As a homeowner, you are probably intimately acquainted with many of the details of your home. You might know how to wiggle your key just so to unlock your back door, or which particular floor boards creak. You may have lovingly arranged a portrait centered precisely over your mantle, or discovered your ceilings aren't perfectly level while redoing your moulding. These details are part of your daily life and become an important part of the familiarity you feel with your living space.
You undoubtedly know many things about your home, but are you well-acquainted with your pipes? Although you can always call a specialist to help with any problems that may arise, knowing the ins and outs of your water and sewer systems will help you maintain your home and prepare for any issues that could occur. It's much easier to know the ins and outs of your home's pipes before a problem strikes.
1. Have your home inspected before you buy
It is definitely worth the money to pay a professional home inspector to inspect your future home. A good home inspector will provide you with a thorough written report, noting any flaws, safety hazards, or future problems. Many even provide photographs.
If you know of a potential drain problem that needs to be assessed or are unable to locate your home's septic tank, it may be worthwhile to have a sewer camera inspection and/or locate service performed on the property. P & B Drain Cleaning and Septic Services offers diagnostic camera inspections and locate services, and can provide written reports, photographs, and video for your use.
2. Know your water source and how your waste is removed
In Valley, Adams, and Idaho counties, septic tanks and wells are more common than in urban areas. While wells and septic tanks can save you from an additional utility bill, it is important to be aware of their existence. As the owner of a septic system, it is important to do your due diligence to keep the enzymes in the tank healthy and have it regularly pumped. Knowing its location on your property is also important. This helps the company pumping your septic tank easily access it, and will be useful if you choose to perform any excavation on your property.
If you depend on water and sewer from your municipality or water district, there is less you need to know about within your home. However, it is good to be mindful of your average water bill; any dramatic increases in water usage without explanation likely mean you have a leak somewhere.
3. Learn about clean-outs
Clean-outs are access points to your pipes. Knowing the location of the clean-outs inside your home is very important when your pipes freeze or you are facing a clog. It can help you and your service provider find a solution much faster. We highly recommend having an outside clean-out if at all possible, as it is much faster (and tidier) to access your pipes from the outside.
4. Know the material of your pipe
In the middle of the twentieth century, Orangeburg pipes were all the rage. They were affordable, easy to install, touted as being root proof (which, lo and behold, was definitely not true) and made of veritable cardboard. Needless to say, cardboard can only handle so much water exposure. Over time, it can collapse, bend, and break. If your home was build prior to the late 1970s, we highly recommend checking to see what kind of pipe comprises your waste lines. Even the owners of P & B Drain Cleaning and Septic learned this the hard way last summer, when they received a hefty water bill and quickly realized their Orangeburg water line had sprung a leak.
We highly recommend having waste lines made of ABS or PVC. Both are far more durable and do not have the root problems Orangeburg, cast iron, and concrete asbestos pipes are all prone to experiencing.
5. Discover the location of your water shut off valve
If you spring a leak, it's important to know where your water shut off valve is located so you can prevent your house from flooding. One of the least ideal locations for a water shut off valve is within a crawl space. If your crawl space begins to flood, or the leak has another cause underneath your home, it can become quite difficult to shut off the water with the valve located below your house. One of the locations we recommend having a shut off valve installed in is an easily-accessible closet.
If you have any questions or concerns about your home's pipes and drains, you can always call P & B Drain Cleaning and Septic Services. We are able to address nearly every drain, sewer, and septic issue you may have, and we offer 24/7 emergency availability.