How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bathroom Sink?

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bathroom Sink?

Bathroom Sink Replacement Costs at a Glance

  • Average total cost: $470-$700
  • Sink: $100-$250
  • Faucet: $50-$800
  • Tile countertop: $2-$75 per tile
  • Solid surface countertop: $75-$150 per square foot
  • Granite countertop: $75-$300 per square foot
  • Quartz countertop: $110-$250 per square foot
  • Labor cost: $20-$150 per hour

The bathroom sink is a high-traffic, functional fixture your family uses several times a day. Whether you’ve got kids regularly putting the porcelain through its paces or the sink in your master bath just doesn’t give the spa vibes you desire, replacing a bathroom sink might be a home improvement task for you.

This May Also Interest You: How to Replace or Install a Bathroom Faucet

Is bathroom sink installation something you want to tackle on your own, or should you hire a professional? Discover more about the cost to replace a bathroom sink below.

Reasons to Replace Your Bathroom Sink

People replace bathroom sinks for many reasons, but the “why” behind this small bathroom reno task can actually impact the cost of installation. Here are a few common reasons you might decide to replace a bathroom sink:

Damage

Perhaps the kids smashed it one too many times with hard toys and there’s a crack, or maybe time has worn away the protective glaze. Replacing the sink in this case can help reduce functionality issues or leaks.

Mold or Mildew

An ill-fitting sink or one that’s damaged could support mold or mildew growth. Tiny leaks, seeps or problems draining, for example, can spur such problems on. You’ll likely have to fix this problem before you can install a new sink, which may add to the total cost.

Upgrade Time

If you want a more functional faucet or bathroom vanity, you may wish to replace the bathroom sink. Or maybe you just think the existing sink is ugly. You’re tired of looking at an eyesore every time you brush your teeth, or you’ve redecorated the rest of the bathroom and it’s time for the sink to catch up.

Average Cost to Replace a Bathroom Sink

According to Porch.com, the average cost for replacing a sink runs from $470 to $700, including materials and labor. The Home Depot, for example, charges $200 to $350 to install a sink, though that doesn’t include the cost of the sink, faucet or any related plumbing work that might need to be done. The sink itself costs between $100 and $250 on average.

Can I Replace a Bathroom Sink Myself?

Replacing a bathroom sink isn’t a small home improvement task, but it can be a DIY job if you have the right tools and skills. You’ll need to be comfortable with detailed measuring and basic plumbing. If you want to replace the sink and vanity at the same time, you can get all-in-one kits cut for you to make the job easier.

If a plumbing issue is the reason why you want to replace the sink, you may want to consult a professional for assistance. They may need to make more changes than just the sink to resolve the issue. They can also let you know if sink repair is a good alternative to replacement.

How Long Does It Take to Change a Bathroom Sink?

If you’re just swapping out a sink for another or dropping a vanity and sink into place, the job usually takes less than four or five hours. Bigger sink replacement jobs can take a bit longer. It all comes down to how skilled you are, whether you run into unplanned issues and what you need modify to fit your needs. Need to cut out more space on a countertop? That’s going to add some time.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bathroom Countertop?

Obviously, if you want to replace the vanity top as well as the sink, that will cost you more money. According to HGTV, the type of countertop you choose can drastically change the cost.

Tile is often the cheapest, costing $2 to $75 per tile, depending on the material. Solid surface materials that look like stone can cost between $75 and $150 per square foot. Granite costs $75 to $300 per square foot. Manufactured quartz costs between $110 and $250 per square foot.

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clean bathroom sink and faucet

How Much Does a New Faucet Cost?

If you want to add a new faucet to your bathroom sink installation project, that will increase the total price. Faucets come in a wide range of styles and finishes, so you could be looking at an expense between $50 and $800 or more.

The cost of the faucet depends on the functionality, design, materials and designer. Many bathroom faucets come with common hardware for installation, but you may need to buy additional items to complete the process. This is especially true if you’re switching from a one-hole to a three-hole faucet or vice versa, as you may need to cut out or hide counter holes and run some different lines.

technicians

How Much Does a Plumber Charge to Replace a Bathroom Sink?

Plumbers usually charge by the hour, though some may have flat fees for specific types of work. Plumber costs can range from $20 to $150 per hour. You’ll also have to pay for any materials, like the sink and faucet.

If a sink installation job does take several hours, you may have to pay hundreds of dollars in addition to the cost of materials. If you require sink work on a weekend or holiday, the cost may be higher.

When You Should Call a Plumber

Dropping in a new sink is a DIY job many people are comfortable with. But if you need to rerun or adjust pipes, it might be time to call a plumber to avoid issues down the road. And if you do have a problem where water is rushing into areas where it’s not supposed to be, you will definitely want to call for professional help.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from Service Lines Warranties of America is important. Having a plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.

Can You Pour Cooking Grease Down the Drain? No. Here’s Why

Your kitchen sink drain is where unwanted liquids go — dirty dishwater, expired milk and that cup of coffee you made but forgot to drink. Cooking oils and liquid grease seem to fit into this category. However, dumping that stuff down the drain is a great way to get a greasy blockage in your pipes.

This May Also Interest You: Snake’s in a Drain! How to Unclog Your Sink With a Drain Snake

So, no. You really shouldn’t pour grease, oil or animal fat down any kind of drain, including your toilet. The reason why is a little gross, but you need to hear it …

What Happens If You Pour Grease Down the Drain?

When you finish cooking bacon, the grease in the pan is a liquid. Let it sit for a few hours at room temperature and it’ll harden. That’s exactly what happens in your pipes if you pour liquid grease down the drain or garbage disposal. But when it congeals in your pipes, it gums up the works.

At first, you may notice water drains from your sink slower than before. Soon, you may experience full backups. If you have a septic system, grease can cause all sorts of problems. All-Clear Septic & Wastewater Services of Massachusetts warns that, if you ignore fat buildup, eventually, your pipes may have to be dug up and replaced.

