Unless you inspect your plumbing system on a regular basis, it is difficult to predict when plumbing problems might strike. Plumbing costs can vary widely, depending on the particular issue at hand, so it is important to have room in your budget to cover these urgent expenses. Waiting until you can save up the money to have your plumbing problems repaired can put you at risk of serious damage to your property, which will end up costing you even more in the long run.
Whether you own a single-family home, an apartment building or even a business facility, you know that you’ll need to call on the services of a plumber at some point in the future. Here’s what you need to know to ensure you have adequate funds available the next time you need a plumber.
Why You Need to Budget for Plumbing Costs
The pipes in your plumbing system have a limited lifespan, so they are bound to need repair or replacement at some point in the future. This is of particular concern if your property is older. With newer properties, the plumbing should be brand new as well, so it is less of a concern right away. If you plan on staying in the home for many years, though, it makes sense to start saving up now so that you are prepared when the time comes.
The specific plumbing costs you’ll incur depend largely on the extent and difficulty of the work that needs to be done. For example, fixing a clogged drain might only set you back a few hundred dollars, but repairing a sewer main could cost thousands. Prices for the same job can vary in different parts of the country as well, so do plenty of research to find out what the norm is in your area.
Plumbers vary widely in the rates they charge for particular jobs as well, so it pays to shop around in advance to get the best rates. Keep in mind, though, that lower costs could indicate lower quality parts or workmanship. Aim to strike a balance between quality and affordability. Remember that shoddy work today might save you a bit of money right now, but it will likely end up costing you even more on future repairs to fix any complications that arise from sub-par work.
Some plumbers accept credit cards, but not all of them do. Many will ask that you write a check to cover the plumbing costs. In this case, you’ll need to have the funds readily available when you receive the invoice. If you don’t have the extra cash, you may have difficulty meeting your other financial obligations for the rest of the month. In some cases, payment plans might be available, but this is not common, so don’t count on having this option.
When to Start Preparing for Plumbing Costs
The best time to start saving for plumbing costs is well before you ever need to use that money. The sooner you can start building up your savings, the better. Even if you take just $5 out of each paycheck, it’s a start. While it may not seem like much in the short-term, over time those little bits can seriously add up. Of course, it is always better to save more if you can, but any amount is better than none at all.
Start off with what you can comfortably spare. You can always increase the amount you are saving later on. Once you start saving, you’ll likely find that you can afford to save more than you initially thought. Adjust your savings accordingly until you find the perfect balance between saving for emergencies, covering your monthly expenses and keeping a bit for leisure and entertainment.
Then, when you do need to call a plumber, you already have some money stashed away to cover the plumbing costs. Even if you don’t have the full amount that you need, it will be less of a stretch for you to pay the bill if some of it is already covered. The last thing you want is to have to pay for the repairs with a home equity line of credit, putting your ownership of your home at risk. Using a credit card or taking out a cash advance to cover this expense is even worse, as credit cards typically have high interest rates, increasing your costs over time even more.
How to Determine How Much You Need to Cover Plumbing Costs
While you can’t always anticipate when you might encounter a plumbing issue, there are steps you can take to give yourself at least some idea of what to expect from your plumbing system in the foreseeable future. Pipe system condition assessments and pipe condition reports can help you identify potential problem areas so that you can plan accordingly.
Pipe System Condition Assessments
Condition assessments give you an inside look at your pipes to identify any potential trouble areas. In most cases, this involves using a small camera to see what is going on inside your pipes. A plumbing technician will secure the camera to the end of a long cable, then feed it into your pipes. Typically, the easiest access points are through sanitary and storm drains, so this is where your technician is likely to start. Of course, there are other possible entry points, and depending on the scope of your system, the condition may utilize those as well.
At the end of the inspection, the technician may provide you with a copy of the recorded video for your records. The plumber should also provide you with a report of the specific findings from the assessment. This will tell you about the overall condition of the system and any potential danger areas. The goal here is to catch any problems early on so that you can fix them before they lead to complete system failures.
In addition to identifying any areas that may soon be in need of repair or replacement, a sewer camera inspection also helps your plumber to identify the size and type of pipes used in your system. This will make it far easier for them to obtain the right replacement parts when the time comes.
Pipe Condition Reports
Pipe condition reports are similar to camera inspections, but they go a step further. In this type of report, the data will be broken down by each section of pipe. For each section, the report will detail the current condition of each section, as well as any potential problems that could arise. In completing the report, the technician will typically identify each possible issue in terms of severity and urgency, making it easy for you to plan for the future.
How to Evaluate the Information
Now that you are armed with all of this information, what do you do with it? For starters, review all of the information your technician provided you so that you have a general sense of everything. Then, based on the specific details in the report, you can prioritize tasks based on urgency. For each upcoming task, research typical plumbing costs in your area so that you can set your budget.
Don’t just look at the most urgent problems, though; it is important to look to the future as well. Even if a potential problem seems like it could be a long way off, as mentioned above, it’s better to start saving sooner rather than later. Remember, as well, that pipe inspections and reports can only provide estimates of when a particular trouble spot is likely to become a larger issue. These problems could arise sooner or later than you were expecting, so it pays to be prepared well in advance.
Don’t forget that emergency situations can arise as well, oftentimes completely unforeseen. Be sure to allow a bit of wiggle room in your budget to allow for unexpected issues. It is always best to have more funds available than you actually need than to not have enough to cover your plumbing costs.
Affordable Plumbing in San Diego
If you are in need of plumbing services in the Greater San Diego area, San Diego Pipelining can help. We are experts in this area and can provide you with a detailed camera inspection of your plumbing system. We’ll help you identify what needs to be dealt with and when so that you can plan out your budget for the plumbing costs.
Our friendly technicians will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our services and our pricing. We do everything we can to keep our rates as affordable as possible for you. And we will never sacrifice the quality of our workmanship.
Quality is of the utmost importance to us in terms of the materials and techniques we use — as well as our customer service. We won’t rest until you are completely satisfied with our work.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help keep your plumbing system in top shape for many years to come.