Of all the questions we hear, both in the office and in the field, the number one question is always “how much is this going to cost me?”. The second most common question is “do you have a pricing guide for your services?”
While it’s extremely difficult to put a price on any plumbing job without looking at the specifics involved with the job, we wanted to give you some ballpark figures for the most common tasks we perform. This week, we look at the plumbing cost of some of the more expensive plumbing jobs we do.
Whole House Repiping
The first major service we’re going to discuss is whole house re-piping, which as the name suggests, is when we disconnect and remove (or bypass) all the supply and drain lines in your home and ultimately replace them.
There are several aspects of a whole house re-pipe where the cost of the overall job is completely variable. The number of bathrooms, total size of the house, ease of access to your pipes, and the type of material you choose to re-pipe with will all be factor in determining the price of your re-pipe job.
LOW-END WHOLE HOUSE RE-PIPE $4,500 – 6,000
(under optimal conditions, with PEX supply pipes)
AVERAGE WHOLE HOUSE RE-PIPE $ 20,000
(average 3 or 4-bathroom home, copper supply pipes, with difficult access to pipes)
HIGH-END WHOLE HOUSE RE-PIPE $30,000+
(with all the bells and whistles, all copper installation, multiple floors)
Sewer Line Replacement
At number two on our Plumbing Cost Guide is the replacement of your sewer line, which carries all your “gray water” (contaminated wastewater) away from your home and into your city’s sewer system.
Here in Houston, most of the sewer lines running from our homes are made of galvanized pipe, which over times sheds its inner coating and start to rust. As the fittings at either end of the pipe begin to corrode, leaks can appear; tree roots that wrap around the sewer line begin to crush it, causing infiltration of roots in your sewer line.
Replacing a sewer pipe itself, without any other factors taken into consideration will cost you between $55 and $95 per foot of installed sewer line. On a forty-foot sewer line, that can be as low as $2,200 for materials and installation.
Sadly, falling in line with life not being fair, many variables can play absolute havoc with the plumbing cost of your sewer line replacement. In the best-case scenario, your sewer line runs its entire length beneath your lawn, only covered by soil. Quite often, your sewer line is going to run at least part of its range beneath a driveway, a patio or your expensive landscaping.
LOW-END SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT $3,500 – 6,000
(under optimal conditions, sewer line buried under soil only)
HIGH-END SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT $20,000+
(longer, more complex runs, excavation/replacement of driveways/patios)
Water Heater Replacement
The last stop for this “part one” of our plumbing cost guide is going to be something a homeowner needs to consider every seven to ten years, water heater replacement.
Tank-type water heaters are still in the majority here in Houston and replacing them isn’t very expensive. Generally, when we are called out for a water heater replacement, we like to inform the customer about the advantages of installing a tankless water heater. Tankless water heater units offer unlimited hot water on-demand, regardless of how much you use, as well as improved energy efficiency over their clunky and obsolete predecessors. Imagine how much energy is wasted keeping a fifty-gallon tank of cold water in your attic heated twenty-four-hours a day.
While a tankless water heater will cost you quite a bit more upon installation, the savings you’ll see in your home energy bills will make a sting a little easier to take.
WATER HEATER RAPLACEMENT (Tank-Type): $1,200 – $2,500
We hope that this extremely brief and minimal guide is helpful the next time you need plumbing cost information. Please, keep in mind that all the prices we’ve given are merely estimates based on the average costs of jobs that we do. This plumbing cost guide is not intended to provide you with an exact quote for the work needed in your home.
Garbage Disposal Repair And Replacement
The first service on our plumbing cost list for minor jobs is garbage disposal repair or replacement. Your garbage disposal is probably the second most used plumbing appliance in your home (slightly behind the toilet). Like many of our plumbing appliances, the garbage disposal has certain requirements for maintenance that most of us ignore. Not scraping your plates into the trash before placing them in the sink can lead to significant damage to your garbage disposal.
Try not to put the obvious “no-no’s” into your garbage disposal like beef or chicken bones (too hard, and they will break the blades), no pastas or rice (very sticky and will coagulate in your drains), and always run the water into the drain after use to allow the disposal blades to rinse off.
The garbage disposals we install today are so low-cost that they’re practically disposable themselves. There are no serviceable parts inside of a garbage disposal, aside from stainless steel blades (if so equipped) and the motor. If you find yourself having to replace those parts, chances are it will cost about the same as installing a new garbage disposal.
Average Plumbing Cost of Garbage Disposals:
NEW GARBAGE DISPOSAL: $75 – $300
- Depending on horsepower and build quality (stainless steel and greater horsepower is higher quality/more expensive).
• Cost of the actual garbage disposal unit itself, not including installation.
NEW GARBAGE DISPOSAL INSTALLATION: $450 – $1,000
- Includes the price of the garbage disposal unit, as well as professional new garbage disposal installation.