What If the Oil Is Liquid at Room Temperature?

Cooking oils will stay liquid no matter how long you let them sit out — but oil and water still don’t mix. According to Mike Wilson Plumbing of Virginia, liquid oils coat the inside of your pipes, creating a sticky trap for food scraps and an ideal environment for clogs.

What Else Shouldn’t Go Down the Drain?

A good rule of thumb is never to pour cooking oils or grease from cooked meat down the drain. But to avoid buildup, Hunker says you should avoid dumping these, too:

  • Salad dressing
  • Coconut oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cosmetic oils
  • Petroleum jelly

Can I Pour Grease Down the Drain With Dish Soap?

Dish soap is designed to break down the grease on your pots, pans and plates, but it’s not powerful enough to dissolve large amounts of oil. While it may help flush fatty deposits out of your own pipes, the grease is just pushed farther into the sewer system or your septic tank.

‘Fatbergs’

If your pipes are connected to a city sewer system, pouring grease down the drain can cause problems on a much larger scale. In the sewer, your hardened grease mixes with everyone else’s, forming an ever-growing, solid mass of fat. Indiscriminate flushing of non-flushable items — Q-tips, floss and even “flushable” wipes — clogs the sewers with materials that can’t be broken down. These catch on the globs of fat and combine to create “fatbergs” that can weigh several tons.

This has happened in several major cities around the world, including London and Detroit. (Before you click, be warned: These are pretty gross.) In Baltimore, a massive fatberg caused a million-gallon sewer overflow.

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How to Properly Dispose of Grease

Hopefully, the idea of a bus-size fat mass is enough to convince you that you shouldn’t pour grease down the drain. But you’ll still need to dispose of it somehow.

A little oil in the bottom of a pan can be wiped out with a paper towel. Let larger amounts of grease and butter cool off, then pour them into a disposable container to solidify. Pour cooled cooking oil back into the container it came in or another large jug. Make sure the lid is on tight before you throw it away.

What Can I Do If I Poured Grease Down the Drain?

Any oil, fat or grease you dump down the drain may contribute to these large accumulations in your city’s sewer system or deposits in your septic system — but there are a few things you can do to keep fat from building up in your pipes.

According to Mr. Rooter Plumbing, hot water will turn the grease back into a liquid so it can continue down your pipes. Pour a gallon of boiling water down the drain along with some dish soap. You may also want to run hot water from the faucet. Before you pour any boiling water, check whether your pipes are metal or PVC; PVC pipes could melt under extreme heat.

Some drain cleaners claim to break down greasy clogs, but using them too often isn’t good for your plumbing. Discover Plumbing and Rooter of California recommends a baking-soda-and-vinegar approach. Shake half a cup of baking soda into the drain, then pour an equal amount of white vinegar after it. The fizzing reaction will help dissolve the fat. After 10 minutes, flush it out with boiling water.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.

Never Flush These 11 Things Down Your Toilet

Never Flush These 11 Things Down Your Toilet

We all put things down our toilet that aren’t exactly supposed to be there — whether out of convenience or ignorance. But you should know that your habit of flushing cat litter or Q-tips might be harmful to both your house’s septic system and your city’s sewer system.

This May Also Interest You: How to Fix a Clogged Toilet

When you flush your toilet, the wastewater drains into your pipes, then into the city sewer system or your septic tank. Items that don’t belong in your pipes can create massive clogs, which could result in your septic system backing up into your home. In severe cases, New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection says trash can clog citywide sewer pipes and damage the equipment at wastewater treatment facilities.

Say it with us: “My septic system is not designed to handle anything other than human waste and toilet paper.”

In theory, that makes sense. But there are still so many things that seem flushable. These are some of the most commonly flushed items — and the reasons why you should keep them out of the toilet:

1. ‘Flushable’ Products

This one’s kind of a paradox: Almost everything labeled “flushable” shouldn’t be flushed. According to Templeton, Calif.’s Water Conservation Department, “flushable” only means that an item can be flushed without clogging the toilet. But that’s not a good metric by which to judge whether something will be harmful to your septic system or your city’s sewer system. Most so-called flushable items — wipes, diapers, seat covers and cleaning products — don’t break down completely, which can cause clogs later on.

2. Bathroom Trash

Bathroom waste often gets chucked into the toilet just because of proximity. After all, the toilet also transports waste from one place to another, right? Avoid the temptation and throw these items in the trash instead:

  • Dental floss
  • Q-tips and cotton balls
  • Menstrual products
  • Band-Aids
  • Contact lenses
  • Condoms
  • Disposable masks and gloves

3. Food

Tell your kids to stop flushing their bread crusts. According to Mr. Rooter Plumbing, your toilet is not the place for food scraps. Food doesn’t break down the same way as human waste, which means it might end up sitting in your pipes for a while. Scraps like bones or fruit pits will take a long time to break down, and oils and fats will solidify in the pipes.

4. Non-Toilet Paper

Have you ever seen a paper towel commercial? You know how the advertiser will show off the strength of the product by using a few paper towels to carry a watermelon (or another heavy object)? Toilet paper commercials rarely feature such a segment because toilet paper is designed to break down as soon as it hits the water. Other paper products — like tissues, wipes and paper towels  are supposed to hold up under the same circumstances. For that reason, they can build up in sewer systems and cause blockages.

While we’re at it, don’t flush newspaper, documents, photos, paper packaging or the cardboard toilet paper roll, either.

5. Medicine and Prescriptions

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, flushing pharmaceuticals can harm waterways because wastewater treatment plants aren’t designed to remove these substances from the water. The chemicals in over-the-counter and prescription medications can harm fish and contaminate drinking water.

