Why Plumbing Maintenance Is Important
Water-related damage causes millions of dollars of losses each year. A recent study conducted reported that 63 percent of home insurers found that water-related losses totaled 1.7 billion dollars. Based on the survey data, the average cost of a water claim is $4730. Jerry’s Plumbing and Welding is happy to provide these plumbing tips to you in hope that you will not become a part of these statistics. You may be asking yourself why is plumbing maintenance so important below you will find helpful plumbing tips that may save you hundreds even thousands of dollars someday.
Inspect Pipes & Fittings Every Year
Just as you change the batteries in your smoke detector each year, you should take a few minutes to inspect under sinks and around washing machines, lavatories, ice makers, and water softeners.
Identifying Water & Plumbing Problems
Look At Your Water Bill! Don’t Just Assume Accuracy! By comparing monthly usage figures, you may realize a small leak before it becomes a big problem. Unexplained fluctuations in your water bill are often a sign of water leaks. Use a water pressure gauge to determine whether your household water pressure is set too high. The ideal household water pressure is 60-80 pounds per square inch. (psi), but many homes are set at 100 or higher. Attach the gauge to an outdoor faucet and turn the water on full to determine water pressure.
The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) calls for water to be delivered to homes for domestic use at between 35 and 80 psi. Angle stops (valves) and supply lines, as well as appliances, are designed to withstand up to 80 pounds per square inch.
Water pressure regulators take the water as it is delivered by the water district, and regulate it to between 50 and 70 psi. The pieces in the water pressure regulator that reduce the water pressure are made of rubber and metal. Over a period of time, they can fail. When the water pressure regulator fails, water pressure in the home is allowed to increase. This puts a strain on valves, hoses, and appliances that they were not designed to withstand. Unchecked, excessive water pressure may cause a rupture in the supply lines or valves.
A water pressure test gauge can inform the homeowner if water pressure is excessive. Simply connect the gauge to an outdoor faucet, and turn on the water to determine the water pressure. Make sure the faucet used is “regulated”. Some outdoor faucets are unregulated. If the pipe connected to the faucet comes out of the wall, there is a fairly good chance that the faucet is regulated. If the pressure exceeds 80 psi, then there is either a failed pressure reducing valve on the system or no device at all. In either case, you should contact Jerry’s Plumbing, Heating & Welding to remedy this situation as excessive pressure besides being a code violation, will damage supply lines, hoses, and faucets.
Emergency Shut Off Valves
Emergency shut-off valves are valves located under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, at your washing machine, at the toilet, and refrigerator icemaker. There are emergency shut-off valves for both hot and cold water. Most emergency shut-off valves are of the gate variety and are made of materials that may fail over time. Replacement of these valves is recommended when they are showing signs of leaking or they have “frozen” in the open position – meaning they can’t be turned one way or the other.
Emergency shut-off valves should be checked regularly to make sure they are not frozen in the open position. Every month or two simply turn the angle stops off and on a few times. This will keep them working as they were designed. Never force a valve that is frozen in position. Contact the plumbing experts at Jerry’s Plumbing, Heating & Welding as soon as possible.
Water Supply Lines
Water supply lines are connected from the angle stop to the appliance they serve, such as a faucet, toilet, washing machine, dishwasher, and icemakers. Many times these are thin rigid lines that can easily break and cause extensive damage. Water supply lines should be checked regularly for corrosion and rust and changed every 5 to 7 years.
Among the preferred lines are those that are stainless steel braided over rubber with threaded couplings on both ends for the sink and toilet lines. Don’t forget the dishwasher and refrigerator icemaker supply lines. They are often overlooked because they are hidden. Replace plastic tubing with either soft copper or steel braided supply lines.
The washing machine supply box is found in most recently constructed homes. The box sits inside the drywall and the angle stops are inside the box.
The water in the washing machine should always be turned off when the machine is not in use. The instruction manuals for some washing machines call for the water to be on only when the machine is in use. Leaving the water on places the washing machine hoses and valves under constant pressure. The life of the washing machine hose can be prolonged if the water is turned on only when the machine is in use.
Washing machine hoses need to be checked regularly and replaced periodically. Most failures occur at the coupling. Always change hoses when a new machine is purchased, or you move to a new location. Regardless of the material the hose is made of, it needs to be checked and changed regularly. A broken washing machine supply line can cause extensive damage if it is not discovered quickly and the water is turned off.
Cleaning Up After A Leak
• Turn off the water to the house.
• Remove as much water as possible with mopping and blotting.
• Remove all photos, art, and small fixtures to a safe, dry place.
• Remove damp books from shelves and spread them out to dry.
• Wipe wooden furniture dry. Prop up cushions for even drying.
• Open drawers, cabinets, and closets for faster drying.
• Put aluminum foil, saucers, or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
• Remove rugs from on top of the wet carpet to prevent color saturation.
• Remove items that are not colorfast, such as books and magazines, from wet flooring and carpet.
• Immediately use fans to circulate air and encourage drying.
• Try to stabilize the indoor air temperature to about 70 degrees and use dehumidifiers, if possible.
• Contact a water restoration company.