Being a responsible homeowner and a parent comes with certain responsibilities. As we all know maintaining a good and healthy home environment is a must. In this regard one should learn to handle some basic issues like for instance attending to random plumbing issues. Given that we cannot be specialists in everything the first and foremost advice towards handling plumbing problems is to pay close attention to the prevention techniques. In most instances (serious) plumbing emergencies in the average home can be avoided through a little bit of inexpensive, timely maintenance. Regular check-ups of your home’s plumbing system (even when they seem unnecessary) will make all the difference between a full scale home flooding, or avoiding all that can go wrong. Here are some basic, yet highly effective tips that should give you some extra peace of mind:
- Shut off water from your main supply valve when going away for more than one or two days (the main valve is usually situated near or next to your water meter).
- Make sure your sink and tub drains are clean as a whistle and working properly, this is very easy and simple, yet many plumbing emergencies are caused by clogged drains.
- Drain your water heater once every twelve months, have the appliance checked, especially if it is aging.
- Prep your home’s plumbing for cold weather and subzero temperatures, especially if you plan to be away for the holidays and water will not be flowing through the system.
- Have your water operated appliances checked by specialists; believe it or not flooding can be caused by anything from your washing machine, to the icemaker of your fridge.
It is important to remember that water pressure problems can also cause serious issues, more so many home insurers will not allow for such damage to be part of the claim in the case of an insurance event, as failing to repair and deal with water pressure issues is considered owners’ fault. Generally, there are two types of water that can cause damage to your home. Indeed, all water is wet, but the damage caused by fresh water is quite different to the damage caused by used water. In the case of fresh water plumbing emergencies, one can expect rapid flooding with possible structural damage too. This is so because fresh water comes into your home under pressure, and bursts, ruptures and breaks can quickly release massive amounts of pressurised fresh water. When the plumbing emergency has been caused by used water, one is faced with the problem of toxic or hazardous content water spilling throughout their home. On the same note, chemicals such as solvents and detergents which are also commonly found in used domestic water can further complicate matters and cause more extensive damage. No matter what the type of plumbing emergency, or how much water is getting spilled inside, every member of your household (including children) must know how to shut off your home’s water supply from the main valve which is usually located near or next to the water meter. The main shut off valve can be opened or closed with an Allen wrench, though there are also lever operated valves which are easy to use for everyone. In order to make sure the valve is not stuck and ready for use at any one time, every two or three months the valve must be shut and then opened again, in most instances this will suffice. On certain occasions the plumbing disasters are out of our control and we are obliged to call in a professional. However, the least thing that we can do is to try to understand the source of the problem in hand. The following tips and bits of advice are simple enough, and easy to understand for both mums and dads, so you should have no trouble recognising common flaws and arising issues with your home’s plumbing system.
- Funny noises and howling sounds coming from pipes when you open or close a tap – this is an easy to notice issue, and is usually caused by a phenomenon known as water hammer. Presence of water hammer indicates that certain sections of pipework, including pipe supports are deteriorating and must be checked by specialist plumbers.
- If fresh water coming out of taps is any other colour than crystal clear, or it has a strange smell to it, chances are you are dealing with a broken or ruptured pipe at the supply level. Do not use tap water for drinking until the problem is solved.
- Damp patches on your concrete floor, ‘weeping’ walls and other similar occurrences are a sure sign that a water supply pipe has ruptured underneath ground zero level of your home. In such situations, the sooner you contact a plumber the better, as such problems can quickly affect your home’s foundations and be the cause of structural damage.
- Plumbing emergencies caused by sewage (dirty) water coming out of your home are also very common. The main cause for these is usually a blockage which then results in what’s commonly known as backup – dirty water overflowing from toilets and drains. Indeed, this is quite an unpleasant issue to deal with, but the sooner you call in a plumber the better since most of the time the blockage is further down the sewage pipe i.e. beyond the point of your toilet.
Simple, yet timely preventative measures are essential when looking to protect your residence from plumbing disasters. Regular, qualified inspections must take place at least once every six months, or at least when there are signs of something going wrong. Don’t cut corners with your home’s plumbing maintenance and repair, as the risk of potential plumbing accidents and emergencies increases greatly. Compromising your home’s integrity and your family’s comfort is simply not worth it.