That said, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a “Flush List” of commonly abused prescription medications that have been deemed OK to flush if you can’t locate a drug take-back location.

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6. Diapers

Flushing a diaper is a one-way ticket to a clogged toilet. Wastewater Treatment Services of Texas says diapers won’t break down in the water. So, even if you can flush one without clogging the system initially, you may have some expensive repairs waiting for you down the line. Baby wipes — though they may pass without a clog — shouldn’t be flushed, either.

7. Fish

Pet fish have long been dignified with water burials — but it turns out that flushing your fish is harmful to more than just your septic system. Sometimes your little finned friend that’s gone belly up hasn’t actually expired, and contrary to what you may believe, your toilet isn’t a direct line to the ocean. This means that your fish may wind up dying in a wastewater treatment plant. Or — as Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper explains — your pet goldfish might accidentally end up in a local waterway after an overflow, where it’s an invasive species that may harm other wildlife.

8. Cat Litter

If you prefer furry friends, you may have considered throwing their waste in the toilet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s usually fine to flush doggy doo, as long as it’s not in a plastic bag. It’ll be treated just like human waste.

The same does not apply if you have a cat who uses a litter box. Just take this warning from Supeck Septic Services of Medina, Ohio: “Flushing kitty litter — even ‘flushable’ kitty litter — wreaks havoc on your septic system and can quickly lead to catastrophic, whole-system failure.”

9. Hair

Long hair likes to stick to the inside of pipes. According to American Water, flushing a clump of hair can create a net-like structure that traps other objects, leading to clogs.

10. Nail Clippings

Like hair, fingernail and toenail clippings are technically organic matter, but that doesn’t mean they’ll break down in your septic tank. Avoid problems by clipping your nails into the trash can, instead.

11. Chemicals or Poisons

Automotive chemicals, fuels, solvents and poisons should stay far away from your toilet, as they can harm your drain lines. According to the National Agricultural Safety Database, these toxic substances can leach into the soil or contaminate groundwater and waterways. To be safe, never pour these things down any household drain, including your toilet:

  • Paint or paint thinner
  • Gasoline, kerosene or lighter fluid
  • Antifreeze, motor oil or brake fluid
  • Pesticides or fertilizers
  • Pest poisons

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.

Got a Clogged Sewer Line? Here’s What to Do

sewer

When you have a clogged drain in your house, your first instinct is probably to grab a plunger. Little do you know, there are some cases where standard plunging is almost useless — like when the main sewer line in your home gets clogged. When this happens, you can end up with widespread flooding and plumbing problems all over your home.

This May Also Interest You: Water Sewer Line Repair: DIY or Plumbing Pro

To prevent serious damage, you need to be able to identify clogged sewer lines and know how to handle them.

Are Your Main Sewer Lines Clogged?

Throughout your home, you have drain lines carrying wastewater away from sinks, toilets, tubs and more. All of these lines lead to the main sewer line. This huge pipe sends all the waste from your home right to your sewer or septic system. When it gets clogged, drains all over your home are unable to work — and you could even end up with water backing up out of your fixtures, leaky pipes and other problems. Yikes!

If you find yourself with a main sewer line clog, there’s not really any do-it-yourself way of fixing it. These drain lines are often buried deep under the ground far away from your home. You typically need special equipment and professional know-how to handle them. Though you usually cannot repair it yourself, that doesn’t mean you’re helpless. There are still a couple things you can do to keep the problem from getting worse until a plumber can help you.sewer

Clogged Sewer Line Causes

This type of clog is fairly rare, since most sewer lines are around 4 to 6 inches wide. It usually only happens if something has gone seriously wrong in your plumbing system. One of the most common causes of a clog is damage to the sewer line itself. If a pipe collapses or bends, the damage can keep waste from moving through the line properly. There are all sorts of things that can harm a sewer line, including:

  • Shifting soil around the pipe
  • Corrosion within the pipe
  • Construction near the line
  • Heavy traffic above the sewer pipe
  • Damaged pipe joints

Another big reason sewer lines clog is that they gradually sag over time. This bend in the pipe makes it easy for debris to collect, eventually causing a clog.water service line

The most common type of debris that clogs a sewer line is fat. If you pour greases, fats or oils down a sink drain, they will eventually cool and harden. Even if you run hot water with the grease, it typically firms up by the time it reaches your main sewer line. Then, the fat sticks to your lines and causes a clog.

Other types of debris that often causes clogs includes paper towels, so-called flushable wipes, sanitary products and other bulky items flushed down the toilet. You should never send anything besides liquids and toilet paper down your drains.

A final cause of clogged sewer pipes is tree roots. Trees are surprisingly powerful. Even tiny roots can worm their way into your pipes over time. You may not notice a significant leak since the root will clog up the broken area in the line. However, as the roots keep growing inside of the pipe, they form a mass through which sewage has a hard time passing.

Signs Your Sewer Line May Be Clogged

Most clogged sewers happen gradually. Being able to identify them in the early stages will help you address problems before you end up with sewage water flooding your entire house. Here are some things to look out for if you suspect that you may need a sewer line cleaning:

Dark Water

One of the signature symptoms of a main-drain clog is water backing up in your tubs or showers. This happens when you try to drain water but there’s nowhere for it to go because the sewer line is clogged. The water then moves backward, seeking the lowest point of entry. In most homes, this will be the shower, tub or floor drain in a basement.

Unlike flooding fixtures caused by a leaky pipe, the water will not be clear. Since a lot of waste material is mixed in, it will usually be dark, stinky and gross-looking. Keep in mind that this water can have raw sewage, so you need to be cautious around it. Use proper protective gear and powerful cleaners when cleaning up after dark water flows into your drains.

Slow-Moving Drains

Take a minute to think about the drains in your home. Are they draining rapidly, or do you notice water pooling whenever you run the water? Your drains tend to slow down when there’s a clog because most sewer line clogs do not suddenly block 100% of the pipe. Instead, debris accumulates over time, making it harder and harder for waste to move through.

