tips to avoid common pipe problems

We've all heard the horror stories of winter vacationers coming home to a flooded basement! Winter pipe bursts are just one of the many common pipe problems that Kansas City homeowners may experience. However, many such costly snafus can easily be avoided with a little knowledge and a little bit of regular maintenance. Here are some tips on how you can keep your pipes flowing smoothly.

Toilet Trouble

Too much toilet paper and not enough flushing can easily clog a toilet's pipes. Of course, flushing foreign objects will also have the same effect! If you have very small children, you'll need to be extra vigilant when they use the facilities. Teach them the proper amount of toilet paper to use and explain what will happen if they don't comply. The toilet is for one thing and one thing only: it is not a toy.

Clogs in the Kitchen

Fats are your kitchen pipes' worst enemy. The curved shape of the pipes under your sink make them especially susceptible to the buildup of fatty materials; if you are cooking in the winter months when outside temperatures are frigid, the problem is compounded. Always use strainers in your sinks and make it a rule to never, ever dispose of cooking grease and oils via the drain. No matter how vigilant you are, however, there will always be a certain amount of greasy soapy residue in the pipes: run hot water for five minutes down the drains periodically, and your pipes should be just fine and your sink back-up free.

Clogs in the Bathtub

Hair and soap will clog up bathtub and sink pipes fairly quickly: the best trick is to prevent their accumulation in the first place. Use a strainer over your bathtub drain, and clean it every time the tub is used. Take the time to pour boiling water down both the sink and tub drains once a month to prevent problems further down in the pipes. Avoid chemical solutions since they can damage pipes.

Bursting Pipes

First, identify which pipes are most likely to freeze: chances are they will be the ones that run along exterior walls on a side of the house that gets little winter sun. Use pipe insulators if possible to avoid freezing, or install electric heating tape. If, for some reason, you cannot reach these pipes, you may wish to leave your sink water dripping on especially cold nights. If you leave on vacation, simply turn off your main water valve.

Many pipe problems can be prevented in the first place if you practice just a little prevention.

Plumbing activities can involve anything from replacing a faucet to installing new pipes and most tasks are not as tricky as you may have been led to believe, as long as you have the correct information coupled with the confidence to do them properly. Thorough research on the tasks required will let you make an informed decision whether you can tackle the job yourself. Although not always difficult, plumbing does take a great deal of time so if feel you wouldn't have the patience then your best option is to call in a professional.


everything you wanted to know about your plumber

A Kansas City plumber is one whose job is to ensure that you are not standing in knee-deep water after every trip to the bathroom or every washing day, or every hour of dish washing. In a building, there are many systems in place and the system of drainage, drinking water, pipe work for heating and cooling systems, and other water pipes and these all come under the domain of the plumber.

For effective execution of all work under the banner of plumbing, a plumber has to hold a valid license. He must have a thorough knowledge of all the practical and theoretical aspects of the job. A good grasp of math, science and English helps. This job requires one to be ready to work whenever called, in cramped, often dirty places. Duct fixing, mechanical services, gas fitting, sanitary problems, water supply, roofing and draining are some of the main areas of expertise. To get a license, one has to have the requisite number of years in practical experience and pay the fees and the necessary insurance cover. References are needed from previous and current employers as well as the plumber under whom apprenticeship was completed.

The plumbing code gives a broad spectrum idea of the best and most modern methods of carrying out plumbing operations. Licenses ensure that only capable individuals are given the responsibility. Inspection and permits ensure that work is completed as per regulations.

In a Kansas City area home, plumbing constitutes almost 15% of the value of the house. It has to an efficient system. Drains, toilets, tubes, floor drains, fittings, faucets, compression faucets, kitchen sinks, lavatory bowls and bathtubs, water closets, tanks, shower equipment, water heaters, and pipes all come within the ambit of a plumber's job.

An efficient plumbing system in your home ensures good health for everyone and goes a long way in protecting the environment. A knowledgeable plumber makes sure the plumbing is as efficient as can be.

If you are planning to take on a home improvement project, the plumbing involved is probably something that is causing you to worry. Whenever you make major alterations to a property plumbing is usually involved and needs to be done properly. It is easy to gloss over the importance of plumbing in your home improvement projects, making sure it is done well can save you time, money and stress in the long run.

You should consider where plumbing will be involved in your project before you start and make sure you plan for it in advance. Usually home improvements that involve a kitchen or bathroom will involve a degree of plumbing work. Depending on the scope you may feel capable of tackling the project yourself, or you may want to play it safe and employ a professional. You should get a quote and ensure your plumber is available before you begin your project.

Some people may find little reward in plumbing as no one can see the results of your efforts, but good quality plumbing will allow your home to function well without leaks or endless repairs. For those that feel comfortable trying their hand at plumbing, they may find it easier than they expect. For those that don’t there is no shame in calling the plumber

everyday plumbing tips for the kansas city home owner

Main water cutoff:
Make sure everyone in the house knows where it is in case of an emergency.

Toilet overflow:
If you believe your toilet is about to overflow, quickly remove the tank lid, reach down and push the flush valve closed. It covers the tennis ball-sized opening in the bottom of the tank. That keeps the bowl from overflowing while you clear the obstruction.

Toilet Check:
Remove tank lid, add food coloring to the water in the tank. Check the bowl in ten or fifteen minutes. If you see color, the flapper valve may be leaking. This should be done every few years. Most such leaks are silent.

Check your meter periodically.
If no water is running in the house, all dials on the meter should be stable. A movement in one of the dials may indicate a water leak, probably in a toilet. This could cost you dearly over time.

Stop valves:
These are the cutoff valves near each toilet and faucet. Familiarize yourself with their location, so that if a major problem develops you can turn the water off there instead of at the main to prevent serious water damage to your home.

Open and close all valves once a year:
This will ensure that they will work when you need them to. Otherwise they may seize up over time.

Water heaters:
Their life can be extended by periodically draining a gallon or two of water once or twice a year from the drain valve at the bottom of the heater. This will allow sediment to clear.

Be Prepared for Water Leaks too!

If you have a home you will eventually have to face some kind of water leak. It is just a fact of life. If you are prepared however you can greatly minimize the damage caused by one of these leaks. Read this article and get some tips to help you deal with the worst when it happens.

The first thing you need to know is where your homes water shutoffs are. Every one of your toilets should have a shutoff valve behind it. Know where this is and show everybody in the home how to use it. If you have an older home that does not have them, have a plumber install them. Also know where your homes main shutoff valve is outside of your home. Once again, show everybody in the family how to use it. Knowing how to shut off your homes water can help you stop the leak before hundreds of extra gallons have spilled.

The next tip I have is to make sure that your water heater and washing machine have pans under them. Drain pans will hold the water in case of an emergency. This is especially important if you have a water heater located near the middle of your home or in the attic. If you do not have one, call a plumber to install one for you.

The last tip is to do your preventative maintenance. Once a year drain your water heater to remove sediment (even if it is self cleaning). Also be sure to cover exterior faucets every time it freezes and insulate pipes on exterior walls. A little preventative maintenance goes a long way.

I hope this article has given you some useful information. For more tips call your local plumber or plumbing company.