The mechanical system in your home is actually a flood waiting to happen.
Think about it for a moment, water is a natural resource and it sustains every living thing including you on this big blue planet of ours. When properly installed and routed in your home, water aids you in everything you do; from cooking your meals, to cleaning your home. And much more, you use water for just about everything.
Water is also a purifier and can cause severe damage to our home and health if your plumbing is not properly maintained. All you have to do is look at the most recent hurricane “Sandy,”that slammed into the east coast
Much like your automobile your plumbing system needs bi-annual maintenance check-ups, regularly.
You probably already know this however, when was the last time you check your plumbing system? 6 months ago? 1 year ago? 2 years ago?
Oh, please don’t tell me it has been longer than that… if it has please continue reading because in just a few moments your going see that I have included a 10 point check list that every home owner (that’s you) & family members need to know and this list could very well save you a couple of hundred if not Thousands of dollars of costly home repairs.
When I was in grade school we use to have out of the blue, exercise drills for:
- Earth quakes
- Tornado’s and believe it or not
- a bomb attack
As a responsible home owner it is up to you to educate yourself, your spouse, kids (bet you didn’t know even children as young as five can learn a few plumbing tips too!) Let’s not forget your pets…
Okay, just kidding on that last one: Fido, would probably think a broken water supply was his own personal hydrant.
All kidding aside, being forewarned is forearmed, particularly when it comes to your homes plumbing system.
Repairs can be quite costly especially if you have to replace a cabinet or part of your floor, so it is important for you and everyone in your home to know a few plumbing basics which can save you time and ton’s of money down the road.
Earlier, I promised you a 10 point plumbing check-list to keep your investment safe and your insurance company happy…
10 point plumbing check list every homeowner needs to know:
When plumbing emergencies arise it will require quick thinking and a little faster movement on your part or that of a family member that notices the emergency.
This is where home drill practices like the school “fire drills” could save you a bundle & possibly your home.
1. Everyone in your house hold should be familiar where the main shut-off valve for the water supply to your home is located. The most general area is by your hot water heater.
It could be in the wall with the handle sticking out. Or the main shut off valve could also be down by the floor or even in the ceiling. If you can’t find it then you may need to call a plumber to investigate.
I have seen main cut-off valves under the home in the crawl space. This is not a good location because when something goes wrong your home could have several inches on the floor by the time you get to the valve.
2. When no one else is home and you know there is no water running, check your water meter outside to ensure none of the dials are moving. If they are, then you may likely have a water leak somewhere.
Toilet and faucet leaks are the #1 culprits and can add hundreds of dollars a year to your water bill.
3. Check for toilet leaks by inserting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Wait 20 minutes and check the toilet bowl for any presence of color. If you do see something, there may be seepage around the flapper valve.
This is an easy fix & cost less than $10.00 if you do it yourself.
4. When your toilet looks like it might overflow, remove the tank lid and press down on the flapper effectively plugging the hole at the bottom of the tank. This prevents the toilet from overflowing while you reach over and turn the stop valve off.
Determine the source of the clog causing the problem. If you have a toilet auger, then this is the time to use it or a plunger. If you have children watch for toys that may have lodge itself in the trap or on the flange itself.
5. Keep all water and drain valves operational by opening and closing them at least twice a year. If you do not do this, a valve may freeze up over time. If you are caught in a plumbing dilemma and cannot turn the valve off, you could be facing serious problems and expense.
6. Learn where the stop valves are for the faucets and toilets in your home. This allows you to turn off water at the problem source rather than inconveniencing an entire household by turning off the main valve to the house.
7. Keep a plunger around for clogged sinks and toilets as they are effective tools for plumbing issues.
8. Invest in a few replacement parts such as a toilet kit and rubber gaskets for those simple plumbing fixes around the home.
9. Avoid chemical drain cleaners for removing clogs. Instead use a plunger or invest in a roto rooter tool called an auger, nickname “snake,” for those tough obstructions in plumbing pipes.
10. Try to drain a few gallons of water from your hot water heater tank twice a year. This ensures the valve works and also allows sediment accumulating at the bottom of the tank to clear out, maximizing heating efficiency.
Be sure not to drain the water from the T&P valve located on the top or side of the water heater. If you have an electric water heater shut off the breaker powering your water heater before continuing.
Get a water hose and attach it to the valve located at the bottom of the water heater. Then run the hose to a floor drain or a 5 gallon bucket.
The water you drain out may look milky. This just means that you have hard water. You can spend $5 for a water hardness test kit at your local Lowe’s or plumbing supply shop. If your hardness test shows more than 10 then it may be a good idea to budget for a water conditioner.