Purchasing a Home? Check the Plumbing!

New Home Key Showing Moving Into House

It is always advisable to hire a licensed home inspector to check out every aspect of a home you wish to purchase.  Increasingly, consumers are additionally protecting themselves by requesting home warranties, which will cover expenses not billable under homeowner’s insurance for a certain amount of time after purchase.  These are excellent steps to take, as plumbing problems can be completely out of sight one minute and disastrous the next.  It is estimated that 44 percent of consumers have to call a plumber within the first year of home ownership.  In the hopes that this will not happen to you, there are some things you can check for signs of plumbing difficulties ahead during the inspection phase.

  • Check the yard of the home for any areas that appear excessively wet or which have odd plant growth. This can be a sign of standing water coming from a leaking pipe.
  • You may wish to hire a licensed plumber to perform a video inspection of the underground sewer pipes to check for any current or potential future problems.
  • In the kitchen, make sure the garbage disposal and dishwasher connections are tight. Check the flow of water in the faucet, as well as the areas under the sink for any signs of water damage.
  • Inspect the water heater for rust. Additionally, check the age of the tank, as any heater over 15 years old will need to be replaced.
  • Locate the main line cleanout and be sure it is easily accessible.
  • Check any exposed piping in the basement for signs of leaks or repairs.
  • In the bathroom, check the flow of water in the bathtub and sink. Flush the toilet, then look around it for any signs of water damage. Place your feet on either side of the toilet; if the ground there feels soft, the floorboards are weakened or rotting due to a water leak.

Water Conservation Tips

Image courtesy of Dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In today’s environmentally conscious world, water conservation has become a global conversation.  No one is immune from water concerns.  For example, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that “even though Georgia’s high average rainfall is usually enough to recharge its aquifers, the combination of recent droughts and increased demand have strained the state’s groundwater resources,” causing decreased water pressure and concerns about saltwater entering fresh drinking water.

When it comes to water conservation, small steps can make a big difference.  Consider implementing the following tips in your daily life.

  • If you must water your lawn in the summer, do so at night when the air is coolest, thus decreasing the chances of the water evaporating before it hits the ground. Additionally, you can purchase an inexpensive timer that will automatically shut off your outside faucet after a set period of time in case you forget to do so.
  • Read your water meter at a time when no water is being used in your home, then return about 8 hours later and check it again. If the meter has moved, it is possible you have an undetected water leak in your home that needs to be fixed.
  • Check the temperature of your water heater. It should not be above 120 degrees Fahrenheit or medium temperature.  If it is, contact a licensed plumber to have it adjusted.
  • Immediately fix any leaky faucets you have in your home. Did you know that just one drip per second can add up to more than 8 gallons of water waste in a single day?
  • Replace your older shower heads with new lower flow models to save over 7 gallons of water per minute of usage.
  • Contact your water provider to find out the level of water pressure in your home. If it is above 60 pounds per square inch, call a licensed plumber to install a pressure reducing valve.

Summer Plumbing Problems

Image courtesy of pupunkkop at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of pupunkkop at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With the news media reminding us each of every year, it is fairly well known that significant problems, such as frozen and bursting pipes, can be brought on by winter weather.  However, what you may not know is that there are several plumbing problems that happen more commonly in the summer months than any other time of year.

The first plumbing issue that arises more often in the summer is a clogged garbage disposal.  First, the disposal tends to get a tougher workout in the summer months, when you are more likely to be entertaining at home.  Second, summer fruit and vegetable remains such as watermelon rinds and corn husks can wreak havoc on the blades of the disposal.  Finally, you may be making the mistake of dumping dirty grease down the sink after grilling out, which will coat the blades and cause buildup on them.  Be sure to run cold water before and after using the disposal to help clear out the food.  Grinding some ice cubes can help to remove any buildup on the blades.

Another thing you may find breaks down more frequently in the summer is your washing machine.  Between the kids being home from school, trips to the beach and the pool, and summer vacations, you may find yourself doing twice as much laundry as usual.  It’s advisable to only run the washing machine when you are home, so you can stop the cycle immediately if you notice any problems.

Finally, a third plumbing issue that often arises in the summer is sewer line backups.  If you live in an area with excessive rainfall, it can cause damage to the pipes in two ways.  First, any shifting soil around the pipes can cause them to crack.  Next, once the cracks occur, excess rainwater can seep in through them, thereby causing the sewer line to back up.  If you discover water backing up into any drain in your home, you should call a licensed plumber immediately.

Water Pressure

photo courtesy of improvenet.com
photo courtesy of improvenet.com

If you are like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to the water pressure in your home.  However, this is one aspect of your home’s plumbing you should always be aware of in the back of your mind.  Water pressure is defined as the number of pounds per square inch (PSI) pushing through a water system.  In order for your home appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, showers, and sinks to work properly, your water pressure needs to be between 40 and 60 PSI. [Read more…]

Whole House Water Filtration Systems

plumbing - house filtrationA whole house water filtration system is designed to filter all water at the point it enters your home.  This means all of the water you use in your house will be filtered, as opposed to just the drinking water.  A whole house water filtration system is guaranteed to remove more chemicals from your water than any other type of system.  There are several reasons why this may be important to you, as outlined below.

First, consider that the water you drink and the water you cook with should be of equal quality.  Any water you use in cooking will be absorbed by the food and therefore ultimately eaten.  If you are cooking with unfiltered municipal water, you risk ingesting contaminants. [Read more…]