According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 10 percent of homes have plumbing leakages. This results in 90 gallons of water wasted daily. And across the US, 1 trillion gallons of water leakages happen every year.
For the average home with the 90-gallon leakages, this translates to almost $170 per year in water costs. Interestingly, most of these leaks and other issues can be easily fixed if you’re familiar with your plumbing.
In this article, our focus will be on things to know about plumbing. We believe that if people are familiar with their plumbing system, they’ll do a better job of managing emergencies -at least until help comes.
Your Water Source
Where’s your water coming from? If you live in the city, chances are you have municipal water. But, if you live in the suburbs, the rural area or a farm, chances are your water supply is the well.
Understanding this is one of the important things to know about your plumbing. This is because public water from the city’s water board or corporation usually come treated. So, you never have to really worry about it, unless it’s a Flint-like situation.
If you’re responsible for your own water though, you’ll need to carry out water treatment processes to have clean, drinkable water. This can be quite expensive, but it does pay off in the long run in the form of zero water bills.
Still on the subject of water sources, your water is also linked to your sewer and septic system. City dwellers don’t have to worry about this as they’ll pay monthly for the services, including maintenance.
Rural dwellers, on the other hand, have to build their own private septic or sewage system, maintain them and take personal responsibility for these.
The good thing about it is, once it’s set up, it requires minimal oversight. Just periodic maintenance routines to ensure that it’s working as well as it should. You’ll also need to ensure that it’s not contaminating your water sources.
Ascertain Your Water Pressure
Too little water pressure and your shower won’t flow as it should, or your taps run as they should. Too much pressure and your pipes could burst. You want the ideal pressure so that your plumbing works just fine without any problems.
To ensure that your water pressure is optimal, you need to periodically test your water pressure. We recommend every quarter, which sort of coincides with roughly every new season.
All you need is a pressure gauge. These are usually inexpensive and available at your local hardware store. Once you have that, turn off your water. Then attach the pressure gauge to a tap or a hose outside the house. Then turn on the water back on, and watch the readings on the gauge display.
A 45-55 psi reading is ideal. This is usually the range for most homes and properties. Anything below 40 psi and above 80 psi means that your water pressure isn’t optimal. You need to have that checked out and fixed as soon as possible.
The easiest fixes are to get a plumber to install a water regulator on your main line. For high water pressure, get them to set it to a max of 75 psi. Some plumbers recommend a lower number. Ask them what they think.
For low water pressure, install a pressure booster and get a plumber to do it.
Know Where Emergency Valve Shutoffs are Located
Knowing where your water mains shutoff valves are is one of the things to know about plumbing in your home. This is very important in case of leakages in the home or property.
Shutting this off on time can be the difference between a flooded basement and no flooding. Turning off your emergency valves or the water mains will play a huge role if your pipes or home springs some kind of leak.
The same applies to your appliances in the home. Know where the water cutoff valves or taps are. This way, if they become faulty, you can stop the water supply to them until they’re fixed.
The good thing is most appliances, and fixtures in the home have their shutoff valves near them. All you have to do it turn them clockwise and your water supply goes off.
Pay Attention to Your Water Heater
Most people don’t pay attention to their water heater until it’s too late -usually in the middle of a severe winter storm or a hot bath. You need to be familiar with your water heater.
Find out the age, type, and energy efficiency ratings. There are usually three types of water heaters: solar, tankless and traditional. All three have their pros and cons.
Tankless, also known as “on demand” is great for smaller homes and eliminates the need for tanks in the house. Traditional is your regular water heater with high capacity storage tanks installed in the home. Solar is perfect for sunny climates.
Also, check for their energy efficiency ratings. More specifically, look for the Uniform Energy Factor (UEF). This is the latest metric used to measure water heating efficiency by the Department of Energy.
There’s this gloassary section there that will get you familiarized with all plumbing terms. All Energy Star certified water heaters have their UEF ratings. You can check out yours on the Department of Energy site.
Check for Water Quality
According to water authorities, you should test your water once a year at the very minimum. This is how you ensure that your water quality remains constant throughout the year.
If you can check more frequently, by all means, do so. Water quality can depreciate within weeks if certain minerals and compounds become more abundant.
For instance, a sudden increase in sulfur quantity will result in foul-smelling water -usually smells like rotten eggs.
If it’s manganese or iron, your water color will go from clear to brown. Just buy a water testing kit from your local hardware store. They’re inexpensive and easy to use.
Are There Other Things to Know About Plumbing in Your Home?
Of course, there are other things to know about plumbing. These include paying attention to your water bill, check for hidden leakages, adjust water pressure, how to plunge a toilet, and switch out shower heads.
These are all simple and can be learned. Want to know how? Just visit the plumbing section of the MyPressPlus website.