How to troubleshoot home plumbing issues
From ancient Rome to present day Los Angeles, plumbing is still just a series of pipes and valves that uses air-pressure to bring clean water into the house and carry away the used water. Simple enough, but should any of those fail, the whole system is jeopardized.
When Things Go Wrong
Plumbing is a wonderful convenience in a modern society but the lack of it can quickly plunge us back into the dark ages should something go wrong. In Los Angeles, where the average person consumes 92.8 gallons of water per day, plumbing issues are going to arise.
A stopped-up or even worse, overflowing toilet, is more than just an annoyance, it’s an emergency that simply cannot be ignored. A leaky faucet, while seemingly harmless can cost you more than you might realize. Addressing and fixing these problems early on can prevent even more damage or inconvenience.
Read the Signs
Often times there are signals that something isn’t right. You open the door under the kitchen sink and you see or feel water. You notice a small but steady drip at one or more of the faucets. Discovering water where it shouldn’t be is a sign that something is amiss with your plumbing and must be investigated further.
Address Your Plumbing Issues Early
- Just one leaky faucet of one drip per second can waste 3,000 gallons of water per year. Two faucets and you double that. That’s the water equivalent of a shower a day for a year! Los Angeles residents and especially Californians, cannot afford to waste any water.
- Dampness in cabinets, water puddling up under the fridge and leaks in general produce a natural environment in which unhealthy mold and mildew can grow.
- Leaky pipes and the moisture it produces can cause extra wear and tear on valves and couplings in the form of rust and erosion.
With just a few tools and a little knowledge, you can handle some of the more simple plumbing problems yourself.
You will need these basic tools.
- A plunger for clogged toilets and sinks
- A snake to run through a pipe for more severe stoppages
- A pipe wrench for valves that may get stuck or for leaky faucets
- Having these simple tools handy can often save you from having to call a plumber.
In an Emergency it’s not Who You Know but What You Know
Living in a metropolis like L.A., you can always find a good plumber to call in an emergency but they may not always able to respond the moment you need them. A few simple steps of preparation can mean the difference between an inconvenience and a disaster.
Should a pipe burst in or under the house do you know where the main shut-off valve is? Do you have the tools at hand necessary to shut off the water immediately? Make sure you do by putting together a small kit containing a few necessary items. Have a flashlight handy in case you need to work in a dark area or a problem occurs at night. Know where your shut-off key is if one is needed to cut the water in a hurry.
Familiarizing yourself with how to shut off the water to the house, sinks and toilets, the washing machine or dishwasher, can be a real handy thing to know at crunch time.
Take Preventive Measures for Cold Winters
Outside pipes exposed to the elements as well as in crawl spaces that aren’t heated should be insulated to protect them from freezing. This is something you can easily do yourself. Today’s insulation is a s simple as peel and stick and will save you an emergency call to the plumber due to an un-insulated broken pipe.
Be sure to remove outdoor garden hoses and apply an insulated cap to the spigot. A blast of air from an air compressor will effectively blow out the water in lawn sprinkler systems for storage.
For those not living in live in Los Angeles, or whose climate has freezing temperatures, on severely cold nights, opening the doors under sinks and in bathrooms will help keep the pipes from freezing. In extreme cold, leave the water running at a slow trickle to prevent freezing.
3 Tips to Conserve Water
• Use the dishwasher and fill it to capacity. It’s more energy efficient than hand washing
• Limit your showers to 5 minutes and install a water conserving shower head
• Replace your old toilets with newer water-saving models that flush using much less water
Do these things and the next time a plumbing emergency pops up you’ll be prepared to handle it. If it’s more than you can handle, you can always call a plumber Los Angeles has plenty of them!
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