1. WHERE YOUR MAIN WATER SHUT OFF VALVE IS LOCATED
Water pouring into your home is a nightmare that every homeowner hopes will never happen to them. It can cause major damage very quickly and leads to many headaches and a lot of money spent on repairs. There is good news though- you can put a stop to it immediately, saving you a lot of stress and a lot of money, if you know where your main shut off valve is located. You never want to be searching for this in the heat of the moment – when panic has already set it, so it’s imperative that every homeowner finds this before disaster strikes.
The main shut off valve is typically located on the inside perimeter of the house, facing the street, where water enters the house from the city line. If you have a basement, you will be looking for this valve at eye level or above. If you are on ground level, the valve will be below eye level. One trick if you are having trouble locating this valve, is to go outside and find the meter pit. Stand on it and walk a straight line to your house- this is likely where the water line enters your house and where you will find the valve. Another helpful tip, if you are still having trouble, is to pull out your home inspection report. In the report, locate the plumbing section, and in this section there should be a description of this shut off valve and a picture attached.
2. HOW TO SHUT OFF WATER TO INDIVIDUAL FIXTURES IN YOUR HOME
Whether you have a water leak coming from a specific fixture or appliance, or you are planning to do some home improvements that require you to turn off water to a specific location in your home, every homeowner should know where their individual fixture shut-off valves are located. A fixture valve turns water on and off to specific fixtures in your home, like a sink, or an appliance, such as a washing machine. These valves are located closest to the fixture, and allow you to turn off water to a specific area, rather than the entire house, like the main shut off valve mentioned above. It is always a good idea to walk around your home and locate the individual shut-off valves on sinks, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters.
3 HELPFUL HINTS:
1. Sinks have 2 shut off valves- one for hot and one for cold. Cold is typically located on the right. You will need to turn both of these off to completely shut off water to that fixture.
2. The Water Heater shut off valve is located on top of the water heater. You may need to shut this off if you are having issues with your water heater, but still need to run (cold) water for toileting, washing dishes, and various other things.
3. Bathtubs and showers may not have shut-off valves, and if they do, they may not be accessibly. You will need to shut off the main water shut off valve mentioned above.
3. HOW TO READ YOUR WATER BILL AND REGULARLY ASSESS FOR LEAKS
Reading and evaluating your water bill each month is a good habit to get into as a homeowner. Evaluating this bill helps you to see how much water you are consuming and can help you catch leaks before they turn into big problems! Because leaks cause a huge increase in water consumption, a large increase in this bill should catch your attention and start your process of evaluating where the leak could be coming from. At Plumb Doctor, we often get calls from customers with increased water bills, and have the knowledge and expertise to help you locate and fix the leak fast before you end up with a much larger problem!
4. KNOW WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT FLUSH DOWN THE TOILET
Long story short, there are only 2 things that should be flushed down the toilet: bodily waste and toilet paper. Everything else can cause big problems, which leads to big money spent on repairs! Unfortunately, there are companies that like to advertise “flushable wipes”. These wipes=not really flushable. To learn more about what you can and cannot flush, read our blog here: www.plumb-doctor/blog/what-can-you-flush-down-the-toilet
5. KNOW WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT PUT DOWN THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL
Garbage disposals are a convenient tool to get rid of kitchen waste. However, putting the wrong thing down these disposals can cost you. Here is a quick list of things that you should never put down your disposal:
Pasta and rice
Used cooking oil
To learn more about WHY you should not put these down your garbage disposal, read our blog here.
6. HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS WINTERS
Living in a city like Indianapolis, you know that the winters here can be brutal! Cold temperatures can cause frozen pipes, leading to potentially burst pipes, and lots of damage in our homes. As a homeowner in a place where temperatures drop to below freezing every year, it is important to know how to prepare your home to save you from winter-related plumbing damage.
