A small leak is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a bigger problem in your home. Drip-drops from your faucet are like a small pebble that keeps rolling down a snow-covered peak. It can easily turn into an avalanche. Water damage from plumbing leaks can lead to expensive home disasters, but you can avoid them by incorporating some smart care habits and tips into your regular routines.
The location of your shut-off valve
The first thing you should do, if you are not particularly familiar with the layout of plumbing hotspots in your home, is to locate the main shut-off valve in your home. In the case of plumbing leaks that begins to truly damage your household, you can react quickly and go straight to the shut-off valve in order to turn off the influx of water to the entire house.
Ensure localized damage
Sometimes, your life will simply be too hectic to pay attention to minutia around the house. If you do not notice a dangerous leak in time, you might want to ensure localized damage by installing dedicated shut-off valves for individual appliances and in certain hotspots around the house. This will also enable you to operate in other parts of the house. For example, if you need to shut off the water supply to the kitchen, you can still shower and use the bathroom. Ball-type valves of this kind are usually quite cheap – in the ballpark of $10 / but you should also account for the price of installation by your designated plumber.
Know your repairman
A phonebook of repairmen will do you no good if push comes to shove. Find a dedicated plumber you’ll learn to rely on, someone who will know your house inside. In other words, you need an experienced repairman who can resolve your leak before it becomes an emergency, who is renowned for versatility when it comes to tackling a variety of leaks, bursts and general repairs.
Flow sensor might tip the scales
Time is of the essence in the case of a major leak. Flow sensors might give you just the edge you need. The purpose of such a device is to automatically detect plumbing leaks and, and as soon as it does, it will shut off the water supply to the entire house or a singular appliance, depending on how you installed it. Installation of such a device is an investment, but can definitely pay off in the long run.
Consider pipe insulation
Do you live in a part of Australia that sees stark temperature fluctuations throughout the day, let alone year? Adding pipe insulation to the weak spots will certainly protect your piping from premature wear and tear that usually leads to plumbing disasters. Inspect the usual suspects for weak spots – basement, garage, and possibly crawl spaces. This is where you should consider adding that extra layer of insulation, and make sure every singular centimeter of length is covered.
Keep the chemicals away
Do not pack your sink cabinets and vanities with stuff, especially if you have a tendency to store cleaning chemicals in such unseemly spaces. If you begin hoarding a spectacular variety of cleaners and disinfection fluids beneath the sink, you’re putting your household in extra danger. When bottles and boxes of this synthetic stuff are combined with serious local leaks, it creates a cocktail of toxic fumes and liquids that spreads around your floor. This can put you in a tough spot indeed, and there is rarely a type of service that provides cleaning in such specific situations, so it’ll be up to you to solve this biohazard.
Regular inspection is an important factor
Small habits can make a big difference. You do not necessarily need to be tech-savvy in order to prevent serious leaks and water damage. Simply take a look beneath the sink every now and then, check the pipes in your basement and inspect weak spots around your household. Know how your piping runs and look for the telltale signs of problems that can turn gargantuan unless they are handled – see if there is any corrosion on the piping and look for the signs of mold.
Whenever something looks iffy, do not waste time and call your repairman immediately. Problems with piping simply do not go away, and time will begin to work against you sooner than you think. In other words, you need to be vigilant and prompt in the case of plumbing leaks and every passing minute will incrementally ramp up the cost of repairs and renovation.