Avoid These Plumbing Disasters
As a master plumber and owner of a Charlotte NC plumbing company, Dave Parker has seen a lot of good and bad plumbing habits. That's why he urges homeowners to take the following five steps to protect their homes from avoidable plumbing disasters.
1. Please take the time to learn where your main water valve is.
And while you're at it, teach your kids, too, since a plumbing emergency will probably happen when the kids are home alone and you've got your cell phone muted because you're in an important meeting at work.
The water main line valve is the point where you can control all the water coming into your home from the main water line. Water flow can be controlled simply by turning off this one valve, preventing a large-scale plumbing disaster from something like a burst pipe or leaking appliance.
To find the main water valve, first find the water box at the curb. Then walk towards your home and check inside your house (or garage) for a red valve or handle (usually located near your water heater). Localized water line valves are located by sinks and toilets. Test them, turning them on and off (and checking the sinks nearby) to make sure they work. If they are rusted shut or look like they are about to fall apart, replace the valve with a newer (and less vulnerable) valve.
2. Replace the rubber hoses on your washing machine and dishwasher every five years.
There's no way to tell (in advance) when your rubber hose will split, crack or break, but they usually give out after five years of use. Replace them with stainless steel hoses when possible; they last longer. This project is not difficult and prevent major plumbing problems. In many cases, old rubber hoses split and begin leaking but the homeowner doesn't discover the problem until the water leak has caused damage in the cabinet and dry wall under a sink or behind an appliance, or, worse yet, has leaked from a second-floor appliance and ruined the floor of the second-floor room and the ceiling of the first-floor room.
New hoses are very inexpensive. Simply watch a YouTube video to learn how to replace the hose or invest in a plumber replacing the hoses for you.
3. A leak protection system is a really good investment.
What is a leak protection system? It's a sensor that alerts you if you spring a leak somewhere you should not have a leak. For example, if the sink in your laundry room overflows, the sensor placed in your laundry room would shut off the main water to the house and send you an alert so you can investigate the situation.
We like Water Cops, but any water leak prevention system is worth the investment. Get a system that sounds an alarm and shuts off the water main if a leak occurs under a sink, near a toilet or near one of your appliances (dishwasher, water heater, washing machine, etc.) People who don't have water leak prevention systems run the risk of a leak turning into a serious problem.
4. You really should replace your water heater before it fails and/or floods your home, especially if it's located in your attic.
The average tank water heater lasts 10-12 years, and the average tankless heater lasts 20 years. Just like you always seem to hit the traffic light as it turns red or your toast usually lands butter-side down, your old water heater will most likely fail, leak or flood while you're out of town or when everyone in your home needs a hot shower and to look great for work and school commitments. The resulting damage to your home isn't worth eeking out a few more months with your outdated water heater, especially since water heaters lose significant efficiency the older they get.
5. You can easily prevent frozen (and burst) pipes, if you just take a few simple precautions.
Here in the South, people forget that our homes are not built in such a way as to handle really cold weather. Unfortunately, we usually hit a streak of frigid weather in either January or February every year, and our phone lines are flooded with calls from desperate homeowners that need help with frozen or burst pipes. We know this will happen, so we prepare for the extra demand, but we feel for the homeowners, most of whom could have prevented the problem.
The following techniques work wonders:
- Apply insulation or wrap pipes that are in crawl spaces or your garage or poorly rooms of your home.
- Leave the water trickling from your faucets to prevent freezing
- Open the doors to your cabinets so warm air can get to your pipes
- Use a hair dryer on low heat to warm vulnerable pipes
If you take preventative measures, you can save yourself a costly mess.
Need a Charlotte NC Plumbing Company?
Already got a plumbing disaster on your hands? Give us a call at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form. We'll help you figure out what you need, whether it's preventative plumbing assistance or Charlotte emergency plumbing services.
We're located in Matthews, but we serve a 30-mile radius of Charlotte and are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Bookmark our site for future plumbing needs. We're committed to providing reliable, affordable plumbing services.
Quick question & answer: How can I avoid plumbing disasters?
You can avoid plumbing disasters by taking the time to learn where your main water valve is. You can turn all water off with this single valve. Replace the rubber hoses on your washing machine and dishwasher every five years. If you replace them with stainless steel hoses, they’ll last longer. Also, a leak protection system is a great investment.