Top Plumbing Tips for the Homeowner
Any field has essential tricks of the trade that help to make processes more efficient and improve outcomes. This article covers some of the top plumbing tips for someone who is not a professional plumber.
- Prevent large materials from draining. Many plumbing problems can be prevented by minimizing materials that go down the drain such as food or hair. Investing in affordable drain stoppers or sink strainers can save a lot of money, time, and hassle down the road.
- Do not flush baby wipes. Normal baby wipes should not be flushed down the toilet. These are not able to break down and can end up clogging the toilet drain. Use regular toilet paper or flushable toilet wipes instead.
- Keep pipes warm in cold months. The last thing any homeowner wants is to turn their water on in winter and realize that the pipes are frozen. Make sure to run small heaters near the pipes and disconnect outdoor hoses when the weather is freezing.
- Regular check faucets for leaks. Leaky faucets waste a lot of water, money, and can slowly loosen over time. By checking for leaks, especially in rarely used faucets or spickets, you will be able to correct for minor problems before there is a major leak.
- Prevent hard water damage. Hard water corrodes metal pipes and makes appliances need replaced sooner than expected. Running a little vinegar with the dishwashing cycle will help to counteract the hard water in the dishwasher, cleaning your hot water heater once a year will remove unnecessary sediment, and investing in a rented or purchased whole house water softener are all ways to reduce the effects of hard water.
- Caulk or recaulk when necessary. Caulking is one of the first lines of defense against leaks. When caulking cracks, it must be reapplied in order to create a tight seal. Take off the old caulking and then reapply new caulking in a clean and straight line.
- Monitor water usage. Oftentimes, the only way to know that there is a major issue is to take notice of normal water usage. That way when an unexpected surge in water usage occurs, you know that it is probably due to a leak or running water somewhere.
While there are as many plumbing problems as there are ways to imagine them, these problems can frequently be prevented by taking proactive steps. Follow the seven tips stressed here to save headaches and expenses down the road.
Rooters on Time is a Northridge-based family owned plumbing company. We provide commercial and residential plumbing services to great Los Angeles area.
A home emergency can be anything from a burst pipe to a broken boiler. During the time of the emergency it can be very demanding. Most people usually take out home emergency cover, most home emergency companies usually cover you for things like broken boilers, lost keys, plumbing or drainage issues, electrics, appliance problems and much more. You can take out home emergency cover for less than £10 per month and it usually comes optional to your home insurance plan.
The great thing about home emergency cover is that you can ring the helplines 24/7 and they usually are very reliable in solving the problem. The call out will not be charged and the labour costs will usually be free, some companies pay for the parts but with others the bill goes to you.
Tip: “Some Companies try to tie you into 1000 month contracts and you may only use them once”
Electrical emergencies can occur from things as little as faulty plug sockets, loose wires, faulty lights, sockets near water, having wet hands, extension leads burning out and much more. Having a good knowledge in what to do during an electrical emergency can play a vital role in ensuring you and your families safety. If you live in a rented property then you should make sure that your landlord or estate agent carries out electrical safety checks in your home every 5 years, and when you first move into the property.
For those of you who own your house, you should have your electrics tested when you first move into the property and then every 10 years from then on out. For businesses you should have a electrical safety inspection every 5 years from when you move into the business location (carried out by either yourself or the owner of the building).
If you are ever faced with an Electrical emergency then it is crucial you know what to do. Firstly if you are ever faced with a dangerous electrical emergency then switch off the power to the entire house by flipping the main breaker, if the electrical fault hasn’t already tripped the electrics. The main breaker is usually a double width switch located at the top of the service panel.
< Main Breaker
The next step would be to contact your home emergency cover broker and make them aware of the electrical fault. They will then send one of their engineers as soon as they can. On the other hand if you rent you can contact your estate agents, landlord or the emergency contact number they provide you with and they will arrange for the emergency to be fixed. If you own or rent your home and cannot get in contact with your landlord or insurance provider or if you do not have home care cover, you can arrange for your own emergency electrician to call out to your property. Most companies provide 24 hour emergency electricians and operate 365 days per year. Some companies with cheaper rates than others. The best emergency electricians attend to your emergency quickly and provide rapid response in as little as 30 minutes.
Tip: Remember to check if the electrician is qualified and if you are unsure then contact the scheme they claim to be part of and they will tell you if the engineer is qualified.
