Maxwell Plumbing
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ER Tips

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It’s Important For Plumbing Maintenance
Your homeowner’s insurance usually covers household water damage if the damage is sudden and accidental, like damage caused by burst pipes, but it does not cover damage covered by flood insurance, rising water from outside; or damage caused over time by lack of maintenance to the pipes.

The water damage claim can be a red flag to insurers as well as to future homebuyers. This can signal a possibility of a repeating of water claims to your insurance office. You are much wiser to maintain a home for water issues than face the risks of reduced home marketability and increased insurance costs.

 

 

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How To Identify Water Problems
First you need to look at your water bill, and by comparing monthly usage figures, you may get tipped off to a small leak before it becomes a huge issue.

You can use a water pressure gauge to determine whether your household water pressure is set too high. The ideal household water pressure is 60-80 pounds per square inch. (psi), but a lot of homes are set at higher pressures. To determine water pressure,
Attach the gauge to an outdoor faucet and turn the water on full.

Just as you change the batteries in your smoke detector each year, you should take time to inspect under sinks and toilets and bathroom sinks, icemakers and water softeners and around washing machines. You need to inspect pipes and fittings every year, unless you suspect a leak, then of course then.

 

 

 

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Using Preventative Maintenance
Inspect your plumbing annually. Just as you change the batteries in your smoke detectors each year, you should inspect your water pipes and fittings yearly, by doing so you could prevent thousands of dollars in water damage.

You and your family needs to know where your water shutoff valve is located and you all need to knows how to shut off household water supplies in the event of a sudden pipe or hose break or any other water emergency.

When you go on vacation, turn off the water to your washer while you’re out of town. Many homeowners have returned from vacation to find their washer hoses have burst, flooding their homes, you should never leave the house with appliances, such as dishwashers, washers or dryers, still operating.

You need to inspect around your water heater, washer, dishwasher, sinks, lavatories and refrigerator icemaker. If hoses indicate wear, replace them. Consider replacing hoses to major appliances such as your washer and dishwasher every two to five years. Steel, so-called “no burst” hoses have been shown to have a longer lifespan than other designs.

You should let faucets connected to vulnerable pipes drip during extremely cold weather. By doing this the water moving and helps to reduce the chance of freezing your pipes.

Be sure to run your exhaust fan in the bathroom while the shower is on, because it helps to remove steam that collects during this time.


Supplying The Right Amount Of Water Pressure
The Angle stops (valves) and supply lines as well as appliances are designed to withstand up to 80 pounds per square inch. The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) calls for water to be delivered to homes for domestic use at between 35 and 80 psi. Angle stops (valves) and supply lines as well as appliances are designed to withstand up to 80 pounds per square inch.

Unchecked, excessive water pressure may cause a rupture in the supply lines or valves. Water pressure regulators take the water as the water district delivers it, and regulate it to between 50 and 70 psi. The pieces in the water pressure regulator that reduce the water pressure are made of rubber and metal. Over a period of time, they can fail. When the water pressure regulator fails, water pressure to the home is allowed to increase. This puts a strain on valves, hoses and appliances that they were not designed to withstand.

A working water pressure regulator reduces the strain on plumbing fixtures and increases their service life. A water pressure test gauge can inform the homeowner if water pressure is excessive. Simply connect the gauge to an outdoor faucet, and turn on the water to determine the water pressure. Make sure the faucet used is “regulated”. Some outdoor faucets are unregulated. If the pipe connected to the faucet comes out of the wall, there is a fairly good chance that faucet is regulated. If the pressure exceeds 80psi, then there is either a failed pressure-reducing vale on the system or no device at all. In either case, you should contact a licensed plumber to remedy this situation, as excessive pressure besides being a code violation, will damage supply lines, hoses and faucets. Generally speaking, replacing the water pressure regulator, including parts and labor, should cost less than a homeowner’s standard $500 deductible.


Know Where Your Main Water Shut Off Valve Is
There are two types of main water valves: the gate valve and the ball valve. The gate valve is recognized by its round handle that must be turned a number of times to open or close the valve. The ball valve is recognized by its single handle that needs to be turned ¼ turn or 90 degrees, to turn the water on or off. Your plumbing professional can tell you about the condition of the main water valve in your home and replace it if necessary. Every homeowner should locate their main water shut off valve and know how to use it.

What Are Angle Stops
These Angle stops are valves located under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, at your washing machine, at the toilet, and refrigerator icemaker. There are angle stops for both hot and cold water. Most angle stops are of the gate variety and are made of materials that may fail over time. Replacement of theses valves is recommended when they are showing signs of leaking or they have “frozen” in the open position meaning they can’t be turned either direction. These Angle stops need to be “exercised” regularly to make sure they are not frozen in the open position. Every month or two simply turn the angle stops off and on a few times. This will keep them working as they were designed. Never force a valve that is frozen in position. Consult a plumbing professional as soon as you can.

Your Water Supply Lines
Your Water supply lines should be checked regularly for corrosion and rust and changed every 5 to 7 years. Your Water supply lines are connected from the angle stop to the appliance they serve, such as a faucet, toilet, washing machine, dishwasher and icemakers. Many times these are thin rigid lines that can easily break and cause extensive damage. Among the preferred lines are those that are stainless steel braided over rubber with threaded couplings on both ends for the sink and toilet lines. Don’t forget the dishwasher and refrigerator icemaker supply lines. These are usually overlooked because they are hidden behind these appliances.

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Your Washing Machine
The water to the washing machine should always be turned off when the machine is not in use. The instruction manuals for some washing machines call for the water to be on only when the machine is in use. Leaving the water on places the washing machine hoses and valves under constant pressure. The life of the washing machine hose can be prolonged if the water is turned on only when the machine is in use. The washing machine supply box shown is found in most recently constructed homes. The box sits inside the drywall and the angle stops are inside the box.

Always change hoses when a new machine is purchased, or you move to a new location. Washing machine hoses need to be checked regularly and replaced periodically. Most failures occur at the coupling. Either type should be used in accordance with the washing machine manufacturer’s recommendations. Regardless of the material the hose is made of, it needs to be checked and changed regularly. A broken washing machine supply line can cause extensive damage if it is not discovered quickly and the water turned off.


Immediately Clean Up After a Leak

  • You should turn off water to the house first.
  • Then remove as much water as possible with blotting and mopping.
  • You should remove all photos, art and small fixtures to a safe, dry section of the house.
  • Also remove damp books from shelves and spread them out to dry flatting the curled up pages.
  • You need to wipe wooden furniture down to dry, and then, prop up cushions so they will dry evenly.
  • Then open drawers, cabinets and closets for so they will dry faster.
  • You can put aluminum foil, saucers or wood blocks between furniture legs and carpeting that is wet.
  • Also you need to remove rugs from on top of wet carpet to this will help to prevent color saturations.
  • If you have wet flooring and carpet. Always remove items that are not colorfast, such as your books and magazines.
  • To speed drying, immediately use fans to circulate air.
  • You need to try to stabilize the indoor air temperature to about 70 degrees and use dehumidifiers, if possible this will keep mold from forming.

Our Good Ideas

  • You should not lift tacked down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly can cause shrinkage.
  • You should not use an ordinary vacuum to remove water.
  • You should not use electrical appliances while standing on wet carpet.

Our tips are provided as a service from Maxwell Plumbing Services, the information in Maxwell Plumbing Services “emergency tips” is intended to simplify jobs around the home. Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Maxwell Plumbing Services assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt of any procedures mentioned in this section.