plumbing disaster

Avoid The Plumbing Disaster

“Avoid the plumbing disaster” might be a little strong, but most homeowners have not prepared themselves for a plumbing disaster. Every homeowner should have basic knowledge of their plumbing system. We should be prepared for a plumbing disaster as we would for a blackout or a fire. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” What would you do if a pipe were to burst? What would you do if you smelled gas? How would you handle a backed-up sewer line? These are just a few plumbing questions you need to ask yourself. Preparing for a plumbing problem will keep it from turning into a plumbing disaster. 

What would you do in this situation?

One of the most destructive forces in your home is water. The slightest break in your pipe, backed by 60 pounds of water pressure, could wreak havoc on your home.  The sooner you act and cut off the water supply, the more likely you make a fast recovery, so know how to shut off the water to your home quickly.

DO YOU KNOW the location of your home’s water main shutoff valve?

Every home built must have a water main shutoff valve in or around the home. Therefore, the majority of plumbing emergencies or repairs involving a plumbing leak will involve shutting off the water before your plumber has a chance to arrive. Typically, the valve gets positioned within three to five feet of the point where the water main enters the home. If it is not on the front wall, look for it in your garage or near a water heater. To close the main valve, rotating the wheel handle valve right until it closes all the way. If it’s a  lever handle, turn it until it comes to a complete stop after about a quarter-round turn.

Know Where Your Water Shut Off Valves and avoid the plumbing disaster

If you leave your home for an extended period, such as a vacation, shut your water off before you go. Having a water leak is a problem, but having one when you’re away would be a plumbing disaster. Your water shutoff valve is always located on the ground floor, often in the garage. If you’re purchasing or renting a home, you should ask the property manager or seller to show you where the water shutoff is located.

Avoid The Plumbing Disaster - Shut-Off Valve

Catch a Leak Early

Catching a wall leak fast can avoid that plumbing disaster. Keeping a keen eye out for drywall bulging or discoloration will go a long way in locating a leak. A toilet or shower that leaks upstairs can show up downstairs on your ceiling.

Avoid The Plumbing Disaster, Know Where Your Gas Shut Off Valve is located

In the case of an emergency, it’s critical to know the exact location of your natural gas meter. Only turn off your natural gas if you hear gas escaping or smell gas, and ONLY if it’s safe to do so. You can get more information on how to locate a gas leak from your gas company.

When facing the meter, you’ll notice a pipe connecting the ground to the meter. Parallel to the pipe is a shutoff valve that’s typically situated approximately 6 to 8 inches off the ground. Turn your valve 1/4 turn in each direction with an adjusting wrench, also known as a crescent wrench, until the valve is crosswise to the pipe. Keep the adjusting wrench in with your emergency supplies. 

Please don’t attempt to turn it back on yourself once you have turned off your natural gas at the meter. If the shutdown valve for natural gas service is closed, your gas company or another trained professional must conduct a safety check prior to re-lighting appliance pilots.

Your Sewer Cleanout

Every tenant and homeowner needs to know where their sewer cleanouts are located. The sewer cleanout is a lateral pipe located along the main sewer line that gives yourself or your plumber access in case of a clogged sewer line. It’s typically a 4-inch-diameter pipe with a square knob or depression on the top of the screw cap. In all probability, it will emerge from the ground outside the front of your property. They’re usually buried somewhere between the front of the home and the street. Additionally, the cleanout could get located on the side of the house close to the bathroom. Whatever the case, every homeowner should know where their cleanouts are located.

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