Plumbing emergencies can occur for all types of reasons. Old pipes corroding away and causing leaks, burst pipes, pipes that you accidently put a screw through. Plumbing emergencies can also be water dripping through the ceiling or a blocked toilet, a leaking washing machine to a broken tap. Keeping on top of your plumbing maintenance is crucial because we use most of our appliances on a daily basis and this can cause a large amount of stress over a year. It is recommended that you have a Plumbing maintenance check at least once a year and this can be done either through your landlord or letting agent, it can also be done through some emergency home insurance cover company’s.
On an annual visit from your plumber they will usually check a number of things around your home such as:
- Water Heater
- Supply Line
- Shut off valves
- Washing Machines
- Sump Pumps
They will generally be searching for any corrosion, leaks or blockages in any of your pipes. In the case of a plumbing emergency it is important you know what to do, and where to look. If you are faced with a leak of any type it is important to shut off your main stop valve. The stop valve is located in different places in most homes and you will be looking for one of the two, a “Gate Valve”- Gate Valves are reliable and last for years “Ball Valve”- Most houses have these, be aware they are open when the handle is aligned with the pipe and closed when the handle is at a right angle to the pipe.
It is important to shut off all water using your main valves and then contact the necessary person or company. You can find most emergency plumbers online and when you are searching late at night be sure to look for 24 hour emergency plumbers to be certain you get an answer.
Tip: Find a company who provide rapid response and make sure to get an ETA so you aren’t waiting all night for nobody to show up
Gas emergencies are by far the most dangerous. More than 4 million homes are an accident waiting to happen according to studies from the gas safe register. Gas fires are the largest risk whilst 1 in 11 gas emergencies are boiler related and 1 in 13 are gas oven related. Gas emergencies can be anything from gas leaks, carbon monoxide alarm ringing and faulty appliances such as gas boilers, heaters, fires and cookers.
Carbon monoxide is very dangerous as it has no smell and it is not visible to the naked eye. It takes special equipment to identify a carbon monoxide leak but there are some things you can keep an eye out for. The pilot light on your boiler continually blowing out, an orange or yellow flame rather than a blue one, a scorched area on a appliance, a musty smell or signs of soot and there being more condensation than usual on the windows. It is essential that you have a carbon monoxide detector fitted in your home to ensure you capture the problem early.
Whenever your alarms start ringing and you have either a gas emergency or carbon monoxide emergency then it is necessary to turn off the main gas shut off valve. This can be located before your gas meter. Usually when the long sided handle is parallel with the gas pipe then this means it is on, and when the handle is at a 90 degree angle with the pipe this means it is off. Below is an image of a standard gas shut off valve.
- Gas Shut Off Valve (Image Source)
Knowing where your valve is prior to your emergency is very important. Providing you know how to turn off all gas will help the emergency be as damage and danger free as possible.
Regular gas safety checks should be carried out by a registered Gas Safe Engineer through either your Landlord/Landlady, your estate agents, home insurance broker or yourself. Depending on your energy supplier you may be eligible for a free gas safety check in which the engineer will check all appliances and flues and all exhausts. If you are requiring your own gas engineer for a safety check or you require a 24 hour gas engineer for an emergency or just some assistance then you can find 24 hour gas engineers on the internet and various websites.
Knowing where all your stop valves and switches for water, gas and electrics is important prior to having the emergency, you should find out this information when you first move into the property. If you have home cover it will make your process cheaper at the time but most likely dearer in the long run. 24 Hour emergency Electricians, Gas Engineers and Plumbers can all be called out 24 hours a day using Multicore Helpline.
As well as Electrical, Gas and Plumbing emergencies they also have emergency engineers on call for oil boilers and locksmith emergency. So if you do not have a home emergency insurance cover, then phone Multicore and they will be more than happy to assist you throughout the whole process.
Multicore Helpline: 07707088883
How To Do A Quick Gas Safety Check In Your Home
Ensuring you and all your family or friends are safe is what is most important, gas explosions can happen for a number of reasons, faulty boilers to leaking gas pipes. It is crucial you get your home checked regularly and under the correct guidelines to guarantee safety for all your loved ones.
There are a few things you can do yourself to make sure your home is safe and sound. The video below is brought to you by the good people over at the gas safe register and includes a lot of great tips and pointers to ensure your home is fully safe.
Phill Brewster covers some essential points in the video, but even after following his steps, it is vital to have your home checked by a registered gas engineer. If you live in a rented property, make sure the landlord is carrying out the correct procedures in order to ensure your safety.
If you own your home or even have somebody living in a property of yours, always ensure the property is safe by following the steps above. For any un certainties you may be having you can visit Multicore Nationals free emergency helpline on 07707088883.