Every homeowner should have a basic idea of how your home plumbing system works. Unfortunately, it isn’t until disaster hits that we realize just how little we know. Taking the time to understand your plumbing system and appliances could pay huge dividends in the future. For example, know where your shut-off valves are for both your home and landscaping. It might surprise you to know not many homeowners know how to shut off the water in a plumbing emergency. The fact is, most homeowners rarely call on a plumber unless something goes terribly wrong such as a pipe leak, damaged garbage disposal, or broken water heater.
Know Where Your Shut-Off Valves Are And How To Shut Your Water Off
Start by making a list of the plumbing system absolutes. First, as mentioned, know where your shut-off valves are located and how to shut off the water in case of a plumbing emergency. You’ll need to turn off the water for many different reasons; for instance, if you replace a faucet or toilet, you’ll want to turn off the water without going to the main meter on the street. You can usually find shut-off valves in your garage, outside wall, or utility area. Most shut-off valves have a lever handle and are called ball valves. Although some older homes may still have a gate valve, it’s the wheel type, usually red.
How To Find Your Shut-Off Valve
Here’s a good way to locate the valve if you haven’t already found it. Draw an imaginary straight line from the water meter to your home. Remember the shut-off valve is attached to the incoming water supply line, and that line comes from your water meter on the street. Before it reaches any appliances, including the water heater, you should encounter it. In older homes and warmer climates like California, you might locate the shut-off valve on the outside perimeter of the house. As a side note, if you’re going on a vacation, do not forget to turn off your water.
Know Your Water Meter – It Can Tell You If You Have A Water Leak
Every homeowner should also know where to locate their water meter and how to shut it off. Your water meter is part of your plumbing system. Did you know you can check your home for water leaks right from your water meter? Almost every meter has a round or triangle dial called a leak indicator. If you feel like your home is using too much water, turn off all the water in your home, wait for a couple of minutes and check the dial on your water meter. If it stops, you’re fine; if it keeps moving, you have a water leak.
Know How To Locate Your Cleanouts
Make sure you know where the cleanouts are around your home. This will be a significant advantage if you have ever experienced a clogged sewer line. The cleanout typically consists of a pipe with a 4-inch diameter and a screw cap with a square knob or depression on top. It will probably emerge from the earth outside your house, somewhere between the front of the home and the street, usually closer to the home. Most homes have two cleanouts. You can normally find the second in the garage or on the side of the house. Knowing where your cleanouts are is all part of getting to know your plumbing system better.
Know How To Turn Your Gas Off To Your Home
Every homeowner should know how to turn off the gas in their home. While you cannot turn it off as a way of practicing, you can understand what to do if a gas leak were to occur. You should know exactly what tool to use in most cases, it’s a crescent wrench. Know where to locate the on and off valve on the gas meter. Your gas line is part of your plumbing system.
If you need to shut down your gas line service at the meter, take the following actions:
- Find the primary shut-off valve for your gas service. It is normally the first valve on the supply line for natural gas that emerges from the ground adjacent to the meter.
- Rotate the lever from either direction with a wrench until it is perpendicular to the pipe.
- Keep the gas off and call your gas company’s hotline with your concerns once you’ve shut it off.
- DO NOT TURN IT BACK ON. Instead, wait for your gas company to arrive. They can restart your gas, examine the system, and relight the appliances for you.
Know how to momentarily turn off any appliance’s use of natural gas. For example, if someone is installing a new gas appliance in a non-emergency situation, you can turn the gas off to that specific appliance until the installation is complete. Normally, you can find the valve where the fuel line enters the appliance.
Do not shut off the gas line service at your meter in a post-disaster event, such as after a significant earthquake, except if you smell, hear, or see the gas escaping. However, if you decide to turn it off, ONLY your gas company can restore the service if the meter gets turned off. Therefore, restoration timeframes may get slowed down, and you could be without natural gas for a while.
Know Your Garbage Disposal
Know how to reset your garbage disposal. On the bottom of your garbage disposal is a red reset button, gently depress it. If the button does not stay retracted, wait ten minutes and try again. Allow cold water to run when you turn the garbage disposal to the “ON” position. It should run again. Contact your plumbing contractor if you cannot reset your garbage disposal.
Know The Basic Of Your Water Heater
Have a basic understanding of your water heater, such as how to light the pilot and set the temperature. Then, learn how to maintain your water heater. LOWE’s has an excellent commentary on maintaining your water heater: A water heater usually lasts ten to fifteen years or longer if adequately maintained. If your water heater breaks down and it’s well under ten years old, it usually only needs repairing.
Know How To Check Your Water Pressure
Low water pressure could mean hard-water buildup in your pipes, a water leak, a partially closed shutoff valve, or a faulty pressure regulator. These can all contribute to low water pressure. Whatever the case, knowing the signs can put you well ahead of the curve. Know how to check your own water pressure; you can purchase a water pressure gauge for less than 10 dollars. The pressure gauge fastens to the outside spigot, just like a hose. Once connected, turn on the water. An ideal reading is 40 to 60 pounds per square inch (PSI). You can consider 80 and above high water pressure. High pressure could be damaging to your plumbing system and appliances.
Serving The Inland Empire And Surrounding Areas For Over A Decade
Knowing some of the basics of your plumbing system can go a long way. If you need a plumbing technician for your home, call an expert at Big B’s Plumbing. For over a decade, we have provided plumbing services to the Inland Empire, including Murrieta, Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, and beyond. We’re A+ Rated with The BBB with over 1000 5-star ratings on Facebook, Yelp, And Google My Business.