A small mirror of the kind carried in purses can be helpful in diagnosing toilet clog problems. If the toilet becomes clogged, position the mirror so it reflects up the drainway. Then shine a flashlight on the mirror to see if a foreign object like a child’s toy is causing the problem.
When replacing sections of old galvanized pipe, use two smaller pipe wrenches to avoid twisting and jarring the rest of the pipes. Try to avoid excessive pressure or you may cause more leaks in joints down the line. When leaks develop, always inspect the rest of the piping. An entire section may need replacement, especially if the water pressure is low.
Low Flow Heads
Installing low-flow shower heads and aerators in faucets can reduce your hot water consumption by half.
Hot Water Savings
Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to save money on your gas/electricity bill. If you have children in the house, this is also a safety measure.
Water Quality Report
The majority of consumers rely on local utilities to produce a safe and ample supply of water. Your local water agency is responsible for sending you an annual Consumer Confidence Report that should list the source of your water, what contaminants may be in the water, and information on the safety levels of contaminants and their effects on health.
Water Heater Savings
Water heaters consume much of their energy just to keep a supply of hot water ready and waiting in the tank. The heat gradually leaks out of the tank until the heater turns on again to heat the water back up. To minimize this heat loss, ready-made kits for insulating water heaters and hot water pipes are available at hardware stores and building supply stores. Your utility company may also provide these at a discounted cost or offer a rebate on your purchase. Be careful not to cover the thermostat when insulating your water heater and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Flood Prep – Sewer
Keep these points in mind if you have backflow valves installed:
a) Changes to the plumbing in your house must be done by a licensed plumber or contractor, who will ensure that the work is done correctly and according to all applicable codes. This is important for your safety.
b) Some valves incorporate the advantages of both flap and gate valves into a single design. Your plumber or contractor can advise you on the relative advantages and disadvantages of the various types of backflow valves.
c) Valves should be installed on all pipes that leave the house or that are connected to equipment that is below the potential flood level. So valves may be needed on washing machine drain lines, laundry sinks, fuel oil lines, rain downspouts, and sump pumps, as well as sewer/septic connections.
d) If you have a sump pump, it may be connected to underground drain lines, which may be difficult to seal off.
Flood Prep Plumbing
Check Drain Plug: Install a floating floor drain plug at the current drain location. If the floor drain pipe backs up, the float will rise and plug the drain.
Install a Sewer Backflow Valve: If flood waters enter the sewer system, sewage can back up and enter your home. To prevent this, have a qualified, licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve. Check with your building department for permit requirements.
If you are retrofitting a backflow value, check with your building department for permit requirements. Be sure to talk to a professional home builder, architect, contractor or building supply retailer for other backflow mitigation tips.
When you are working in an area where a washer or nut can drop into a delicate assembly or be difficult to retrieve, use dental floss. Fasten one end of a long piece of floss to the part and the other end to something solid. When the parts are finally installed, the dental floss can either be cut off or, as in the case of a nut, it will come right off because it will be cut by the threading action.
Septic Tank Care
Have your tank inspected by a septic tank professional every three to five years – more frequently if your family uses a lot of water and/or a garbage disposer. You can reduce the strain on your septic system by using less water and staggering showers, clothes washing, bathing and other heavy usage.