Every area offers unique challenges. A plumber in the south faces issues that a plumber in Olympia won’t. We face a lot of unique issues in the Northwest. That’s because of several factors. The oceanside brings in saltwater air, certain areas are mineral rich, and of course, the massive yearly rainfall. We’re going to explore some of the unique plumbing issues here in the Northwest, and what you can do about them.
Have you encountered these Northwest plumbing issues?
Salt water corrodes exposed piping.
Copper is hit hardest by corrosion from saltwater. You can tell when your copper pipes are corroded, they will turn bluish-green. Saltwater will eat through them entirely over time. Even steel and iron can be damaged. The best way to prevent damage is to identify it early. Learn what the piping in and outside your home is made of. Look for signs of damage. Discolored water is another indication of saltwater damage.
How can a plumber help?
Olympia homes are all susceptible to saltwater damage. A plumber can inspect your system. They identify whether the damage has spread. Because salt can enter your plumbing system from a damaged pipe, it can cause damage throughout.
If the damage is caused by salt, your system may need to be flushed. This will remove any salt from your system. Piping is replaced after that. Modern materials like plastic and PEX are extremely resistant to salt water corrosion.
Sewer backups and basement flooding.
Flooding isn’t just an outdoor threat. Heavy rains can overload city sewer systems. This can cause waste to backup into homes and businesses. Backups most often affect basement level areas first for obvious reasons. Water works its way upwards when a pressure reverse pushes it backward. One of the best preventative actions you can take is to check your insurance coverage. Flooding isn’t typically covered by home and business owners insurance. It may require an additional fee annually. This will protect you against backup damage. It is especially useful for homes in low-lying areas or near flood plains.
Tree roots are a second major Northwest specific cause of backups.
Tree roots grow towards water sources. A tree will seek a small leak in a pipe. Once it gets a firm hold it will grow into the pipe itself. This is a bigger problem in the Northwest than dryer areas. The weather conditions are ideal for tree growth and a root structure grows 1 and a half to three times as wide as the foliage. Olympia is a heavily wooded city. Though they may be beautiful, local trees put pipes in constant danger. Older piping is much more susceptible to breaking and blockage from tree roots.
How can a plumber help?
There are two ways a plumber can help. Preventative action is the first. A plumber can install a backwater prevention valve in your sewer line. When these are professionally installed and maintained they block sewage from coming back up through the line. They can also inspect your main lines. This will identify your piping materials, any damage, and a rough age. If they are in danger of breaking or a tree root has partially entered, it may be best to replace them early.
The second way is after flooding begins. Calling a certified plumber is the best way to stop a problem in its tracks. They can cut off water to your home, assess damage, and perform necessary work to keep your basement from flooding in the future. If a tree root is to blame a plumber can remove it. Roots will continue to grow back and into the main line. A fix may only require a replacement of a section of the line. Trenchless methods don’t even require tearing up the yard.