When people say experience is the best teacher, they often discount the
fact that other people’s experience can be an equally-skilled instructor,
and one that doesn’t carry an immense price tag at the end. This
principle holds true for plumbing matters, where someone else learning
the hard way can teach you a valuable lesson of mistakes not to make in
your own home. On this blog, we’ll discuss three major plumbing
disasters and talk about the lessons and advice the experience that can
be taken from other peoples’ mistakes.
Toilets Go Bad
A toilet is a mechanical device, and while there are few moving parts involved,
the fact of the matter is like everything else, they will eventually break.
And when they do, the results can be catastrophic to your home and cost
you thousands in repairs.
A couple found this out the hard way upon reaching their golden years.
Back in the 1950s, they decided to accent their brand-new home with a
designer toilet that they felt showed off their “style.” Well
decades passed, and more than half a century later the toilet’s
tank cracked and collapsed while the couple was away at the grocery store.
They came home to the entire ground floor of their home being submerged
under nearly an inch of water, running their floors, furniture, and unfortunately
a large quantity of precious memories in the form of photographs and video tapes.
The moral of the story we can take from this experience is simple: toilets
may be simple, but you need to have them inspected periodically to ensure
they’re still in good working condition. A toilet can last you as
much as 30 to 40 years without issue, but the older it gets, the more
prone to an issue it may become so consider replacing old latrines with
new, low-flow, water-efficient units.
Beware Frigid Temperatures
Frigid, below-freezing temperatures are the mortal enemy of plumbing systems,
especially metal ones. While most homeowners know to prepare for winter
by insulating their exposed plumbing or shutting off their water if they’re
leaving town for a period of time, forgetting can have disastrous consequences.
One man from the northern state of Wisconsin found this out the hard way.
Before leaving for his winter home in Tucson, Arizona one year, he went
through his winterizing checklist but forgot the final step on the morning
of his departure: shut off your water at the main valve. Within a few
weeks, the temperatures were in sub-zero territory, and the exposed plumbing
lines froze. As the water in the lines froze, it expanded, causing the
lines to crack and shatter. When the ice thawed out, they flooded his
house, costing him thousands in repairs and immense water bills.
Fortunately Tennessee doesn’t have to deal with ice-cold temperatures
too frequently, but there are times where cold fronts or weather patterns
can bring about several days of extremely cold weather. When this is the
case and you know you’re going to be away from your home for a few
days or more, be sure to shut off your water at the main water valve and
relieve pressure from the valves by opening your faucets for a few minutes.
Giving the water in your pipes room to expand can prevent thousands of
dollars of immense damage. Also, consider having neighbors check on your
home occasionally to make sure nothing’s gone catastrophically wrong.
Is Your Sump Pump in Good Condition?
When a sump pump is working properly, you probably don’t even think
twice about it. That’s completely normal: you shouldn’t have
to worry that the small mechanical device in your basement is keeping
you safe. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention
to it and at least check it on occasion to ensure it’s still working right.
Two homeowners in the northeast found this out the hard way not long after
buying what they thought was their dream home: a Victorian-style build
from the 1800s that also featured a finished basement, courtesy the labor
and investment from the previous owners. While everything in the home
was in great shape, the new homeowners failed to pay attention to the
sump pump in their basement. All through spring and summer, the pump sat
dormant and ignored. Then when the first big rain storm came at the end
of fall, disaster hit. The sump basin quickly filled with rainwater and
flooded as the pump failed to start due to a blown motor, causing the
entire basement to flood with more than two inches of standing water.
The repairs took weeks and cost the couple thousands of dollars.
What can you learn from this couple’s mistake? Your sump pump may
not be important during summer, but making sure it works is a responsibility
that you need to adhere to all year long. Flip the switch to turn your
pump on and make sure it’s working each month, and every three to
four months pour a bucket of water into the basin to make sure it’s
able to pump it out in the event of a flood.
Got a plumbing problem?
Call Smith’s Plumbing Services today at (901) 290-1110!