If all the drains in your home are starting to slow down, the problem is most likely a clogged sewer line. Typically, the first drains you will notice slowing down are the toilet drains. When you flush the toilet, the water may seem to hang there for a moment before gradually sinking down. Toilets are often the first drain affected by a mainline clog because they’re usually connected directly to your sewer line.

Gurgling Sounds

Because a mainline clog keeps your drains from working properly, you might get some weird reactions as you use your plumbing system. When you run a sink, flush a toilet or use a washing machine, water and air bubbles can form. All this stuff rumbling around in your pipes can cause noises. Since sound travels strangely through pipes, these noises can seem to come from plumbing fixtures, walls other rooms, or even the floor and ceiling.

The most frequent sound people report is a gurgling noise that happens while they’re using a drain. However, you may also notice strange hissing, bubbling or trickling noises. If your main sewer line is almost entirely clogged, it can take a while for stuff to drain through. Therefore, you may keep hearing weird noises long after you quit using a drain.

Clogged Plumbing Fixtures

If your clogged sewer line goes unnoticed for too long, you’ll start noticing this sign: As the clog builds up, almost no wastewater will be able to move through the pipe. When this happens, your drains quit working altogether. Instead of just slightly slow drainage, your plumbing fixtures will seem to quit draining entirely.

Remember that all the plumbing fixtures in your home are connected, so a clogged sewer pipe will keep draining from happening all over the house. If you run the kitchen sink, you may walk into the bathroom to find a shower that seems clogged. Your toilets on the upper floor might seem to work fine, but then when you go downstairs, all the sinks may be clogged.

What to Do When Your Sewer Line Is Clogged

Noticing that your sewer line is clogged is half the battle. Once you realize it’s happening, the solution is simple. You just need to keep calm and follow these two simple steps:

1. Turn Off the Water

First of all, turn off the water in your home. This step is important because it keeps the situation from getting worse. You don’t want to absentmindedly turn on a clogged sink and end up flooding one of your bathrooms with raw sewage. It also keeps leaking pipes or automatic processes — like a dishwasher on a timer — from trying to drain more water into your clogged line.

To turn off your water, you need to identify your water main, which is the line that supplies your home with water. Often, you can find it near your home’s water meter, or sometimes it’s outside the home near a corner of your house. It typically has a large wheel, handle or lever. Turn it until it’s entirely closed off.

2. Call a Plumber

It’s technically possible to clear out some small sewer line clogs yourself, but this is rarely advisable. The problem with DIY repair is that the majority of sewer line clogs are caused by broken pipes, tree roots and other issues deep within your plumbing system. Most people who know how to handle a basic drain clog don’t have the tools for sewer drain clogs.

Professionals have heavy-duty main sewer line cleaners and other equipment that lets them clear away all sorts of clogs. They also have the knowledge and experience to diagnose the primary issue. Just dumping some main drain cleaner down a toilet yourself won’t help you identify and repair tree root growth or other serious plumbing problems.

Getting a professional to examine your whole plumbing system will help ensure the real problem is addressed. Depending on your situation, you may need to replace sewer pipes entirely, which can involve digging up the yard and doing some major plumbing.

How Do You Unclog a Sewer Line?

Ultimately, you do need a professional who knows how to unclog a sewer line. However, there are a few things you can do to at least try mitigating the clog before your contractor arrives.

Many homes have a sewer line cleanout, which is a large pipe with a cap on the end, found in your basement or on the side of your home. You can remove this cap to access your main sewer line. If you get very lucky, the clog might have been forced against your cleanout, in which case, you can just pull it out manually.

You can also try running a plumbing auger through the sewer line. This may break up the clog or enable you to pull out some of the debris. However, sewer line clogs are often big enough that the standard drain auger can’t fix the clog.

Most of the time, snaking your sewer line yourself will just get things moving a little, making it easier to clean up backflow and get your home in livable condition. Keep in mind that clogs will probably keep happening until you get a thorough sewer line cleaning. You’ll still need to call in a licensed plumber to handle the main clog.

Why are my Water Pipes so noisy?

Water Pipes making loud noises

BANG. Rattle. BANG. Last night I had to spend two hours convincing my kids there wasn’t a scary ghost haunting our house. They were obviously skeptical (who wouldn’t be at constant rattling and banging seeming to come from behind the wall?), but I was finally able to put them to bed and investigate the noises myself.

After grabbing a flashlight, I made my way to the basement and discovered the strange noises were coming from my water pipes. Knowing my plumbing could need a repair, I called a professional for help.

Luckily, they knew what the problem could be just from the noise! And now I get to share this information with you.

Name that noise

Banging

A loud banging noise coming from your pipes may sound frightening, but it’s a relatively common household problem that’s easy to fix. According to The Spruce, these booming sounds are most likely the result of a water hammer – A.K.A. hydraulic shock.

A water hammer occurs when a faucet or valve quickly shuts off the flow of water into the fixture or appliance. This sudden stop means the moving water already in the pipe comes to an abrupt stop when it meets the closed valve. The startling noise you hear reverberating around your pipes is usually amplified when the pipe fittings become loose due to the sudden change in water flow.

Learn More About Home Repair Plans Near You

Most water supply systems have pipe fittings called air chambers that act as a shock absorber for water flowing at high speed under pressure. The shock wave from the sudden stop will hit the compressible air, minimizing the banging noise.

If you think the chambers just need a reboot, turn the water off to drain the pipes and allow the air to refill the chambers. But, if a noisy pipe is persistent, it’s best to call in a plumber to see if you might need a water hammer arrestor. They will know how to fix the problem and how to properly handle all kinds of materials, including copper pipes.

