Thomas Jefferson was the one who championed the phrase, “Knowledge is power.” While each time he used the phrase, he was referring to the State University in Virginia. But I think we would all agree, that statement is spot-on. It holds true for all areas of life, including our plumbing system. Your plumbing system is a vital component to any home, but unfortunately, we take it for granted.
Know Your Plumbing System
Every homeowner needs to know where their shut off valve is located. For instance, if you asked ten homeowners where their home’s shut-valves are located, only five would know. Some think it’s the valve on their water meter. Honestly, this is the million-dollar question since every home is different. In warmer climates like California, it’s usually found outside the house. If your home happens to be built on a slab foundation, check the garage around the water heater.
How To Find Your Shut Off Valve
Another way to find your shut-off valve is to walk a straight line from the outside water meter to your home. In most cases, that will lead you to it. You may end up in the garage or somewhere else around the house. Some shut-off valves feature a lever handle, while the others best describe it as a circular gate valve. The ability to respond quickly to a water leak by shutting off your water is critical and knowing where your shut-off valves are located is a step in the right direction.
Extend The Life Of Your Water Heater And Save Energy
Did you know that all water heater manufacturers recommend flushing your storage tank water heater once a year from the sediment buildup in the tank? Your water heater manufacturer will provide specific instructions on how often your water heater will need flushing, but the rule of thumb is once a year. For those of us who live in California, we know all too well about how hard the water is. The minerals in our water build up in our water heater’s storage tank and shorten its life expectancy. Additionally, it will reduce efficiency, adding to your energy costs.
Check For High Water Pressure And Avoid Disaster
Every homeowner should know how to check their water pressure. While most of us are generally concerned about low water pressure, high water pressure can wreak havoc on our pipes and appliances. According to local plumbing codes, your water pressure should be between 40-80 pounds per inch (PSI). If it does not comply, you’ll need to adjust your water pressure regulator. In some cases, your water pressure regulator may be the problem, and it will need replacing. Your regulator’s life expectancy is 10 to 15 years but don’t be surprised if they fail in 3 years or exceed 15 years.
High Water Pressure Puts Pressure On Pipes And Appliances
Knowing your water pressure is crucial because if left unchecked, high water pressure will stress your pipe fitting, leading to leaks. It puts stress on our appliances such as your washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater, significantly cutting down on their lifespan. It also applies to showerheads and fixtures. While low water pressure messes with our quality of life, high water pressure can cause some real damage if gone unchecked. Jump online or drive down to your local home center and purchase a water pressure gauge. They’re less than $10 and an excellent investment. It will fasten to any spigot and give you an accurate reading of your water pressure.
You Don’t Have To Be A DIY’er
You don’t have to be a do-it-yourselfer to know where the shut-off valve to your home is located, and it could save you big if there was a burst pipe or leak in the house. Your water heater maintenance could add years to your water heater’s life and performance, saving you on added energy costs. Checking for high water pressure can save you from pipe leaks, along with wear and tear on appliances.
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