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!