Gurgling

Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing problems. If you hear your drains gurgling or notice water is draining slowly, something is probably obstructing the pipes. There are a lot of DIY tricks for unclogging your drain – especially if you’re dealing with soap scum and food waste. But if the problem persists, it’s time to bring in a plumber.

Most professionals will charge a flat fee of around $150 to come out and unclog a drain with a snaking tool, reports Thumbtack. This is perfect if you can’t reach or locate the obstruction yourself, or it’s not budging with your home remedies. If it’s a larger blockage in your main sewer line, you may pay upwards of $800 for a plumber to hydro-jet the debris out.

Rattling

No, there’s not an earthquake. Rattling pipes may make it seem like your home is constantly shaking, but that’s probably not the case. This can be another sign of a water hammer echoing throughout your plumbing. Even more likely, though, is that your suspended pipes are not securely fastened.

Learn More About Home Repair Plans Near You

When the fasteners are loose or fall away all together, your pipes may rattle when water runs through them. If the pipes are easily accessible, like in a basement, it may be easy to tighten up the fasteners yourself. It can become more complicated when they’re located behind a wall – you’ll probably need to call a professional to help.

Humming

I don’t know about you, but a constant humming coming from my pipes is usually hard to detect until my house is quiet (which is a rarity with kids running around 24/7.) If your water line is constantly buzzing, Realtor.com says high water pressure is most likely to blame.

Overly high pressure can seriously damage your water heater and appliances. With a little bit of DIY knowledge, you can probably handle installing a new water pressure regulator yourself to help keep the system operating at peak efficiency. If you’re not comfortable working with the system, a plumber can easily install a new regulator, or check your current water pressure situation to make adjustments.

Squeaking

The final common noise is whistling or squeaking. Hunker.com explains this is usually a result of a bad or faulty shut-off valve. Common culprits are your washing machine or faucets. Once you’ve identified where the noise is coming from, you can replace deteriorated valve parts or call in a plumber for more help.

You never know when your home systems might need repair. Be prepared with a plan. See how plans from Service Line Warranties of America can help you be prepared for the costs associated with covered plumbing repairs.

Economic Shock is Hidden Threat to One-Third of Americans

Economic shock is a large, unexpected expense such as a home or car repair or sudden loss of income – something many experienced during the recent economic downturn.

COVID-19 has hit hard – but nowhere harder than with our most vulnerable populations. The widespread unemployment caused by the pandemic has taken a bite out of the savings of many, especially those with lower incomes, with 44 percent of those households with incomes of $50,000 or less saying that their savings have dropped since March.

Many Homeowners Are Unprepared

Old homes have unique charms, but they also may be hiding plumbing problems in their walls and floorboards.

One-in-four adults have reported having trouble paying their bills, with this increasing to 46 percent among those with lower incomes. Many of those most at risk, including minimum wage-earners, minorities, mothers with young children and those without secondary education, are returning to work at a slower rate. In a Federal Reserve survey, 40 percent of adults said they would have to borrow from family and friends or go into debt for an unexpected expense of only $400. More than 10 percent said such an expense would prevent them from paying all their bills in that month.

While some Americans save, others either don’t or are unable to, leaving them vulnerable to economic shock.

Even before the economic downturn, 71 percent of those working a minimum wage job had difficulty meeting their basic bills, according to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll. Financial woes are not limited to those at the bottom of the wage scale, with nearly 80 percent saying they lived paycheck-to-paycheck at least sometimes. Debt is up and savings are down across the board, with just over 50 percent saving $100 or less each month.

The Biannual State of the Home

Nearly 70 percent of Americans would like their utility to provide an optional emergency home repair plan to help them avoid financial shock

A wide swath of Americans have been made more susceptible to a financial shock than ever, and, at the same time, many of them are spending more time at home than ever before, whether it is because they are unemployed, working from home, have children attending virtual school or are self-quarantining. That means greater stress on their home’s plumbing and electrical systems and higher bills. Unfortunately, many are at the juncture where their unusually stressed home systems and their depleted savings are leaving them at risk for the financial shock of an emergency home repair.

Unfortunately, all that time at home is taking a toll on our plumbing and electric – 62 percent of those polled in HomeServe’s Biannual State of the Home Survey reported that they had had an emergency home repair in the last 12 months. Among those needing a repair, 23 percent reported their HVAC system needed repaired, 16 percent reported leaky pipes, and 15 percent reported a blocked or overflowing toilet. Exacerbating the issue, many don’t have robust savings. Nearly one-third of Americans have $500 or less set aside for an unexpected financial demand, and nearly half have $1,000 or less set aside, according to the survey.

Many Homeowners are Uncertain

Home repairs can make a dent in your wallet, ranging anywhere from approximately $600 dollars to more than a thousand to replace a water heater, depending on where you live and what type of replacement you’re installing, to several thousand dollars for a sewer service line replacement or repair.   

Fortunately, homeowners have somewhere to turn: Service Line Warranties of America. Our optional emergency home repair plans give our customers access to our U.S.-based call center with live operators available 24/7/365 and our nationwide network of thoroughly vetted, licensed and insured contractors. With a call to our call center, we will dispatch a local contractor to handle your issue and pay the associated costs up to the benefit amount. For more information on how we can protect you from financial shock, contact us.

Older Homes Are Prone To Plumbing Problems

Old homes have unique charms, but they also may be hiding plumbing problems in their walls and floorboards.

Older homes can have a host of problems with the plumbing that homeowners can’t see – it may simply be old and reaching the end of its usable lifespan, the plumbing may have been made of materials that later proved to be problematic or an amateur plumber may have made repairs.

Old Pipes

Plumbing has a lifespan, from the water lines and fixtures to the drains and sewer lines. Copper lines will last the longest, at 60 to 80 years, followed by cast iron drains and sewer lines at 50 to 65 years. Galvanized steel, used for both water and sewer lines, lasts about 40 to 60 years, followed by polyvinyl chloride, or PVC plastic, at 40 to 50 years, then PEX at 40 years.

