Basic Plumbing Tips for Parents

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 tapthis 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.

About the author

The Parent Connection is a non-profit parenting support group sponsored by Scripps Health. Since 1980, The Parent Connection has been bringing San Diego families together to provide support, share experiences and information, enjoy social activities and build lasting relationships. Parent Connection annual special events are a great way to socialize with other members. And our membership benefits include group discounts to California theme parks and attractions, which more than cover the cost of annual membership. Join now!


  1. Deanna R. Jones says:

    I have a five year old who likes to keep the water running for several minutes at a time, and flush a variety of oddities down the toilet. The plumbing repair costs have been piling up. It’s good to know that I should shut my water off from the main supply when I’m out for a few days. I didn’t know that keeping a clean sink and tub can help keep my plumbing working properly. Thanks for the tips. They should help to keep my plumbing working with few repairs.

  2. Laila says:

    These are good warning signs to look out for as a parent. When you have children, it is hard to know what is just a mess, and what is actually something that is wrong. There are a lot of people that would pass off a damp floor as just a mess if they didn’t know that there could be a leak in the pipes. It would be good to catch that early so the plumber could fix it without much delay.

  3. Joseph Russell says:

    It is important to do regular plumbing maintenance at any house and even more so if you have kids at home. Regular maintenance and plumbing leak repair can help minimize the chances of plumbing emergencies and the expenses caused by it and the risks of safety, especially for small kids. Some basic tips on plumbing must be known by everyone, including parents to make sure that they are not shocked by a sudden plumbing emergency.

  4. Pancho Cham says:

    I’m going on vacation with my family for 2 weeks soon, and I have had a couple people tell us to turn off our water while we’re gone. After reading I would think that it would be a good idea. Being gone for so long, I would make sure to turn it off so nothing could burst and flood.

  5. Regular plumbing maintenance is must if kids are at our home. Basic tips of plumbing are very helpful for parents. Thanks for sharing this!!

    • Nearly all your plumbing problems are due to wear-and-tear, which is why functioning plumbing requires regular maintenance. Other plumbing problems arise from building-related issues, such as building age, foundation settling/shifting, and outdated, poorly performing construction materials used during a certain time period.

  6. Deedee Lewis says:

    I didn’t realize discoloring and weird smells from taps had anything to do with a broken pipe, but it would definitely require getting a plumber to get it fixed. My sister has a daughter that is really good at getting her hands into things she shouldn’t be messing with, like the faucet in their home. I can imagine that one of these days it would be easy for her to play with the taps until something unfortunate happens, then they would really be needing a plumber.

  7. Ryan Nelson says:

    Really good tips. In the general vein of disseminating quality plumbing knowledge, we assembled a list of the top 5 plumbing blogs.

    Lots of good info and tips, helping you to do a lot of home repair fixes for free.

  8. These are great plumbing tips for parents especially for those who have toddlers at home.

  9. Dave M. says:

    What a cool list of tips! Having the basic knowledge of how to turn off the water is very important. Many homeowners, especially parents should know at least the basics.. I’m sure any plumber or plumbing company would agree with this post.

  10. Thanks for the information on how to do basic plumbing and what every parent should know. My wife and I are not very good at plumbing and do not even know how to shut off our water main supply. I think that we should bring someone over to help us understand how to work our plumbing. Thanks again!

  11. It’s a very nice blog. Thanks for sharing the information regarding turnoff the tap in houses. I was also not knowing to turnoff the main line of water supply, but after reading this blog a got some idea of doing this stuff.. Thank You!

  12. plumbritellc says:

    I read your post properly. I know about plumbing tips. It’s most important for us. Thank you for giving your best information.

  13. Interesting information! I really impressed to read the information that you have shared with us. Keep doing the great work up.

  14. Jimmy says:

    Awesome job with the blog. Always filled with great tips. Keep up the good work!

  15. Marcus says:

    Great plumbing info for all home owners. They all should know basics like this. Is it ok if I share this on my facebook page?

  16. Thanks for providing some tips for parents in regards to plumbing. I hadn’t considered that it’s important to start preparing a home’s plumbing for cold weather, especially if you will be away for the holidays. To be honest, I’d be interested in learning more about the preparation for this and what tricks parents can do to make sure that their system remains in good condition.

  17. Gary G. Noe says:

    This was an awesome read thanks for sharing some top tips.
    Keep sharing more blogs with more useful information.

  18. Thanks for talking about water pressure in relation to plumbing leaks. I am planning on adding onto my house soon, so I will have to keep this in mind. I know that adding another bathroom will change the pressure in my system. I will make sure to monitor this closely over the next little while. Thanks again!


Leave a Comment

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design