Forewarned is forearmed, particularly when it comes to plumbing. Repairs can be quite costly, so it is important for you and everyone in your home to know a few plumbing basics which can save you time and money down the road. Even children as young as five can learn a few plumbing tips! Here are the top ten plumbing checks every homeowner needs to know:
1. Plumbing emergencies may require quick thinking and movement on your part or that of a family member. Everyone in your home should know where the main cutoff for the water is, just in case.
2. Learn how to read your water meter. When no one else is home and you know there is no water running, check your meter to ensure none of the dials are moving. If they are, then you may likely have a water leak somewhere. Toilets and faucets are the most likely culprits and can add a few hundred dollars a year to your water bill.
3. Check for toilet leaks by inserting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. About 20 minutes later, check the toilet bowl for any presence of color. If you do see something, there may be seepage around the flapper valve. It is an easy fix if you know there is a problem.
4. Try to drain a few gallons of water from your hot water heater tank twice a year. This ensures the valve works and allows sediment accumulating at the bottom of the tank to clear out, maximizing heating efficiency. Better yet, if you have the funds invest in a tankless water heater and watch your utility bills lower because no energy is spent keeping gallons and gallons of water hot in a storage tank. A tankless water heater heats water on demand, when you need it.
5. When your toilet looks like it might overflow, remove the tank lid and press down on the flush valve, effectively plugging the hole at the bottom of the tank. This prevents the toilet from overflowing while you determine the source of the clog causing the problem.
6. 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. So, if you are caught in a plumbing dilemma and cannot turn the valve off, you could be facing serious problems and expense.
7. 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 inconvenience an entire household by turning off the main valve to the house.
8. Keep a plunger around for clogged sinks and toilets as they are effective tools for plumbing issues.
9. Invest in a few replacement parts such as a toilet kit and rubber gaskets for those simple plumbing fixes around the home.
10. 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.