There is an old saying in the building industry, that if you’re a plumber you only need to know two things. Water runs downhill and payday is on Friday. But this, of course, is an industry joke. Plumbers are highly skilled people integral to the building industry. They are responsible for all your running water, toilets, showers, and even keeping your lawn looking nice and fresh. They are people of high integrity that will come and fix your plumbing needs at the drop of hat, sometimes in the middle of the night for an extra fee.
They play a vital role in society and without them, life would be a sea of overflowing drains and toilets and quite simply unbearable. There are some precautionary measures that you, the common folk, can take to ease the burden on our faithful plumbing friends and maybe save a bit of cash in the long the run.
Do Regular Inspections of Your Home
Regular inspections of your home will save you money and stress down the track. Keep your eye out for any water leaks which can be found under the sink, near the dishwasher or anywhere there is a tap really. Small water leaks can create big problems and if left untreated will become exponentially worse over time. The water can rot the wood in your house and create more damage than you bargained for.
When it does come time to fix, the plumber is not the only tradie you will need. A carpenter might have to get involved and repair your cabinets or affected areas. If you feel you can tackle the leak yourself, by all means, have a go at it. It might be just a matter of replacing a washer or two. If not, call in the hired guns. Your friend the plumber.
Know Where the Mains Tap Is In Your Home
In case of any overflows or burst piping, you need to know where the main water supply tap is for your home. This can come in handy when you get those unexpected nasty surprises such as an overflowing toilet, or you strike a pipe when pottering around in the garden. Water costs money and the longer you leave the pipe gushing that’s money literally flowing down the drain. Well hopefully down the drain and not throughout your house, causing more damage as time goes on!
If you know where your main water supply tap is, you can prevent this from happening and prevent damage to your house and a massive clean-up. This will stop the water flow as you wait for your local hero, the plumber, to arrive.
Have Some Basic Tools and Some Spares On Hand
I don’t mean you need to wear them on a utility belt at all times in the event of an impending plumbing problem. It’s a good idea to have some basic tools in the house so you can solve some minor issues yourself. You will need a plunger for those stubbornly clogged drains. This is plumbing 101 and will help you in a variety of situations from a clogged toilet to a clogged kitchen sink. Chemical sink uncloggers should be a last resort as they have the ability to reduce the life of your piping as they are highly corrosive
Vice Grips or Stillson wrenches are for tightening pipes and valves that are loose and causing some leakage. Sometimes all it takes is a few turns of the vice grips to solve leaking issues. Then you should have some thread tape too, just in case the tread has worn away on some of your pipes. It also depends on the water piping in your house. If you have an old house, more than likely you have copper or metal pipes.
Be Careful When Digging
Gardening is a relaxing past time until you hit a water main and all hell breaks loose. The relaxing part goes out the window as your head is in a spin. If you must garden, it’s a good idea to know the positioning of your pipes so you avoid an accident. I did it mowing the other week. I accidentally bumped into the tap just a little too hard and water started spurting out everywhere. Luckily, I knew where the mains were and turned them off before they could saturate the lawn. I learnt a valuable lesson that day and that lesson was to be a bit more careful when working in the garden.
Hopefully, these suggestions have been of some help. What seems like common sense to some people can be gobbledygook to others – especially if you’re not the do it yourself type character. The most important information you should take from this post is to know where your water mains are, because if you can shut them off it will bide you some time until the plumber gets there. The rest of the information is handy such as doing regular inspections but knowing where the water mains are is imperative. I repeat. KNOW WHERE YOUR WATER MAINS ARE!