Here are a few tips to prepare your home for the Indianapolis winter:
Keep your thermostat on a constant temperature
Insulate any exposed pipes
Disconnect your garden hose and shut down the supply valve which feeds them with water.
Tune up your water heater! You want to drain and service your water heater at this time every year. Plumb Doctor performs these services for many of our clients every year! We would be happy to add you to our customer list to make sure your water heater stays in tip-top shape! We can be reached, any time, at 317-306-9343.
7. WHERE YOUR MAIN GAS SHUT OFF VALVE IS LOCATED
If your home has natural gas, this is an incredibly important thing to know for the safety of you and your family. There are 2 main gas shut off valves and individual appliance shut off valves (much like the main shut off and fixture shut offs for water). The main gas shut off valve that homeowners could be dealing with is called the house-side shut off valve. (The other is located outside and is typically not a valve that homeowners should be manipulating). The house-side shut off valve is located where the gas line comes into your home- or somewhere along that line, after the gas meter, but before the first appliance. This valve should be located before you run into a problem! The important thing to know is that if you smell gas, shut off your house-side gas shut off valve, leave your house, and call the gas company.
8. HOW TO PLUNGE A TOILET
It is inevitable. There will come a time during your home-ownership years that you will need to unclog a toilet. It’s not a fun job, but if you have the right tools handy and the knowledge to complete the task, you can get it over with quickly and move on to much more enjoyable things.
One important tip: As a homeowner, always have a plunger available. Preferably within quick reach to your bathrooms. If you don’t have one- go buy one now. It is a necessity.
To plunge a toilet follow these steps:
1st- If the water is rising, turn off your toilet shut off valve (hint: you can learn how to do this in #2 above.)
2nd- grab your plunger.
3rd-Get a good seal with your plunger, make sure there is enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger, and then push in and out vigorously until the clog clears.
Voila! You’re back in business.
9. HOW TO CHECK YOUR SUMP PUMP
You don’t want to get into a situation where your sump pump stops working when you need it to! This could lead to costly repairs, headaches, and after hours fees that could be prevented with just a few routine maintenance checks.
One of the important things to check on your sump pump is your pit and discharge line. Make sure that it is clean, and not full of debris. Also, check the sump pump itself- inspect for any external damage.
Trace your electric cords to the outlet. Unplug both cords and just plug back in the cord to the pump. You should hear a humming sound showing the pump turned on. If you don’t hear this- you have a problem and need to call a plumber. After you complete this, make sure you plug everything back in just the way it was!
Pour a 5 gallon bucket of water slowly into the pit. Once the water reaches a predetermined level, the pump should turn on. If it does not, again, you should contact a plumber to repair your pump before you have further issues.
The typical lifespan on a quality sump pump is 10 years. If you inspect and maintain your pump yearly, you should expect to have a good, reliable pump for many years to come!
10. HOW TO FIX SMALL DRAIN CLOGS
To end our list today, here is a DIY drain cleaning tip every homeowner should use when they are faced with a clogged drain:
Start with pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain
Next, pour about ½ cup of baking soda into the drain
After this, pour 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water into the drain
Cover the drain so that the agents stay inside and do their work
Finally, dump more boiling water down the drain.
Hopefully this DIY trick will do the job. If not, know that not all drains have simple clogs and it may take calling a plumber to fully resolve the issue. If that is the case, Plumb Doctor is available to help you with your drain cleaning at an affordable cost. We would be happy to talk further with you about your issue: 317-306-9343.
This was a brief overview of the top 10 things every homeowner should know about their plumbing. Stay tuned for a more in depth blog on each subject! To be notified when we post a new blog, like our Facebook page !
As always, Plumb Doctor is here to help if you have plumbing problems or questions. Our team of experienced plumbers is available to meet your needs 24/7. We service Indianapolis and all surrounding counties. If you are unsure if you are in our service area, please see the complete list below or just call us at 317-306-9343! We look forward to helping you!
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