Fixtures need replacement more often – and they aren’t limited to faucets, although those should be replaced every 15 to 20 years. Water heaters should be replaced more often, at 10 to 20 years, and shut-off valves should be replaced every 20 years, or they may become frozen in the “on” position. Sinks, tubs and toilets are the sturdiest of home plumbing fixtures, needing replacement every 40 to 80 years.

In addition, some of the oldest homes were built before plumbing was common and were retrofitted with plumbing later. In order to update those aged pipes, plumbers may need to drill through floor joists or install drop ceilings so there is room for the appropriate slope for gravity-fed drains. It’s important that licensed plumbers do this work because they will ensure that the work is done in such a way that it doesn’t compromise the structural integrity of the floor above.

As pipes age, their joints may begin to loosen and the pipes sag, causing “bellies,” as they separate. A belly is where debris, rust or minerals can collect where a pipe sags, causing clogs and stoppages.

Problematic Pipes

Highly acidic water, hot water, highly chlorinated water or water that has remained stationary in a pipe for a long time can leach lead from pipes or lead solder used on brass pipe fittings. It’s estimated that 10 million homes have water service lines that are at least partially lead – and homeowners are responsible for the maintenance and replacement of the service lines that connect your home to the utility’s system. In many cases, there is simply no record of whether a water service line is lead or not, although it is more prevalent in older homes, since lead water service lines were popular before 1950.

Lead lines aren’t the only plumbing homeowners should be on the lookout for – polybutylene pipe, or “poly,” was popular because it was inexpensive, from its introduction in the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s and is found in another 10 million American homes. However, poly piping fails at an abnormally high rate under normal conditions. Poly pipes react poorly to oxidants in water, flaking away from the inside out, so a poly pipe may appear in good shape during a visual inspection. It, too, is prone to faster degradation when exposed to high levels of chlorine and hot water.

In addition, use of galvanized steel piping also has been discontinued, except for repairs of existing systems. It was introduced as an alternative to lead lines, often used for water lines prior to the 1960s, until it was discovered in the early 1970s that it could corrode from the inside out and rust would build up within the pipe, narrowing the diameter of the pipe and causing water pressure issues.

Some home insurance companies will refuse to insure homes with poly or galvanized steel piping or require high deductibles before a home with known problematic plumbing can be insured. If you are purchasing a home with poly or galvanized pipes, you may be required to have a licensed plumber to certify the system before it can be insured. It also will lower your home’s resale value and make it more difficult to find a buyer.

Then there’s Orangeburg sewer lines – pipes made of pressed wood fiber and coal tar, now scorned as “coal tar-impregnated toilet paper tubes.” It was most popular in the 1950s and 1960s, because, once again, it was inexpensive. Since it was widely used, homes dating from that time are at risk – Orangeburg pipes have higher failure rates than any other sewer line material. Because they are paper based, they are more prone to chemical deterioration. Orangeburg also is vulnerable to crushing during ground settling and tree-root intrusion, because it deforms under pressure, since it isn’t as rigid as other materials.

Amateur Plumbers

You may be tempted to save money by having someone other than a licensed and insured plumber repair your plumbing. In doing so, you deprive yourself of a professional plumber’s expertise and training. Additionally, non-licensed plumbers often will not warranty their work and they may not carry the appropriate liability or workers compensation insurance.

Amateurs often make mistakes that professionals wouldn’t, such as using accordion pipes, which makes connecting two different pipes easy, but also is more prone to buildups of grime and debris. An amateur also may not know how to prevent corrosion when pipes made of two different types of metal are joined, a process known as dielectric coupling – they may not even know it’s a problem.

A professional plumber will be familiar with local building codes and be sure to have repairs done in compliance. It may cost more, but a failure to have repairs done to code may result in fines or having work re-done so that it meets the required standards. Plumbing repairs also may require going into walls, ceilings and floors or even require trenching. In addition, if an amateur botches a repair and there is damage to the home as a result, the homeowners insurance may not cover the now much-larger repair bill. Amateur repairs can put residents at risk for a host of disasters, from electrocution to gas leaks.

It’s simply safer and less expensive in the long run to hire a properly licensed plumber for repairs, whether a home is older or a more recent build, and having a plumbing inspection done before purchasing a new home also is advisable.

Homeowners can be prepared for leaks or failures in older pipes with the NLC Service Line Warranty Program. The Program offers optional emergency repair home plans to cover water and sewer service lines and interior plumbing emergencies and has live operators available 24/7/365 at a U.S.-based call center. With a network of fully licensed, insured and vetted local plumbing professionals, all repairs are warrantied for a full year and are compliant with your community’s building codes.

For more information on how our plans can provide you with peace of mind, contact us.

How Much Does a Water Softener Cost?

soft water filter

Water Softener Costs at a Glance

  • National average for softener plus installation: $1,000-$2,000
  • Price range for softener plus installation: $600-$2,000
  • Monthly maintenance and operation expenses: $10-$20

With nearly 85% of American households receiving hard water from their municipalities today, water softeners are in high demand. Whether your household gets its water from a well or your city’s water mains, water softeners are the standard method for handling hard water issues.

This May Also Interest You: How to Know If Your Bathtub Has Hard Water

Let’s take a look into the benefits of water softeners and why you should consider them more of an investment than an expense.

Do I Have Hard Water In My House?

Since most of the United States water supply is hard water, odds are you’re seeing signs like:

  • Scale buildup on showers and sinks
  • Scale buildup on faucet diffusers and shower heads
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Water marks and residue on clean dishes
  • Difficulty getting soap to lather up
  • Bad-tasting water

Hard water comes with a large percentage of minerals like calcium and magnesium in solution. While not harmful to humans, the minerals are harmful to plumbing, fixtures and appliances, as well as being high-maintenance on your skin, hair and clothes.

