Tips to Avoid Plumbing Emergencies

Tips to Avoid Plumbing Emergencies

Plumbing emergencies can happen anytime and you should be ready to handle them. It’s important to regularly examine your plumbing system and perform preventive maintenance to save yourself from the slow, steady expense due to leaks and rips and costly repair bills. Read on for a maintenance checklist that will help you stay ahead of common plumbing issues. Plumbing maintenance (water heater and boiler) It is important to inspect and clean your boiler before the advent of winter season. Some plumbers recommend draining and cleaning of water heater annually. Some people hire professional plumbers to handle these tasks, mainly due to their technical nature. They’re even included in your plumbing fixture maintenance contract. Valves Locate all shut off valves in your house and turn them off, and then back to their original position. This would ensure that won’t get stuck in case you immediately need to shut off water. While you’re at it, also check for any sign of corrosion, which can often lead to undetected leaks. It is important to replace all valves that are not working properly. Finally, it is important that each member of your family knows where shutoff valves of the house are located, especially the main one, since this information is valuable at the time of leakage or flooding. Leaks Leaks can develop at different points in your plumbing system and should be addressed immediately to reduce chances of water wastage and flooding. It is important to periodically check for the following signs of trouble: bathtubs, soft flooring near toilers, washing machines or water heaters, soft walls, dampness inside sink cabinets, and loose tiles that could signal leakage inside the wall. You should use automatic water shut off value or some water leak detection system that can alert you in case of any leakage. Plumbing maintenance Malfunctioning or old fixtures: Generally, dishwashers, toilets, water heaters, washing machines, and boilers that are more than 12 years old are best candidates for replacement. New appliances are more water and energy efficient. You can easily check the item’s serial number since this often indicates the year it was manufactured. Some manufactures use coding techniques for indicating their manufacturing year, so you should check online to find what you should look for. Additionally, replace all old faucets with latest washer less models to save on maintenance costs. Also replace all cracked or hardened hoses on dishwashers or washers to reduce risk of rupture. The old adage, “if it’s not broken, there’s no need to fix it” doesn’t always make a sense when it comes to plumbing! So it’s much better for you to replace your old plumbing fixtures with new, more efficient models as you can save more money on your water and energy bills in addition to avoiding costly water damage repair bills. Basement flooding If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, or has a poor site drainage, you can consider installing a basement sump pump. You can also opt for water powered or battery backup sump pump as a preventive measure to take over all pumping duties if any storm knocks out power in your area. Plumbing maintenance Caulking is important and should be re-done around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilets that might allow water to penetrate the surrounding structures. If you cannot do caulking yourself, you can hire a plumber for the job. Septic If there’s a septic system in your house, persistent marshy areas in the drainage field may signal leak in your septic line. Although pumping a septic tank is an important feature of plumbing maintenance, there’s no hard and fast rule on how frequently that should be done. It depends on several factors, such as whether there’s a garbage disposal system, members in the house, system’s design, and even the temperature in your area. It’s best to consult a good septic expert to find how often you should pump your septic tank. Plumbing maintenance (drains) Clogged drainpipes can be easily avoided by regularly cleaning all your drains using an eco-friendly drain cleaner. You can clean your kitchen’s garbage disposal system by sending some crushed ice through it clean out any grease that might have accumulated inside. Also check for bubbles escaping from the drain while water is trying to go down, as this might indicate a drain vent problem. Low water pressure You can check low water pressure by running water from the tub faucet and then opening your kitchen faucet. If you feel pressure decreases as you open the second faucet, then you should call a plumber to assess the situation. Low water pressure is often caused due to sediment build up in pipes or leaks. Frozen pipes Frozen and bursting pipes during harsh winters is a issue that nobody wants, so it’s best to plan ahead of time on ways to winterize your exterior pipes and faucets against freezing conditions. The best way to accomplish it is by finding exterior water shut-off value inside your house and turning it off to stop water flow. Then open all the outside faucets to drain out all water that might have collected. Turn off the outside water faucets tightly once all the water has drained out. Since congested water or even one small hole can quickly freeze and cause water pipes to expand and burst, you should drain and open all your outdoor and household water lines. If your location experiences cold winters, then you should also install and maintain proper insulation around your water supply pipes. Take extra care with pipes that have previously frozen or are exposed to cold or wind outside. You also need to winter-proof your home. You should switch off your shut-off value or master circuit breaker before you leave your house. Being properly informed and ready for any plumbing emergency makes it much easier to avoid issues with plumbing. You are likely to make good decisions and avoid various plumbing disasters if you learn some things about this subject. Any homeowner who knows something about plumbing can easily fix issues before they become a major crises. Whether you perform all these maintenance checks yourself or hire a plumber to handle them, it’s worthwhile investment of your money and time. By taking preventative measures, you can greatly reduce the chances of costly surprises down the road....


