If you’re not a DIY enthusiast or a professional
plumber, you may never have given a second thought to the water that comes out of your taps.
However, when something goes wrong there’s information that you might need to have to hand to make it easier to resolve the issue.
Here’s a list of some of the essential facts and knowledge that everyone should have about the plumbing in their home or business.
How to shut the water off
Rather an obvious one, but it’s surprising the number of people who wouldn’t know how to shut the water off if then encountered a problem.
The supply of water can normally be shut off directly at the meter; there may be two separate points, one at the meter and the other one in the house itself.
You should find out where these valves are in case you need the information in the event of an emergency; if you need to turn them, do so carefully and slowly as they may be very old and the pressure of the water may be high.
How to shut your gas off
Arguably even more critical than knowing how to shut off your water, in the event of a gas leak you need to know how to shut off the supply without delay.
You should also make sure you understand exactly what appliances in your home are powered by gas; you may be able to shut off the supply at the individual appliance rather than at the point where it enters the building.
Where the valves are on your plumbing appliances
Whether it’s a sink or a toilet, every plumbing fixture in your home will have a valve allowing you to quickly shut off the water supply to the specific location.
Understanding where these valves are located could help to prevent water damage to your furnishings and property in the event of a leak.
How to read your water meter
If you’re on a water meter it’s a good idea to
compare your bill with the meter to make sure you’re being invoiced for the right amount of money.
It’s also a good idea to check your water meter regularly to monitor your usage; if you see a drastic increase with no obvious cause, it might indicate that you have an undiagnosed leak somewhere on your property, allowing you to take remedial action before damage occurs.
How to isolate the water supply to the heater
If your water heater breaks down, you’ll be left without hot water, but if you turn the supply off at the source, you’ll be left without any water at all.
Learning how to isolate the supply of water to the heater and switch it off means that if there’s a problem with your heater, you can still have the convenience of a cold water supply for other plumbing fixtures.
Understanding where your air conditioning condensation lines are
More likely to apply to a business than a home plumbing supply, it’s important to know where the air conditioning condensation lines are and also how to check they are working as they should be.
Air conditioning units produce condensation when they’re being used and if this doesn’t drain away properly, it can result in mould and ultimately damage to the structure itself. Regular checks will ensure there’s no sign of pools of water or excess moisture.
If you’ve never looked for your shut-off valves before or checked your meter, the idea may sound intimidating but it’s surprisingly easy. If you can’t find the information you need or aren’t sure what you are looking at, next time your plumber comes to service your boiler or appliances, ask him to show you where to locate what you’re looking for. In the event of an emergency, you’ll be grateful that you prepared in advance.