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Most Common Plumbing Issues In Utah

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Hi there, I’m Alma Bradshaw, a plumber with over two decades of expertise. My focus is on resolving the plumbing troubles that folks encounter in Utah. If you’ve been a Utah resident for some time, you likely know about the struggles of dealing with water. Moreover, the Utah weather patterns of blistering summers to freezing winters bring unique plumbing challenges. Keep reading to discover more about these uniquely Utah plumbing issues.  

Hard Water

Hard water can cause damage to your plumbing system over time due to the mineral buildup it creates. Utah’s average parts per million (PPM) is 298, and the average grain per gallon (GPG) is 20. Water is considered hard at 7-10.5 GPG, very hard at 10.5-15 GPG, and extremely hard above 15 GPG. This means most of Utah has extremely hard water. 

Here are some common plumbing issues associated with water: 

  • Scale Buildup: Water minerals such as calcium and magnesium tend to stick to pipes and fixtures. This buildup forms a deposit known as limescale, which can narrow pipes and reduce water pressure in your home. In some cases, it may even lead to pipe blockages.
  • Clogged Drains; While hard water itself doesn’t directly cause drain clogs, mineral deposits can combine with soap residues to create a scum that adheres to pipes. This scum attracts hair, debris, and other materials over time resulting in drains and potential blockages.
  • Reduction in Appliance Efficiency: Appliances that heat water, like water heaters and washing machines, are particularly vulnerable to damage from water. Scale accumulation on heating elements reduces their efficiency and shortens their lifespan.
  • Faucet Damage: Hard water stains on faucets, showerheads, and other fixtures can be unattractive. The continuous buildup of minerals can also degrade the finish on these fixtures, causing them to appear dull and worn out.
  • Leaky Pipes: Stress from scale buildup and mineral deposits can weaken pipes over time, increasing the likelihood of leaks. Leaky pipes and faucets are not only a nuisance; they can also result in water wastage, property damage, and mold growth.
  • Skin and Hair Concerns: Although it’s not directly related to plumbing, the presence of water can impact your skin and hair. The mineral buildup may hinder soap from foaming, leaving a lingering film on your skin and hair. Additionally, hard water has the potential to strip moisture from your skin and hair.

Hard Water Solution

The best solution for hard water is to invest in a water softener. I recommend that every home in Utah, especially in parts of Utah County, have one. Not only will this extend the life of your plumbing systems, but soft water is also easier on the skin and hair. We are licensed skilled plumbers and we’d be happy to get a system installed or repair your existing system. Here’s what a water softener install costs.

Freezing Temperatures

Utah’s winters are frigid, sometimes dropping below freezing. Cold winters can cause problems for plumbing systems. Here are some issues that might arise:

  • Frozen Pipes: This is a potentially harmful issue. When water freezes, it expands, leading to pipes bursting, resulting in leaks and flooding. Pipes in places without heating, such as crawlspaces, attics, and exterior walls, are at greater risk.
  • Slow Draining: Even if pipes don’t burst, extreme cold can stiffen grease and other substances in drains. This stiffness can slow down draining in sinks, showers, and tubs.
  • Cracked Pipes: The constant cycle of freezing and thawing due to fluctuating temperatures can strain pipes over time, eventually causing cracks and leaks.
  • Water Heater Damage: If the water supply line to your water heater freezes and bursts, it could harm the heater itself, leading to repairs or replacements.
  • Outdoor Plumbing: Exposed pipes, faucets, and hose bibs are particularly vulnerable to freezing during weather. It’s important to drain and insulate them.
  • Toilet Troubles: Under certain conditions, the water supply line to your toilet could freeze and burst, causing significant disruptions. 

Freezing Temperatures Solutions

To minimize the likelihood of encountering these problems and avoid plumbing repairs, it is prudent to implement preventive measures such as insulating your pipes and maintaining a consistently warm home environment (at least above 45 degrees F).

Sometimes, it’s not possible to keep a home or cabin heated during winter. In which case it’s important to winterize. This means shutting off the water, draining the pipes of water, sealing up any air leaks, etc.

Other Common Plumbing Issues

The following Plumbing problems aren’t unique to Utah. They aren’t necessary causes because of local conditions. However, I see these issues on a regular basis. 

  • Clogged Drains: A blocked drain is often caused by accumulating hair, food remnants, and grease. Clogs can result in backups and flooding, necessitating prompt attention.
  • Leaks: Undetected leaks quietly damage homes. Keep an eye on pipes, fixtures, and appliances and do proactive maintenance to prevent damage.
  • Water Heater Issues: Despite their resilience, water heaters inevitably wear out over time, leading to leaks, diminished water pressure, and heating element malfunctions. Maintenance and timely replacements will avoid damage and disruptions. 

Conclusion

Being proactive with your plumbing system will help you avoid unnecessary repairs. Don’t let that clogged drain, leaky faucet, or inconsistent water heater go too long without assistance. We hope you found this helpful. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to Sunset Plumbing. 

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Alma Bradshaw

About The Author

Hello, My name is Alma Bradshaw. I'm a licensed plumber with over 20 years of experience in the industry. It's important to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest plumbing techniques, innovations, codes, and regulations. Learn more about plumbing here and feel free to comment below with any questions.

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