On the surface of your faucets and water fixtures, a cleaner like CLR works specifically to remove the stains and scale buildup of calcium, limestone, and rust from iron.

But, our plumbing, water heater, well works and other such systems are hidden from sight. So when you see the mineral scale buildup on your faucet and showerhead, just imagine the amount that’s collected in your plumbing and water heater.

What Size Water Softening System Do I Need?

You need to match the size of the system to the task at hand. To do this accurately, you need to know what your household water usage is per day and what the hardness of the water is. If you’re using city water, you can typically find your water hardness level online. If you’re using well water you’ll need to test it or have it tested. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon.

The simple way to find your daily water usage is to take an average from your water bill. Look at a high-use day that may include showers, dishes and laundry. An alternative is to take the number of people in your household and multiply it by 75. For example, 4 people x 75 gallons = 300 gallons per day of water usage.

Moreover, if you have a water hardness of 10 grains per gallon, your daily water softening requirement could go like this: 10 grains per gallon x 300 gallons per day = 3,000 gallons of water treatment per day.

Regeneration is the homeowner’s responsibility in maintaining the softening system, and requires adding salt regularly. Each water softening system is geared for regenerating every week, and that’s where you start to match the system size to your needs.

Using the example from above, you need 21,000 grains per week of capacity if you’re going to recharge your system weekly (3,000 gallons a day x 7 days = 21,000 grains). Therefore, to match the capacity of the system for your house and average one regeneration per week, you’re in the market for a water softening system that can handle more than 21,000 grains per week.

Match the System Capacity to Your House

It’s easy to see how a system that’s too small for your house will come up short or fail. Likewise, if you choose a system that’s too large, it won’t need to regenerate often enough and can grow bacteria in the tanks. Here’s where the expertise of a professional plumber or water technician can give you peace of mind in making the right decision regarding a system to match your needs.

How Expensive Are Water Softeners?

The prices for water softener systems are economical when you consider the average lifespan is around 15 years. The national average for a new water softener system installed in a house is $1,000 to $2,000.

Your mileage may vary according to:

  • System size
  • Local labor rates
  • System brand
  • System features
  • Existing plumbing issues

Water softening system prices range from around $600 to $2,000 without installation. If you have the tools and expertise, you can save the cost of labor by installing the system yourself.

What Are the Monthly Costs of Water Softeners?

The monthly expense of water softeners includes salt, water and, in many cases, a nominal amount of electricity for the monitoring and regeneration system. These expenses can range from $10 to $20 per month.

Is a Water Softener Worth It?

For those homeowners who might otherwise be able to get by without one, there are some positives to consider that can make a water softener something to consider.

Benefits include:

  • Longer-lasting appliances
  • Fewer plumbing repairs
  • Improved quality of life (better skin, hair, clothes, drinking water)
  • Less cleaning of bathrooms and sinks
  • Greater home equity

You can stay prepared with a home protection policy from Service Line Warranties of America that could help you avoid pricey home repairs and being overcharged for things your home insurance does not cover. Service Line Warranties of America is here to send a local technician to you 24/7.

Au Revoir, Standing Water! How to Install a French Drain in 8 Steps

A long and deep trench dug up in a yard to lay in a drainage pipe for a trench drain

Standing water in the yard — it’s a wet blanket for homeowners. Besides just being an eyesore, standing water can wipe out your grass, leaving your lawn soft and muddy. During the summer months, it can be the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies. If it’s close to the house, standing water can also weaken your home’s foundation. In the simplest terms: Standing water bad.

This May Also Interest You: Signs of Drainage Problems and How to Fix Them

Low spots and poor drainage are the two major culprits behind standing water. One of the most efficient ways to prevent water from collecting in your yard is to install a French drain.

What Is a French Drain?

While the name may sound exotic — and, therefore, expensive or complicated — French drains can actually be quite simple and cost effective. Done thoughtfully, they can even be a nice aesthetic addition to your outdoor space.

A French drain is essentially a gravel-filled trench containing a slotted or perforated pipe. Surface water seeps into the gravel and into the pipe, which then carries it away, distributing it to a more desirable area. Remember that water always seeks the path of least resistance, and that’s the secret behind a French drain. It creates an easy path to direct water away from low spots in your yard.

French Drain Installation

Is standing water a problem on your property? Your best course of action might be to install a French drain. Luckily, doing so is a reasonably simple task that can be completed by most anyone.

To install a French drain, follow these eight steps and standing water won’t stand a chance:

1. Get the Go-Ahead

Before you begin any construction or landscaping project on your property, it’s always important to confirm your plans with your local zoning department or homeowner’s association, as they may have rules that restrict drainage projects. Either way, it’s prudent to make sure any water you divert stays on your property — even if it’s just to keep your neighbors happy.

Also, be sure you know where any underground cables and other utility lines are in your yard before you start digging. You can call 811, the “call before you dig” hotline, to have a technician come to your home to mark these areas for free. Don’t skip this step, as disturbing a utility line could be both costly and dangerous.

2. Gather Your Tools and Materials

As with any project, you should make sure you have all the proper tools and materials before you begin. Not having all the correct implements during a project can be pretty frustrating and can result in significant delays.

To dig a French drain properly, you’ll need both a spade shovel and a digging shovel, as well as a line level and a tape measure. You’ll also need a perforated plastic drain pipe; the diameter of the pipe should be relative to how much water you need to divert, but keep in mind your pipe will pick up water along the way, so you may need a pipe with a larger diameter than you think. You’ll also need a roll of landscape filter fabric that will work to prevent clogs by filtering out silt and rocks from entering the drain. Finally, you’ll need gravel with which to cover your drain.