• Installation cost is essentially the same across all sizes of disposals. Your total plumbing cost will be affected by the price of the garbage disposal unit.
Toilets themselves are essentially a “set it and forget it” plumbing appliance. On their own, these porcelain thrones can have a lifespan that easily exceeds one hundred years. Unfortunately, the parts inside our toilets that control water flow and evacuation are prone to wear and tear caused by the hard water inherent to Houston.
Take the lid off your toilet tank and marvel at the feat of engineering wisdom before you. The various parts look much the same as they did when the modern toilet was introduced to American homes over a century ago. Fill valves, flappers, flush valves and the chains and rods that connect them are all susceptible to wear and tear from use, as well as the damaging effects of being soaked in water twenty-four-hours-a-day.
The various parts inside your toilet can be replaced independently of each other, but we usually recommend a complete toilet overhaul where possible.
Average Plumbing Cost of Toilet Repairs:
- REPLACEMENT OF ALL TOILET TANK COMPONENTS: $350 – $400
- REPLACEMENT OF TOILET FLANGE: $284 – $599
Drain clogs are often a recurring problem; almost always increasing in severity each time and are always a sign of a larger problem looming in your plumbing. You can usually work a drain clog loose with a coat hanger or a plumbing snake, but if you’re suffering from chronic clogs, you’re just chipping away at the problem.
The underlying cause of your clogs is most likely to be a build-up of grease and other debris, which collects in the spaces in your pipes where corrosion has started. Food waste, hair, soap and shampoo residue, human waste and years of flushed paper products all come together in one giant, gelatinous mass that first forms on the walls of your pipes, eventually narrowing the path where water can flow.
Hydro-jetting is a service offered by Nick’s Plumbing and Air Conditioning Services that takes your slow or completely stopped drain and sewer pipes and return them to like-new condition!
If you’ve ever had your house or driveway pressure washed, hydro-jetting works on the same principle. Highly pressurized jets of water are aimed at the walls of your drain and sewer pipes, effectively removing 99.9% of all grease and other debris that is causing your clogs.
Average Plumbing Cost for Hydro-Jetting:
- STANDARD HYDRO-JETTING SERVICE: $475 – $675
Why Plumbing Repairs Can Be So Costly?
The instant reaction is probably to say, the cost of hiring a plumbing company in Houston is “a lot” and it is true that a lot of plumbing jobs are costly. But an important thing to consider is that you’re not just paying for the pipes or the water heater that needs to be replaced. There is exceptionally skilled labor involved in all plumbing jobs, knowledge that is gained through a minimum two-year (or four-thousand hour) apprenticeship before a taking the state exam for their first tradesman plumbing license.
The next successive step is another two-year minimum process for acquiring their journeyman license, requiring a total of eight-thousand hours of documented experience. The final stage, the master plumbers license, can be obtained after one year with a journeyman license.
It Takes a Long Time to Get A Plumber’s License
The reason for such strict requirements is this simple; plumbing is the only industry that can flood your home, cause mold to grow, create gas leaks, and cause explosions, all by merely showing up. Every plumbing job has the potential for disaster, so the training that our plumbing technicians receive both before, and especially after acquiring their license, is ongoing and attendance is mandatory.
People in Plumbing Face Dangers Everyday
Exposure to raw sewage, mildew, heavy metals and an array of deadly chemicals are just some of the awful things a professional plumber must deal with daily. To illustrate the risks, in the last twenty years, Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning has had four plumbing technicians become sick from sewage exposure. Their downtime due to the related illnesses lasted anywhere from one to three months before they recovered, and one tech was left with a permanent condition.
Another major contributor to the cost of hiring a plumbing company in Houston is the equipment that is on the technician’s truck. Nick’s Plumbing and Air Conditioning Services operates fifteen fully stocked trucks to ensure that we can provide any customer with any service at any time. We stock each of our vehicles with the latest in diagnostic equipment, sewer cleaning tools, and all the most popular parts and fittings your appliances.
The most important point that we try to drive home to our customers and our technicians every day is that plumbing is a service industry first. Our only goal is to provide five-star service to each customer when they want it, which is usually “right now.” To provide that kind of service, you need a dedicated office staff taking the phone calls and answering customer questions.
While price is always an important consideration in any home repair job, the cost of hiring a plumbing company in Houston as opposed to a handyman is a “save now, pay later” situation that never works out well. We strive to provide a seamless customer experience from paperless invoicing, to the e-mail we send with a photo of the technician coming to your home, to the text messages we send when we’re on the way, all aimed at that five-star service goal.
Should you need pricing information for the jobs we’ve listed, or for any other plumbing service, call Nick’s Plumbing and Air Conditioning Services.
Already called another plumber? No problem, we offer second opinions as well!