Water is a beautiful thing. It quenches our thirst, cleanses our bodies and brings us life. However, when it invades our home at the wrong time or in the wrong place, water can create quite a mess. There are ways you can protect your property against potential water problems. Kim Tracy, president of All-Pro Plumbing, Inc., encourages homeowners to keep an eye on their water bill.
“If you see high fluctuations in your bill, it may be an indicator of a leak,” says Tracy, noting that a high water bill can suggest a leaking toilet or a leak in the water line from the meter to the house. It may also indicate a leak under the slab foundation of the home. It’s wise to do a visual inspection of your plumbing in and around your home as well as inside your crawl space, because doing so may alert you to potential problems you didn’t know were there.
“That’s one of the benefits of our Advantage Plan inspection,” Tracy says.
She suggests checking to make sure your water heater is installed with a drain pan if it’s located somewhere in the home that could potentially cause damage. “An added measure of assurance is installing a water alarm with your water heater to alert you if it starts leaking,” she says.
A leaking water heater is, in fact, one of the most common water problems plumbers see in homes. Unfortunately, often a homeowner is unaware until a significant amount of water has leaked out. This is because small obscure leaks in fittings or in the tank can cause substantial damage and go undetected for quite some time. The best way to prevent leaks is by hiring a qualified, licensed and insured plumber to complete the repairs. Before hiring a contractor or tradesman, be sure to verify their license and insurance, and call the insurance provider to verify that the policy is current and valid.
“Every fixture should have working shutoff valves that should be tested periodically to ensure that they are easy to turn,” Tracy says. “If there’s any hesitation when you turn it, don’t push it. The valve should be replaced.”
She suggests that if you are completing repairs yourself, you should use quality products and recheck your work to ensure there are no leaks. Should you encounter a leak, shut off the water supply to the fixture. If it’s the toilet, flush it to empty the water out of the tank. If the leak is from the water heater, shut off the valve feeding the water heater. Then turn off the gas or electric supply to the water heater.
“The most important shutoff you can have in your home is a whole-house shutoff,” Tracy says. “In the event of an emergency, you can shut the water off yourself inside your home rather than waiting on Indiana American Water Company or the plumber to arrive.”
Tracy says it’s a good idea to program your water company’s phone number and your favorite plumber’s digits into your phone so you’re not scrambling to locate these numbers when water is pouring into your home.
We spend thousands of dollars on new appliances but sometimes put off purchasing a water softener because it’s an extra expense. Experts agree, however, that a water softener is a wise investment because hard water can damage and shorten the life of your appliances and fixtures, including water heaters, dishwashers, faucets, shower heads, and anything that water flows through.
“A water softener conditions the water flowing though the water lines and fixtures and reduces buildup,” Tracy says. “It also lessens the amount of soap and hair products needed.”
The advent of HGTV has made DIYers out of a lot of us – or, perhaps more accurately, DIY wannabes. While a lot of us tackle bathroom remodels on our own, sometimes we get in over our heads, and it’s due primarily to ill preparation. According to Tracy, it’s important to know what type and size of piping you have in your home, for both water and drain lines.
“When connecting water lines, some types of pipes should not be used together,” Tracy says. “It can cause electrolysis and premature pipe failure. When connecting drain lines it’s important that they be properly sized, vented and installed with the correct fall for the system to flow properly, and to prevent gurgling and backups.”
In short, do your research, educate yourself and know who to call when you need expert advice.
All-Pro Plumbing is located at 606 South Locke Street in Kokomo. For more information, call 765-868-2094 or visit allproway2go.com.