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When you own a home, you have to take on a lot of different responsibilities. Many of those responsibilities require a good amount of knowledge and experience, which is why it’s important to get professional help. When it comes to your plumbing system, you can help avoid expensive calls to your plumber by understanding how things work and what you can do to keep everything running smoothly. If you don’t know the first thing about the plumbing system in your home, here are some of the plumbing basics every homeowner should know.
Shut Off Valve
If there’s one thing every homeowner should know about their home, it’s where the main water shut off valve is. When there’s an emergency that could cause serious water damage if left unchecked, this shut off valve stops the flow of water and keeps things somewhat dry. If you don’t know where your shut off valve is, you should locate it now or have a professional help you find it.
In most homes, the shut off valve is located in the basement. If you don’t have a basement, your shut off valve may be located underneath the kitchen sink. Regardless of where the valve is, it’s important to know that information so you can create a plan of action in case of a plumbing emergency.
Depending on the plumbers who plumbed your home initially, there may be shut off valves for individual fixtures and appliances in your home. While this isn’t required, it’s a nice luxury to have when you don’t want to shut water off to your entire home. If you want to be completely prepared for an emergency, you should check to see whether or not you have any individual shut off valves as well.
One of the most important things to understand if you want to avoid costly calls to a plumber is how to take good care of your drains. While this might seem fairly straightforward, chances are you’ve been doing some things completely wrong.
Kitchen sinks are a common spot for drain issues because of all the food that goes down the drain. As tempting as it might be to rely on your garbage disposal to help you get rid of food, it’s important to minimize the food that goes down the kitchen sink.
As far as your toilet goes, flushable wipes are the main culprit. Even though companies say you can flush these wipes, they don’t really break down in your pipes and will eventually cause a clog.
If you do have a clog in your sink or toilet, it’s important to use the right stuff to unclog it. While a lot of people use Drano or other chemical-based drain cleaners, plumbers recommend using an enzyme-based cleaner that eats away at the clog without simultaneously eating away at the pipe you’re trying to unclog.
If you want to prevent serious water damage in your Albemarle, NC, home, it’s important to make sure you’re properly preparing for the winter. Even though it doesn’t tend to get extremely cold in the area, the change in temperature can still cause some pretty major problems for your plumbing system.
The most important thing to do to make sure your plumbing is ready for winter is keeping pipes from freezing. When temperatures drop, pipes that are poorly insulated or in a cold area of your home may freeze. When the water in a pipe freezes, it expands and can crack the pipe. When the water thaws, it will flow freely out of the broken pipe and into the wall or crawlspace.
The best way to prevent frozen pipes is to have a plumber help you insulate them. This may mean properly insulating that part of the wall or wrapping insulation around the pipe itself. If that still doesn’t keep your pipes from freezing, you might need to have a plumber wrap heat tape around the pipe to keep water temperatures above freezing.
Pipe & Fixture Age
If you plan on staying in your home for a while, you need to understand how the pipes and fixtures in your home age with time. As is the case with most things, the plumbing in your home won’t last forever. Knowing about how long each pipe and fixture should last is the best way to make sure you’re staying on top of any problems.
As far as pipes go, it depends on what the plumbers installed in your home. Brass supply lines can last anywhere from 40 to 70 years, while copper lines tend to last about 50 years. Galvanized steel is a bit worse, with the average lifespan being between 20-50 years. Cast iron drain lines are only designed to last about 75 to 100 years. If your pipes haven’t been replaced since your home was built 50 years ago, now might be a good time to replace them.
Similarly, the fixtures in your home are only designed to last so long. Even if you have a plumber fix your water heater, you’re still only going to get around 8 to 12 years out of it. If you have a problem with your water heater and it hasn’t been replaced in a decade, it’s probably not worth spending money to have it repaired.
The Easy Solution
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to keep your home in good shape. If there’s a problem with your plumbing system, the easiest thing to do is call a plumber and have them check it out.
If you’ve got a plumbing problem in Albemarle, NC, Pride Plumbing is here to help. Not only can we figure out what your problem is, we can get it fixed for an affordable price. If you’ve got a bad pipe or a fixture that’s on its way out, call Pride Plumbing at (704) 982-5027 today.