toilet Tank Will Save Money

A brick in the toilet tank is supposed to save you money by using less water, but it can cause toilet issues. Your toilet tank needs a certain amount of water in it to flush the toilet properly. The brick can make the flushing worse by decreasing how much water the toilet has. The brick could break apart and cause issues inside your toilet.

8. Plumbing Is Easy to Fix Yourself

All homes eventually need plumbing repairs. It’s tempting to tackle them yourself to save money, but many repairs are better left to professional plumbers. DIY repairs could lead to bigger problems that cost a lot more to fix. Before trying to fix a plumbing issue yourself, ensure you’re fully equipped to make the repair.

9. Any Plumber Can Handle Your Issues

Some people believe that all plumbers are the same and can handle all plumbing issues. Most states require plumbers to be licensed, but they don’t all have the same credentials or training. Not all plumbers are equally reliable or knowledgeable on plumbing issues, so it’s important to check reviews and ratings to look for red flags.

If you have a very specific issue, it’s a good idea to find a plumber with extensive experience in that issue. For example, if your tankless water heater isn’t working properly, ensure you find a plumber who has worked on a lot of tankless water heaters and not just traditional tank types.

How Your Home’s Plumbing System Works

How Your Home’s Plumbing System Works

Our plumbing system is an essential part of your home, but many homeowners don’t understand how it works.

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Knowing what the different plumbing system components do and how they function can help you diagnose and manage plumbing problems.

How Does a Plumbing System Work?

Your plumbing system consists of freshwater and wastewater subsystems. The freshwater subsystem pushes water through your pipes under enough pressure to supply upstairs fixtures. Meanwhile, the wastewater subsystem transports used water away from your home. Depending on your wastewater system, the water travels to a municipal sewer or a septic tank.

Plumbing systems also contain a water heater with a tank to store hot water and supply your fixtures. Alternatively, you may have a tankless system that heats water on demand.

How Does Fresh Water Enter Your Home?

Most American homes get their water supply from a public water supply system in their town or city. The entity responsible for the communal water supply uses powerful pumps to transport water from a well or body of water to a water tower, and the source depends on the natural geography of the area. Water suppliers then treat and filter the water to make it safe to drink.

Sometimes, the tower is located on high ground, allowing gravity to pull water along supply lines to people’s homes. Otherwise, the supplier pumps the water to supply local houses with water.

Some homeowners in remote communities have their own wells that supply their homes with fresh water. They may also have a tank as part of their plumbing system to store water so that it’s readily available.

How Does Fresh Water Flow to Fixtures Like Sinks and Showers?

After fresh water enters your home via a main water supply line, it’s pumped under pressure along supply pipes made from plastic, iron or copper. These pipes branch out to supply every fixture in your home, including toilets, faucets and showers. Some of the water supplies your water heater and travels along hot water supply pipes to your fixtures.

Pressure is essential for forcing water through your plumbing system. A pressurized system allows water to travel upward to supply upstairs taps and push around corners in your pipework.

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What Are the Major Parts of a Home Plumbing System?

Your home’s plumbing system has three major parts:

  • Pipes: Supply hot and cold fresh water to your fixtures
  • Fixtures: Allow access to hot and cold fresh water
  • Drains: Carry wastewater from your fixtures to the sewage system

Each part of your plumbing system requires proper installation and maintenance to keep everything working correctly. A professional plumber can advise you on how to care for your plumbing system.

What Are Plumbing Vents?

Plumbing vents, also known as vent stacks or plumbing air vents, control the airflow through your plumbing system. These vents are vertical pipes that attach to a drain line and allow waste gases to escape while supplying fresh air to your plumbing system.

Plumbing vents prevent a vacuum from forming inside your plumbing system, allowing water to flow freely to your fixtures. They also stop sewer gases from entering your home by carrying them to the main roof vent away from your home’s ventilation system.

How Is Wastewater Taken Out of the Home?

Unlike your freshwater system, your drainage system isn’t pressurized. When you flush the toilet or let the water run down the plughole, gravity transports it downward through the fixture drain. Fixture drainpipes usually have curved sections called traps that prevent waste gases from traveling back up the pipe and into your home.

Fixture drains connect to horizontal branch drain lines concealed in the walls. These horizontal lines have a slight downward angle to allow the water to flow into soil stacks, which are large vertical pipes that connect to the main drain. The main drain is usually located underneath your house.

The main drain line is angled downward to encourage wastewater and solid waste toward the municipal sewer main or septic field. The municipal sewer main is a communal line owned by your city or county that transports the sewage to a wastewater treatment plant. Some municipal sewer lines transport water using gravity alone, but others use pumps to push wastewater through the system.

If you live in a rural area where it would be too expensive or impractical to install a public sewer system, you may have a septic tank. These tanks are large concrete or steel containers installed underground in the yard. Sewage flows through the main drain line into the septic tank, where solids sink to the bottom to form sludge and floating waste rises to the top. This creates a layer of clear wastewater in the middle. As more water enters the tank, some of the existing water flows into perforated pipes in a drain field where it seeps into the ground.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bathtub Drain?

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bathtub Drain?

Bathtub Drain Replacement Costs at a Glance

  • Drain and parts: $100
  • Professional installation: $350

No one thinks about their bathtub drain. In fact, unless it’s clogged, you probably never do. But things happen. And sometimes your bathtub drain needs a little more care than a simple unclogging.

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If that’s the case, you’re probably left with two questions: Can you even replace the drain in a bathtub, and how much will that cost? We’ve got your answers.

Can You Replace the Drain in a Bathtub?

The good news is that, thankfully, a bathtub drain can be replaced. The process can be done either by a professional or as a do-it-yourself project. Usually, it’s a relatively straightforward process. Some drains can be easily replaced within a few minutes. Be aware, though, that others will require extensive plumbing work beyond that of a simple drain replacement. How involved the process is will likely be determined by the type of bathtub you have and the reasons you want or need to replace the drain.

Why Replace a Bathtub Drain?

There are many reasons people will need to replace the bathtub drain. It could be that you’ve tried every method you can think of to clear a clog and you’re still having issues. It might be that you’ve got a cast iron tub, and a drain that doesn’t work could lead to rust issues. Perhaps you have a fiberglass tub, and the drain is causing residue buildup. Any of these reasons — or a whole host of others — could lead you to want to replace your drain. Replacing your drain is also a step to take before going through the work required to replace the whole bathtub.

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What’s the Average Cost to Replace a Bathtub Drain?

Typically, the cost for the drain itself is somewhere around $100. However, you might be able to do it for less. The price of parts and labor associated with the cost to replace a bathtub drain vary based on a few factors. The two biggest will be the kind of bathtub you have and the type of work it needs. Free-standing tubs, for example, will require a completely different drain-replacement technique than a walk-in unit. Plus, if you’re just replacing the main drain interface of the tub, it will be much cheaper than if you need to hire a plumber to replace the bathtub P-trap.

If you go the DIY route, labor costs are zero, putting the total around $100 because you’re just paying for parts. Meanwhile, the cost to hire a professional to change out your bathtub drain will come in somewhere around $350. Keep in mind this price is just for the drain replacement, and it doesn’t include other bathtub drainpipe costs. The more the job extends into the plumbing beyond the drain area, the more it will cost.