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Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Summer

Summer is the "home buying" season. Many new homebuyers find out too late that their dream home is riddled with water leakage or a poor plumbing system. In fact, 44% of consumers call a plumber within one year of purchasing a home. To avoid such unexpected and costly problems, we recommend that you visually inspect any potential home for problems and offer these helpful tips:

Bathroom Plumbing Tips

  • Check around the base of the toilet for signs of water damage (i.e.; rolled vinyl, black or white stains).
  • To check for a "soft floor," stand straddled over the toilet and rock back and forth on each foot. If the floor feels spongy, it is probably rotting or weakened.
  • Check to see how fast the toilet flushes.
  • Check for leaky or loose tiles by pressing on the walls where they come in contact with the bathtub. If the walls are soft, water may have created damage behind the tiles.
  • Provide a trash bin in the bathroom so the toilet isn't used as a garbage can. Never flush cotton swabs, cotton balls, hair, facial scrub pads, diapers, sanitary products or similar items down the toilet. These items will not easily dissolve and are responsible for most clogs.

Water Supply Piping

  • Turn on water in bathtub and in the kitchen sink. If there is a noticeable reduction in water volume, the piping in the house may need to be replaced because of calcium and mineral deposits restricting water flow.
  • If the home has a basement, check exposed piping for signs of leaking or recent repairs.
  • Find the main line cleanout and ensure that it is accessible.

Water Heater Plumbing Tips

  • Check the date of the water heater. The first four numbers of the serial number on the water heater are the month and year. Any heater over 15 years old is a candidate to be replaced.
  • A rusty water tank is a sign of pending problems.

Miscellaneous Plumbing Tips

  • Check to make sure that the garbage disposer and dishwasher connections are tight and leak free.
  • Survey the inside of cabinets (with a flashlight) for signs of water damage, warped cabinet bottom or stains. Make sure that traps and supply tubes are not leaking.
  • Check washing machine hoses for rupture. Turn valves on and off to test for leaks.

Standing Water

Standing water is another common problem resulting from leaky or broken pipes. Excess water in a yard may be coming from a damaged sewer line and may contain waste from the home. Standing water is not healthy for children or pets, and is a breeding ground for insects and germs. Inspect the yard for areas that are too wet and with unusual plant or grass growth.

Sewer Inspection

If you are planning to purchase a home, doing a video inspection of the underground sewer pipe may be a good idea, especially in older homes with clay or concrete sewer pipes. The inspection will reveal any flaws with the sewer before you buy and inherit a problem. The cost of repairing or replacing an underground sewer may cost many thousands of dollars making a relatively inexpensive camera inspection a good investment.

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