Whether you’re buying a new home, or making improvements on your current home, there are a myriad of factors to consider. These include: the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the style of home, the size of the backyard, and whether the neighbourhood has good schools and amenities. However, the most important consideration (the one furthest from our minds) is maintaining the plumbing system.
Regardless of whether you’re a home owner or tenant, major plumbing repairs blow a huge hole in the household budget; potentially setting you back thousands of dollars. To prevent the anguish and save your wallet, here are 10 things every homeowner or tenant should know about their plumbing system.
1. Know where water comes into your home and how to shut it off
If a major leak occurs, it is essential to know where the main shut-off valve is located (it is astounding how many tenants are unsure of this). Knowing how to shut off your water ahead of time can save you time and stress, not to mention money from any water damage which may occur.
2. Know where your gas supply is located and how to shut it off
Gas leaks are not to be taken lightly. If you ever smell gas, turn off the shutoff valve immediately and call your gas company for assistance. Knowing where the shutoff valve is located is vital, as anything can happen in the time it takes the gas company to come to your home.
3. Ensure all taps have an accessible emergency shutoff
Knowing where the emergency shutoff valve is located can prove very helpful if you’re ever faced with an overflowing toilet or local fixture repair. Ensuring you regularly check the condition of the valves is equally important, as it can prevent any future problems. Get a replacement if you notice a small leak, or your shutoff valve is outdated.
4. Know whether you use a city sewer or septic waste system
If you use a city sewer waste system, you are responsible for the drain pipes leading from your home to the city sewer main. You should know the point of entry and where your lateral line runs from your home to that point. If you use a septic system, know its location and subject it to regular maintenance (at least once every three years). If not, your backyard could flood with wastewater.
5. Ensure your drains are accessible and subjected to regular cleaning
Sewer cleanouts are just as important as emergency shut-off valves. To avoid potential hazards, such as drain clogs or mainline stoppages, ensure you clean your drains regularly.
6. Know your water pressure and temperature
If the water coming out of your taps is too hot, it can scold skin within seconds. While high pressure can cause water hammering and major pipe bursts. Make sure your plumber checks these vitals at every visit.
7. Know which type of pipes you have and how old they are
Galvanized or clay pipes (typically used in older piping) can corrode or rot. If your pipes are made of these materials, you should replace them. Newer piping materials such as PVC, copper or PEX are made to last. To make your plumber’s next inspection much easier, know which type of piping you have and how old it is.
8. Know which type of water heater you have and how old it is
Most water heaters have a lifespan of 8-10 years. If your water heater is within this age bracket or older, consider replacing it.
9. Make sure there are no water leaks
Damage caused by water leaks is difficult and costly to repair. Check for signs of water damage around your home, and fix any leaks you find promptly.
10. Know what the inside of your pipes look like
To see the inside of your pipes, ask your plumber to perform a quick camera inspection. An inspection can easily detect problems such as: root intrusion or sludge-dogged drains. Learning the severity of these threats, detecting them early and taking immediate action once they take hold, is the best course of action. Otherwise, you may end up with an emergency you can’t handle, like a cracked pipe or a backed-up bathtub.