One of the most important tasks of a homeowner is caring for the water lines that run within the property. The reason for this is simple: these pipes are vital and directly relate to the comfort of the residents and value of the home. When trouble is encountered, it is practically impossible not to pay attention to the pipes because they can cause further damage.
As any person who has witnessed an aftermath of a broken pipe can attest to, it is not a pretty sight. In addition to destroying and damaging the items within the home, the water can also bring about a plethora of health problems caused by the water. Some of its effects can be the growth of the mold and mildew as well as microbes from standing water. To prevent the stress of dealing with this situation, it is advisable for homeowners to make the necessary investments in taking care and maintaining the pipe systems found in the home.
Protecting the pipes in the home does not have to be overly complicated. There are some steps that can be taken by the property owner that will help minimize the risk of damages from happening within the home.
Give your home a check up
Schedule your home for a check-up by a professional at specific times of the year to see if there are any pipes that exhibit signs of deterioration or clogging. No matter how much care the homeowner exercises on the systems in place, regular wear and tear still ensures that some weakening will occur. It is best to make the inspections before the winter or rainy season when water damage is likely to occur. Some of the things that need to be watched out for are cracks in the water tanks and clogging in the pipes.
Replace old materials
The materials used in the construction of pipe systems in the home have a lifespan. Even the sturdiest materials may need to be replaced eventually. To extend their life, consider using strong materials that do not corrode easily such as modern plastics. Compared to metal, which can rust, these have a longer period of use and can withstand the pressure of everyday use better. Houses that still make use of old systems should consider replacing the pipes as an investment to prevent water damage from occurring. IF this is something that the homeowner is considering, schedule the replacements of the pipes during summer or the warm season when there is not much danger of storms and typhoons to lessen the disruption.
Install loft insulation
One of the easiest ways to maintain the health of the pipes is to install loft insulation above the pipes. Not only do loft insulations lessen the cost of heating, but they can also prevent the pipes from freezing during winter when the temperature drops. The freezing of water within the pipes is one of the leading causes of burst pipes in the homes so preventing this from happening in the first place can be an effective way of maintaining the water systems in the home.
Check the roof and gutters for blockages
Although there may not seem to be a connection between the roof and gutters of the house and the pipes located in it, keep in mind that the water systems in the property are connected with each other. If debris such as leaves and trash get into the downpipes and drainages, they can cause blockages in the pipes leading to costly repairs and in extreme cases, replacements.
Do not ignore small leaks
A small leak is easy to ignore because they cause very little damage. However, homeowners should not take these situations lightly because they often indicate a bigger problem. It could be that the material of the pipes itself is not corroded, which that the entire system would have to be replaced. In addition to this, even small leaks can lead to higher water bills because of continuous flow.
Pay attention to mold and mildew
Sometimes, pipes within the home can break in places that are not easily noticed. One way to determine if there are any malfunctioning pipes in the home is to check if there is a growth of mold and mildew within the location. These biological contaminants thrive in moist environments so a sudden outbreak could be indicative of a leak somewhere in the area.
Although not technically a part of pipe maintenance, getting insurance is such an important aspect of taking care of the property that it deserves mention. A broken pipe can easily ruin the contents of a home so getting full coverage to ensure their replacement is a worthwhile investment. When there is already an insurance policy in place, make sure that it is updated to cover the cost of reconstruction of the property in the event of damage.
Turn off the main valve when a pipe bursts
In case the pipes do burst in the home, the first thing that a property owner should do is to shut off the valves of the main water line. This will prevent even more water from entering the water system and causing further damage. Once the main valve has been turned off, drain the water that is already within the system by opening the faucet which will effectively channel the water towards safe disposal.
Keep a list of emergency numbers
Once a pipe bursts, it is quite easy to fall prey to panic. Homeowners can prevent this from happening by keeping a list of numbers they can call in the event that they discover something anomalous with their pipes. Some of the contact details that should be kept close at hand are those of the plumber and the insurance company.
Keep rooms heated
One of the ways to take care of the pipes in the house and prevent them from getting broken is to keep key areas in the property heated during winter. Doing this will allow the warm air to circulate and prevent the water within the pipes from freezing. The mass of solidifying water expands and can cause warping and bursting to occur.
Remedy frozen pipes
If the water is only working in a particular part of the house during winter, it is likely that there is a pipe in an outside wall or an area of the house that does not have insulation that is frozen. One way to remedy this is to open the cabinet doors in the kitchen and sink to allow warm air to circulate in those areas. It is quite possible that the pipes can be heated enough for the ice to melt. If a particular section of the pipe system is identified as frozen, such as when it is cold to the touch, regular household items such as hairdryers can be used to warm them up. Take note that devices that make use of open flames such as blowtorches cannot be used because it can heat the pipes too quickly and cause an explosion.
In case the pipes burst and the plumber is still a long way off, use plastic covering and tarpaulin to shield furniture and other items found around the vicinity. This will protect them from soaking in the moisture and being damaged further. Another good idea is to increase the air circulation the room by opening doors and windows. This will lessen the humidity in the room and allow the water to evaporate faster.
Leave the heating system on
If the house is going to be left empty for a long time during the winter, leave the automatic central heating running to allow warm air to circulate even when no one is home. Keeping the environment warm will prevent the pipes from bursting due to excessive pressure from the solidifying water. Although it may seem like an extra expense in terms of heating bills but it is a worthwhile investment considering that it can save the property owner from the costs of water damage restoration.
Take extra precautions when leaving the property
If the home is not equipped with a central heating system and the house is going to be left empty for a long time, the homeowner should turn off the main water valves in the property to prevent any accidental damage to pipes while no one is at home. It is also advisable to ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out on the property to ensure that problems with the pipes can be reported immediately.
Check the reputation of the specialists
Part of preventing the occurrence of broken pipes is to call professionals in to conduct assessments and repairs. However, this should not be done without research as there are some specialists who are not qualified to do the job. Only conduct business with those who are properly licensed by the local authorities to ensure that the best kind of service is received. It is not enough the local directories are checked, more research is needed in order to get a reputable professional who can work on the property. Preferably, look for someone who can show an extensive portfolio of past works.