7 Things Every Homeowner Should Know about Their Plumbing

A DIY plumbing repair

All functional households rely on a well-maintained plumbing system for everyday comfort and convenience.

Unfortunately, some homeowners never take the time to learn anything about how this critical system works or what can go wrong when trouble strikes. Sooner or later, this lack of knowledge can lead to unexpected and avoidable service disruptions and potentially major repair or replacement expenses.

Here are seven important things you should know about your household plumbing in order to keep the risk of unforeseen mishaps low.

1) Learn the Basics of Your Plumbing System

A good overall grasp of the nature of your plumbing system can prove invaluable when problems arise. In addition to helping you carry out appropriate do-it-yourself solutions, this knowledge can help you provide a plumbing expert with critical advanced information when major problems arise.

If you live in a developed area such as a subdivision or urban center, your plumbing system almost certainly connects directly to a larger municipal/regional water supply network.

However, residents of outlying areas may sometimes rely on local wells, instead. In addition, most of the region’s households connect directly to a more extensive sewer system. Alternatively, you may have a septic tank installed on your property.

2) Know How to Locate & Shut Off Your Main Water Line

All households in built-up areas of Orange County are connected to their municipal/regional water system through a main water line. This line’s connection point typically lies near your property’s border.

In addition, all household water systems connected to a municipal/regional network come equipped with a shutoff valve that will allow you to halt the flow from the network into your building completely.

If you develop a major leak somewhere within or outside your home, knowledge of the location of this valve may be the only thing that helps you avoid flooding-related severe damage. Sometimes, you may find the shutoff at the edge of your property near the water meter.

However, you may also have a separate valve installed on the exterior of your building. Most professional plumbers recommend that you close the shutoff valve slowly to avoid potentially damaging water pressure shifts.

3) Know How to Shut Down Sections of Your Plumbing System

Most of the time, problems with your plumbing affect part of the system, not the entire system. Classic examples of this common scenario including kitchen sink leaks, toilet leaks and water heater malfunctions.

Your plumbing system is designed to allow you to shut down many affected areas without having to resort to a full shutdown of the main water line. If you learn the locations of these local shutoff points (e.g., under the kitchen sink, behind each toilet or near the water heater), you can save yourself a lot of stress and hassle when problems arise.

Instead of losing the water supply to your entire building, you’ll just lose the flow through the specific damaged or malfunctioning area.

4) Learn the Telltale Signs of Leaky Pipes

The sources of plumbing leaks in your household are sometimes quite obvious. However, if you don’t know what to look for, you can fail to recognize certain leaks. This failure can lead to worsening problems and needless increases in your eventual repair or replacement bill. Here are several telltale indications that may point to the presence of significant leaking:

  • Dark rings or other forms of discoloration on an interior wall (potential indicator of a plumbing leak or a roof leak)
  • Sagging or wet floors, especially in a kitchen or bathroom
  • Visible signs of mold development
  • The smell of mildew in an interior space, and
  • Unexplained or unexpected increases in your monthly water bill

5) Learn the Signs of a Slab Leak

Slab leak is the name commonly used for a leaking pipe located beneath or within the concrete slab that forms your home’s foundation. In a worst-case scenario, this form of leaking can cost you thousands of dollars in repair/replacement costs.

Because of this, you should make slab leak detection a specific area of focus. Things to look for include:

  • Cracked floor tiles
  • Unexplained bubbles in a linoleum surface
  • Constantly moist carpets
  • A low, unexplained splashing or hissing sound in any given room
  • An unexplained warm spot in your floor
  • An unexplained or unexpected increase in your water bill
  • A gradual or sudden decline in your household water pressure, and
  • Cracked interior walls (indication of severe problems and a shifting foundation)

6) Know How to Shut Off Your Gas Supply

Your house’s natural gas supply lines are traditionally viewed as part of the larger plumbing system. Like the water lines in most Orange County homes, these lines typically enter your property through a single main connection. However, you may also have a separate gas or propane tank installed directly on your property.

Every homeowner should know how to shut off the flow of gas when a known or suspected leak occurs. In addition to identifying the location of the master shutoff valve, identify the location of the shutoff valve for each gas-powered appliance. That way, you can stop the local flow to the affected appliance instead of cutting off your household supply.

7) Learn How to Read Your Water Meter & Monthly Bill

As we’ve already noted, unexpected or unexplained increases in your monthly water costs may indicate the presence of an otherwise undetected leak. However, unless you know how to read your water bill and track month-to-month changes, you can easily overlook gradual increases or end up downplaying the seriousness of the issue.

You can also potentially identify leaks by observing the readings on your water meter. Again, to take advantage of this detection method, you must know how to track meter readings and interpret their significance.

The local entity that supplies water to your home is your chief go-to resource in both areas. Upon request, they should supply you with any needed help.

You can also get a thorough rundown on any plumbing-related issues from a trusted plumbing professional, such as Orange Coast Plumbing. We’re available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for any plumbing emergencies or issues you may encounter. We look forward to serving you soon.



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