Tips to Make your Home Emergency Kit

Tips to Make your Home Emergency Kit

Although we hope you may never need it, it’s important to spend sometime to make your home emergency kit. In case of sudden disaster, such as floor, hurricane, or a long power outage strikes, your normal lifestyle could be turned upside down. It does not too long to come up with a plan to cope with emergency situations, and gathering essential supplies is actually a fairly easy thing to do (it becomes hard, though, once the crises hits!) In general, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends being always ready for emergencies in the basic areas like food, water, sanitation, first aid supplies, clothing, tools, bedding, and some special items. Water You should have 4-8 days supply on hand. So, best way to go is to estimate your needs at approx one gallon/per person a day, with half of the water being used for hygiene and another half for drinking. You should also keep water purification tablets ready. Food Keep at least a 3 days supply of easy to prepare, non-perishable foods. Do not store salty foods to limit your thirst. Freeze dried foods such as granola bars, dried fruits, non-perishable high energy foods and beef jerky work well. Canned food items such as soups and meats, canned vegetables and fruits, and fruit juices are also good choices. You should also keep a good can opener to access these items. Also, some items like jelly and peanut butter, canned nuts, hard candy, and vitamins are great to have on hand, and can be very comforting during disasters. Of course, you should periodically check for supply’s expiration dates and remove everything that is past their expiry date. As you stock your food items, you should take into account your family’s tastes and needs. Familiar foods work well. They give a feeling of security and lift morale in times of stress. Try to include all foods that your family will enjoy and are high in nutrition and calories. Foods that do not require water, refrigeration, cooking or special preparation are great. Kitchen supplies to have on hand include: manual can opener, utensils for eating, aluminum foil, and disposable bowls and plates, household bleach, re-sealable plastic bags, garbage bags, and paper towels. Red Cross advises, that all those with special diets will need particular attention, as will toddlers, babies, and the elderly. (Important baby supplies could include bottles, diapers and formula, baby food and diapers.) Canned dietetic foods can be helpful for elderly or ill people. First Aid Kit To prevent infections and treat cuts, have antibiotic cream or peroxide available. Also, you should include different gauze and sizes of bandages, and a medical tape for fastening. Other necessities include gloves, tweezers, scissors, burn ointment, pain relievers, and a first aid manual. Dust masks are a good idea as well, since you can protect yourself from debris or dust in air. You should also keep moistened towlettes as they make it easy for you to stay clean. Medications You should keep ready at least 7 days of essential medicines that your family needs, along with necessary backup such as contact lenses, eye glasses, or hearing aids with extra batteries. * Sanitation / Bedding/ Clothing-Basics to have on hand include: paper towels, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, femininie supplies and other personal hygiene items which you regularly need. Also anticipate your clothing and bedding needs as per your local climate. It is important to have the following for each person: sleeping bags or blankets, extra clothing, sturdy shoes and a hat. Insect repellants, rain gear, and sun screen is also helpful. Tools and Equipment It is a great idea to keep a hand crank or battery powered radio in your survival kit. There should also be a NOAA Weather Radio in your kit. Of course, you need to keep an extra supply of batteries. Actually, it’s best to have a model that works both with solar power supply and battery. You can also use some models to charge your cell phones. Extra batteries and flashlights are important for your supply kit. Lights are not only comforting but also vital for your safety. Avoid open flames or candles which can be disastrous if flammable leaks are there on your property. A pliers or a wrench is also helpful, since you might have to turn off your utilities. Duct tape is also useful in daily life and you should keep one in your emergency kit as well. Also keep a roll of plastic sheeting that can be used to construct a temporary shelter or to seal window openings. Keep ample supply of matches in a water-proof container, especially if you have a wood stove or a fireplace that you can operate safely. Make sure you have adequate supply of firewood as well. Specialty Items Keep copies of personal documents (medical information, medication lists, birth certificates, deed or lease to home, insurance policies), photocopies of credit cards and identification, investment account details, passports, family photos, and contact information for relavites, friends, emergency numbers. Keep all this information in a portable, water proof container. You may also need some of the following miscellaneous items: Whistle to signal for help Cell phone chargers. If possible have a solar power source. Extra house and car keys Extra cash Entertainment items such as games, books, puzzles, pen and paper Pet needs -food, extra water and medicine Map of your area Camera so you can document damage to your property. Full tank of gas in your vehicle Red Cross Tel: 1-866-GET-INFO will also access the American Red Cross where you can get Red Cross Ready checklists. They are very helpful and are completely free. FEMA- The Federal Emergency Management Agency, also offers a helpful list on its website, called Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Kit. Local communities and individual states also have their own websites on this topic, with specifics on local climate, needs and challenges. Whether you’ve experienced serious emergencies in the past or have been fortunate enough to avoid these types of situations, it’s important to be prepared such eventualities in the future. Sometimes these situations can be very stressful and can even change people’s lives, long after the event. It is absolutely worth taking an hour or two when you’re free to put together an emergency supply kit....