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The fact of the matter is, it’s hard to know about all the things you need to know about when it comes to owning a New Orleans, LA, home. You need to know the basics of home maintenance, including understanding when it’s time to call a professional and get help and what you can do to prevent problems. If you want to take better care of your home’s plumbing without having to spend a fortune hiring plumbers, here’s what you need to know as a homeowner.
Shutting Off Water
Perhaps the most important thing for any homeowner to know is how to shut the water off in case something goes wrong. Every home is equipped with valves that allow you to do this, it’s just a matter of knowing where these valves are so you can turn your water off while you wait for a plumber to arrive at your home.
The most important thing is probably knowing where your main water shutoff valve is. This is the valve that shuts off water to your entire home, which means it’s the only one that’s going to help you if you have a burst pipe or some other leak that isn’t fixture-related. If you’re not sure where your main shutoff valve is, you should have a plumber show you the next time you schedule an appointment.
You can also shut the water off to individual fixtures and appliances using the shutoff valves on the water supply lines they’re connected to. For example, your toilet has a shutoff right behind it. While these shutoff valves allow you to cut water to a single fixture and not the others, they won’t do you any good if you have a slab leak.
Hot Water Basics
Hot water is one of the most important things to have in your New Orleans, LA, home, so it’s a good idea to have some understanding of how you get hot water in your home. In order for you to take warm showers and wash clothes and dishes, a water heater has to heat water up before it’s delivered to your home.
Generally, a plumber will install a 50-gallon water heater in residential homes. While this is enough for most homeowners, you might be running low on water if you have a large family or use a lot of hot water. Keep in mind that you can always upgrade to a tankless water heater or a larger tank-style model for more hot water.
It’s also important to know that your water heater isn’t made to last very long. Water heaters only last about 8 to 12 years on average, which means they need to be replaced fairly often. If you’ve been living in your home for several years and haven’t replaced the water heater yet, now may be a good time to do that.
What’s Hard Water?
Another term you might run into when you’re reading about plumbing is “hard water.” Hard water is a term used to describe water with a high mineral content, which is something that varies from city to city. The high mineral content in hard water changes the way it tastes, as well as several other properties of water.
If you have particularly hard water, you might need to call a plumber more often than you should. That’s because the mineral buildup from hard water can cause problems with fixtures and appliances, leaving a scaly buildup that damages them. Hard water can also make it difficult to wash your hands or get all the soap off of your dishes, which can be a big problem.
The good news is, a plumber can help you deal with your hard water problem. Hard water can be fixed with a water softener, which is a device that’s designed to reduce the mineral content in water to make it “softer.” You can either install a water softener for a single appliance or fixture, or for your entire home. If you have hard water in your home, hiring a professional to install a water softener is always a smart investment.
Although it’s always smart to know how long things are supposed to last, knowing the lifespan of pipe materials is particularly important if you own an older home. As pipes get older, they become more susceptible to corrosion and leaking, which can be a major problem if those leaks end up damaging parts of your home.
Ask a plumber to take a look at the pipes in your home. Once you know what kind of pipes you’ve got, you can look up how often they need to be replaced. If you’re well past the expected replacement date for pipes, you’re probably due for an upgrade.
Understanding when you’re dealing with a plumbing emergency is important. You don’t want to wait around all day for a plumber to arrive when you have a burst pipe or some other plumbing emergency that’s time-sensitive. If you have a major problem that could put you at risk or cause damage to your home, it’s always a smart idea to call an emergency plumbing service. In the meantime, make sure you shut off water to your home to minimize the damage.
Happy to Help
Owning a home is a lot of work, especially if you want to learn more about your plumbing system and how you can take care of it. The good news is, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of New Orleans is committed to helping you take better care of your plumbing system. From maintenance and repairs to installation and upgrades, our plumbers do it all. If you have a plumbing question or problem you need help with, call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain at (504) 229-4848.