Plumbing is an essential part of your home’s infrastructure. As a homeowner, having a basic understanding about your plumbing can save you from costly damages. Your home’s plumbing system is responsible for delivering clean water, removing wastewater and maintaining the overall health of your household.
Here’s a few key things every homeowner should know about their plumbing:
What Kind of Sewer System You Have – There are two types of sewer systems that your home could have; a septic system or municipal sewage system.
- Manages your wastewater on your property and the expenses for installation and upkeep are your responsibility
- Commonly found in homes in rural areas
- Requires more care on the homeowner’s part to ensure the system remains clog and issue-free. Problems anywhere within the system are up to the homeowner to resolve and maintain
Municipal Sewer System
- Transports wastewater from your property to a community treatment facility operated by local municipality with funding from property taxation and fees
- Typically, in homes in urban areas
- You are only responsible for the plumbing that is on your property, for example a clogged toilet or pipe within your home.
Water Valves – There are two types of water valves that a homeowner should know; the main water valve and individual water valves.
- Main Water Valve – Controls the flow of water into the home
- Individual Water Valves – Control the flow of water only to the specific fixtures, such as sinks or toilets
Ensuring you know where these valves are located, in the midst of an emergency, allows you to stop water flow that can save your home from significant flooding and water damage.
Caring for Drains – Be mindful of what goes down the drain. Avoid disposing of grease, large food scraps, and non-biodegradable items. Use strainers to catch hair and debris. Some abrasive cleaning products can erode pipes. Choose effective but safe cleaning products for your plumbing.
Watch for Warning Signs – Keep an eye out for warning signs like slow drainage, foul odors, gurgling noises, brown staining on walls or ceilings, small leaks or dripping. These seemingly minor things can indicate underlying plumbing issues, which can quickly turn into major problems. Foul smells can be a result of wastewater building up because of a clog or a cracked pipe, which may be releasing sewage gas. A leaky pipe under the sink may seem minor, but over time, can lead to severe water damage. Address minor warning signs promptly and hire a professional for anything beyond your scope of knowledge.
Prevent Frozen Pipes – Avoiding frozen pipes is an easy and important way to take care of your plumbing system. If temperatures get cold enough, it can cause the water inside pipes to freeze and expand. This leads to burst pipes, followed by flooding and water damage. Here’s a few easy ways to prevent frozen pipes this winter.
- Keep faucets running at a slow drip to maintain water flow
- Drain outdoor pipes and hoses before the cold weather sets in
- Insulate pipes with foam pipe insulate or heat tape
- Keep your home at a temperature warm enough to prevent freezing