Choosing a plumber doesn’t have to be an intimidating task. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, read online reviews, and make sure they offer a warranty on their work.
One thing most plumbers wish every homeowner knew is where their main plumbing shut off valve is located. This allows homeowners to keep the cost of repairs down by not letting a problem get out of control.
Know the Parts of Your Plumbing System
A plumbing system is one of the most important parts of a house or commercial space. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to shower, wash your hands, flush the toilet or use any other fixtures in your home or office. The plumbing system consists of pipes, valves, fittings and other devices that connect all the water-related fixtures in your home or building.
There are three major parts to a plumbing system: the supply, drainage and venting systems. The supply system brings in freshwater from the main line, pumps it under pressure to your household fixtures, then drains waste water into the sewer lines. The venting system keeps the two systems separate so that wastewater doesn’t contaminate the potable water supply.
The water service lines, which are buried underground and made of copper, cast iron or galvanized steel, connect your home to the main water line. These pipes are usually insulated to prevent freezing and hot water from leaking out. The main pipe from the city or town connects to these pipes and then to each fixture in your home or office.
Your household fixtures are the plumbing components that connect to the pipes, such as sinks, toilets and water heaters. These fixtures require an ongoing supply of freshwater and also need to be regularly inspected for leaks, damage and other problems.
A good plumber can assess your fixtures and recommend any fixes. However, a homeowner can do some basic plumbing inspections with a few tools. For example, you can get a strap wrench that has a rubber-coated handle for gripping objects and is used for loosening and tightening round objects like pipes. You can also use a pair of tongue and groove pliers, which have a unique head design that allows you to easily slip them into tight spaces, such as behind a sink or under a toilet.
Inspect Your Pipes Carefully
Plumbing problems can be very disruptive. Not only do they waste water, but they can cause costly damage to your home. Thankfully, many of these issues are preventable with routine inspections and regular maintenance. In the event that a problem does arise, it is important to know what to look for so that you can contact a plumber at the first sign of trouble.
The best place to start when inspecting your plumbing is with the drains. You can check for rust, corrosion and built-up debris by running some simple tests. First, test the drainage by filling and emptying every sink, bathtub and toilet in your house at the same time. If the drains take a long time to empty, there may be a clog that needs to be cleaned. You can also test the drains for a strong sewer smell and by looking for discolored water that may indicate a leak in your plumbing.
If you are selling your home, it’s a good idea to have your plumbing checked professionally before the closing date. A licensed plumber can provide you with a comprehensive plumbing inspection and offer advice on how to fix any issues. This will prevent potential problems from derailing the home sale or costing you thousands of dollars in repair costs down the road.
A professional plumber will also check the size of your pipes to ensure adequate water pressure and will be able to tell you if you have lead pipes in your home, which are a potential environmental hazard. They will also be able to recommend low-flow fixtures, which can help you save money on your water bills. Leaking and clogged pipes can cause serious water damage that will require expensive repairs. A professional plumber will be able to find these problems before they escalate into a major disaster for you and your family.
Know When to Call a Plumber
When something goes wrong with your plumbing, it can be a scary experience. However, not everything that happens with your plumbing is an emergency. It is important to know the difference between an urgent situation and one that can wait until business hours. This will help you avoid unnecessary costs and potential damage to your home.
If you notice that your water is not as clear as it should be, or if your toilets are not draining properly, you should call a plumber immediately. This is a sign of a serious problem that can lead to sewage backups and other unpleasant situations. You should also call a plumber if you smell sewage in your house or garden. This is a sign of a sewer leak that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Some plumbing problems can be fixed by a DIYer, but if you suspect that your issue is more involved or if the problem is occurring outside of regular working hours, it may be time to call in a professional. A plumber can diagnose and fix the problem, saving you money and avoiding costly repairs in the future.
Before the plumber arrives, you can make things easier for them by clearing out the area around your plumbing problem and turning off your water supply. This will prevent water damage to your belongings and give the plumber a clean slate to work with.
Be sure to write down as much information about the problem as you can. This will make the job faster and more efficient for both you and the plumber. This includes details such as how long you have had the issue, where you are noticing the problem, and what type of water you are getting (e.g. cold or hot).
While your plumber will certainly help you with clogs, there are some things you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place. For example, keep children and pets away from the toilet; they may think it’s fun to flush toys or other objects down the drain, causing major clogs that require costly repairs. Also, be sure to regularly check for leaks and cracks in your pipes; catching these issues early will save you a lot of money in future repair bills.
Avoid flushing items other than toilet paper; those “flushable” wipes, for instance, don’t break down as quickly as regular toilet tissue and can cause major clogs. Likewise, dental floss and string should never be put down the toilet, even if they say they’re biodegradable. They can create knots and clumps that trap in hair, creating icky odors and a serious clog.
Another way to avoid clogs is to use BioOne, which is an environmentally friendly product that can be used on all your drains once a month. This will help remove buildup and keep your drains smelling fresh.
Shower clogs are often caused by a blockage in your home’s sewer or drain line. This line carries waste and debris from your home to your city’s sewage removal system or septic tank. Debris can form in the line from what is flushed down your toilet, and dirt and roots can get into it from outside.
If you notice your bathroom drains clogging frequently, consider getting a drain snake and/or installing a shower head with a flow inhibitor. Also, stop using harsh chemical drain cleaners; these corrode the insides of your pipes and can lead to more problems down the line.
You should always ask questions when hiring a plumbing professional. There are some basic questions you’ll want to ask, like whether they’re licensed and insured, what their typical rates are, and whether they charge by the hour or by the job. There are also some more specific questions that you should consider, such as if they provide references or a warranty on their work and what their pricing model is.
If a plumber can’t give you references from previous clients, it may be time to look elsewhere for a pro. Ask for a few names and numbers of people who they’ve worked for in the past and then contact them to see what their experience was like. This will give you a good idea of what to expect from the plumber and whether or not they’re someone you can trust.
It’s also important to find out if the plumber you’re talking to on the phone is the one who will be coming to your home. Many larger plumbing companies have multiple plumbers on staff and the person you speak to might not be the one who shows up at your house. This is especially important if you have pets, as most plumbers don’t mind animals but some do.
Another question you’ll want to ask is if the plumber’s quote includes labor and materials or just labor. This is a big deal, as some plumbers will present you with a low initial estimate and then add on extra charges down the road. Asking this question beforehand will help you avoid surprises and keep your bill from going over budget. Ideally, the plumber will include both in their quote so you have all of the information you need before hiring them.