3. Plan Your Route

As you determine the best route for your French drain system, it’s important that the path is at least a meter away from any fences or walls and steer clear of any trees or shrubs, as large roots can impede water flow and keep your drain from functioning to its full potential.

While determining your best route, find any downhill slope near where water collects. If you can’t find one, you need to create one by digging progressively deeper as you work. Your best bet is to have at least a 1-foot drop for every hundred feet in length for the drain to work most effectively. Finding the right pitch for your drain can seem complicated, but keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be perfect. Ultimately, you just want to make sure there are no spots along your route where water can collect and pool.

4. Start Digging

At the beginning of the drain, or the spot where water is collecting, you’ll need to dig a mouth that will be slightly larger than the rest of the drain. Of course, the size of your trench will depend how much water you’re draining. However, the standard-size French drain is 6 feet wide and 18 inches deep. Although you may be tempted to dig as deep and wide as possible, it’s far more efficient to dig a so-called V-notch: a triangular trench that’s created by digging two 45-degree angles, which makes a point that’s the deepest part of your trench. Digging a V-notch creates a deep trench without the need to expend too much energy.

5. Line Your Trench With Fabric

After digging the trench, you’ll need to cover it with landscape fabric. Use a continuous swath, if possible, and make sure you leave at least 10 inches of extra fabric on either side of the trench, because the fabric will get pulled down as you add the gravel on top of it.

6. Fill the Trench

Once the fabric is in place, it’s time to fill in the drain with crushed stone, or gravel. This will serve primarily as bedding for your perforated pipe, but it can also act as an additional filter for silt, dirt and other types of small debris that can prevent water flow. You’ll want to make sure you pack at least 3 inches of gravel, here. Take a rake and run it up and down your drain to ensure the gravel is smooth and even. This all helps prevent water to from collecting along the route of the drain.

7. Lay the Pipe

After ensuring that the crushed stone is evenly distributed along the length of the trench, the next step is to simply place the pipe on top of the stone. Although using perforated plastic drain pipe is most common, you also have the option of using a rigid PVC pipe. Although more difficult to work with, PVC will outlive the perforated pipe and can even perform better in the long run. If you choose to work with PVC, make sure you pre-drill holes through the length of the pipe. One important note to remember: French drains work by allowing water to flow up through them from the ground, so keep your drill holes oriented downward.

After you lay your pipe, cover it with additional gravel, but leave at least 5 inches between the top of the gravel and ground level. Then, fold over any excess landscape fabric, which will keep dirt or other debris from disturbing the system.

8. Backfill

Once you’ve laid your pipe, the last step is to backfill the drain with soil. Alternatively, you can cover your pipe with gravel. This keeps the potential for clogs at a minimum by increasing the water filtration of your drainage system.

Ask for Help When You Need It

Although building a French drain can be relatively simple, they aren’t always the only solution to your water drainage issues. If your drain system brings water near your home’s foundation or into a neighbor’s yard, alternative drainage systems like dry wells may better suit your needs. Poorly designed drainage systems can often cause more problems than meet the eye and can negatively impact natural runoff areas.

If you’re still seeing significant standing water after installing your French drain, you may need a large-scale drainage solution that could require re-grading the landscape. Do-it-yourself projects can be rewarding, but it’s always good to know when you need to call a professional.

You may also want to have professionals on-hand to deal with any other issues that may arise with your home systems. That’s why being prepared with a plan from Service Line Warranties of America is something to consider. Once you have a plan in place and a covered issue arises, you can simply call the 24/7 repair hotline. A local, licensed and highly trained contractor will be sent out to you to get the job done to your satisfaction. Learn more about plans from SLWA today.

Does a home warranty cover water and sewer lines?

Does a Home Warranty cover Water and Sewer Lines?

My grandmother used to say, “You never know how good things are ‘til they are gone.” When it comes to your appliances and home systems working properly, this is so true. We all rely upon our water running, our dishwasher washing and our heat warming.

And while we all take our essential home infrastructure for granted, a homeowner can be unsure how to proceed when things go wrong. Fortunately, you can be prepared with a home repair plan that includes provisions for covered repairs of your water line or clogged sewer line.

Water and sewer coverage 101

Before you decide on a home repair plan or home warranty, it’s always important to know exactly what a given plan will offer you in terms of repair coverage for different systems and appliances.

According to Consumer Reports.org, it is fairly common for a home repair or home warranty plan that addresses household infrastructure to include provisions for repairs to the internal plumbing, as it’s one of any home’s critical systems along with the electrical wiring and water heater. But coverage for indoor plumbing does not always mean that the water and sewer lines – which run underground from the outskirts of your house’s foundation to the municipal pipes underneath all of the nearby streets – are necessarily covered.

Along similar lines, if you have a septic tank to handle your home’s wastewater instead of being connected to your city’s sewer-line network, be sure to check if the tank and the pipes that connect it to your internal plumbing are covered. Some plans that might cover exterior water and sewer lines won’t be adaptable to homes that use septic systems.

Learn More About Home Repair Plans Near You

Additionally, keep in mind that homeowner’s insurance will often only be of help if your plumbing, water or sewer lines suffered sudden and catastrophic damage, according to Policygenius.

Line-specific plans from SLWA

By turning to Service Line Warranties of America, you can find yourself a number of different home repair plan options to protect your water and sewer lines. First off, there are plans that cover individual aspects of the exterior plumbing:

  • Sewer/septic line coverage: With this plan, the essential steps for finding and repairing a problematic sewer or septic line are covered – replacement or repair of pipes, seals and joints, unblocking, fusing, welding, pipe-cutting, valve-fitting and restoration of any exterior home areas disturbed by the repair process.
  • Water line coverage: Everything described above, but for the water line instead.

Being prepared for plumbing, water line, sewer line and other household breakdowns is always a smart choice. Learn more on how  a plan from Service Lines Warranties of America can help you with the costs of covered repairs.