Plumbing Tips

Ten Tips Homeowners Should Know

If you own a home, learning a little about your home’s plumbing will help you make simple repairs, saving the time and cost commitment you take on when hiring a plumber. Keep in mind that anything other thank a small repair requires the advice and skill of a trained plumber, but a few simple tasks are easily accomplished by the home do – it – yourself handyman.

Materials the first step. In any plumbing tasks is understanding the materials you use. Failing to use the right type of pipe can not only damage the line, but also put your home in violation of local building codes. Most water lines in homes have rigid copper piping.

This cannot be bent, so it requires soldering at joints and tees. If you have never soldered, do not risk an expensive mishap. Contact a professional to ensure that the job is done correctly. Other pipes used in homes include flexible copper, plastic PVC, ABS, PEX, and galvanized steel. Go to the hardware store and familiarize yourself with these various types of pipes before you begin any project in your home.

Fixing Leaks are the most common type of plumbing problem that the average do – it – yourself handyman attempts to fix without professional support. For faucets that leak, tightening the nut below the hand wheel can often fix the problem.

However, you can damage the valve if you tighten it too much, so proceed slowly. If you copper pipe is leaking, cut the pipe where the leak occurs, then join if back together using a union. This requires no soldering.

Considering Safety. If you feel confident in your soldering ability and attempt to repair copper piping, practice proper safety at all times. You must invest in a good pair of safety goggles, and consider protective clothing to avoid burns on your arms or legs. Always  perform these tasks when someone else is in the home with you. This ensures someone is around to seek help if an accident occurs.

When to Ask for Help. Any time your plumbing tasks include replacing a major component, such as toilet, water softener, or water heater, you need to call a plumber. Also, if you do not feel comfortable with your soldering skills or have no experience with soldering and need to repair copper pipe, call a professional. Attempting a repair that you are not comfortable with can cause expensive problems. It’s far better to hire a professional at the beginning than risk causing damage to your home.

Before You Go on Vacation:

  1. Turn off your main shut off valve to your plumbing system. Please be sure the plumbing main shut off valve is working properly. Only turn it off if nothing needs water around the home while your gone.
  1. If you can’t turn off your main plumbing shut off valve. You can shut off individual valves under your sinks, behind your toilets, at the Reverse Osmosis unit, behind the refrigerator and behind the washing machine. But only turn off the valves that are in good working order.
  1. If you turn off your plumbing main shut off valve, this is still a good time to look at all your shut off valves and supply lines under your sinks and toilets to be sure none are wet or leaking before leaving.
  1. If you have plumbing behind your refrigerator, pull the refrigerator out and check to be sure nothing is wet or corroded.
  1. Look all around your water heater and water softener. These also have their own shut off valves, that can be turned off to lessen the chance of water damage.
  1. If the water heater is in good condition, turn the thermostat to vacation on a gas water heater. On an electric water heater turn the breaker off at your main electrical breaker box, to avid wasting energy for heating water while your gone.
  1. Add water to all drains, and BioBen, if you have it, before leaving to keep them wet and avoid odors when you return.
  1. Walk around the outside of the home, make sure nothing is leaking before you leave the house.
  1. If you have a drinking water system, make sure you water drinking system is newer, as older lines on these units crack and break and are often the culprit causing water damage.
  1. Have someone come in and walk around the home to check that nothing has broken or continues to run while your gone.

During the visual review of plumbing system before you leave, none of your plumbing system should be corroded or wet, some plumbing parts will appear ok until you touch or shut them off. All parts of your plumbing should be in good working order, able to be turned on and off without breaking, and problem parts should be replaced.

Older plumbing system can fail anytime. But when you’re gone for consecutive days and something does break it will cause far more damage than when you’re home, able to spot and stop the break quickly.

When you return home, remember what areas of your plumbing system you turned off and turn them all back on. Please know that once water is turned back on you will get some bursts of air… that is normal. Leave the water run until the air blasts stop.

We want you to enjoy your vacation and come home with great memories to share, not the story of how you found water damage upon your return.

If you feel uncomfortable reviewing your plumbing system, give us a call and we’ll provide you a free home inspection. To help prevent broken plumbing and water damage while your away, just call us at 07973 – 883708. And if you need a good plumber you can count on while you’re away please keep our number handy, we are here 24/7 to help in any plumbing emergency.