Tri-Cities Property Management
Plumbing Best Practices
In today’s article, we will talk about plumbing and share some plumbing best practices with you. There are plenty of things you can do to avoid making plumbing repair calls in the first place. Hopefully, these tips will help you save some time and money.
Drains and Toilets
It’s a good idea to routinely check your drains and pipes to make sure there isn’t anything creating a clog. For example, many bathroom sinks frequently get clogged with hair. When we send a plumber out to a property and the plumber reports back to us that the problem is tenant-caused, such as hair in the drain, the bill will go back to the tenant. Make sure you check for things that are minor and obvious. It will save you time and a lot of plumbing costs.
Clogs can also be frequently caused by pouring substances down the drain that shouldn’t be, such as grease and oil. I can speak from personal experience, it’s very tempting to want to scrape that bacon grease or used cooking oil down the sink drain… but remember, oil and water don’t mix. By pouring grease and oils down your drain, it will eventually cause a main-line clog and could cause all the drains in the home back up. A main-line clog almost always has to be cleared by a professional plumber and isn’t cheap. Nobody wants that.
Avoid flushing items that will get stuck and cause other things to clog your system. A great example is the Q-tip. A Q-tip can easily get lodged deep inside in a drainage pipe; and while the Q-tip itself won’t clog a drain, it can be an obstacle that other things get stuck on creating a bigger and avoidable clog. Under no circumstances should you flush baby-wipes, diapers, or feminine hygiene products down toilets. While it may seem like a quick way to get rid of an undesirable item, it can also be a quick way to clog your drain. So throw those things in the trash – don’t flush them. Other things to avoid flushing include paper towels, clothing items, and even toys. Recently, we had a young boy flush his sister’s Barbie doll head down the toilet. Not only didn’t Barbie appreciate having her head spend the night down the drain of their rental home, in addition to the inconvenience to household, it also created an unexpected bill for the renter. So, understandably that tenant wasn’t happy. Please keep in mind, in a rental property, tenants are often responsible for damages they cause themselves. The landlord has to keep everything in working order, but is usually exempt from paying from any tenant caused damages, including plumbing repairs.
Another simple plumbing fix is often your garbage disposal. It is not uncommon for a garbage disposal to get jammed, and you can usually find a very simple fix that does not require a plumber right away. Try going to the very bottom of the unit and pushing the reset button. If that does not work, you will generally have a small wrench that comes with the disposal. This can often be found under the counter, near the disposal. Use the wrench to crank and unplug the disposal. If you still have trouble getting rid of the problem, use an old trick of using a broomstick. Take the rounded wooden end of the broomstick and insert in down into the disposal from the top, and at an angle, rotate the broomstick in a circle fashion. This is usually my go-to quick-fix for freeing up a stuck disposal. If all else fails and you exhaust these options, go ahead and call a professional plumber for help.
Leaks can be a big problem and you will often find them in a centralized location. You can probably take care of that area without shutting water off to the entire property. It’s good to know where the shut off valves are for each area. Generally, there is a shutoff valve in close proximity to each faucet or water outlet. In some homes, they have a main “manifold” system in the garage, where all water plumbing comes together inside one panel, similar to your electrical junction box. If you have a modern manifold shutoff system, you can isolate each water line, shutting it off without effecting any of the other water lines in the home. In one way or another, you can usually shut off just about any water leak individually without having to shut off water to the entire house. .
In an emergency, if you don’t know where each specific valve is, it helps to know where to find the main water line shutoff valve. In many homes, it’ll be in a little box in the ground in the front yard. If water starts pouring from the ceiling, it’s probably a good idea to close the main shutoff valve until you can isolate the specific source of the leak, turn it off, and restore water to the rest of the house until a repair can be made.
Please note that in any event of a water leak, mold is a big concern. Any time you have a leak, it is important not only to turn off the source of the leak, but also to dry the area well. You also need good ventilation so mold does not have an opportunity to grow in the time it takes to get a professional out to do repairs.
If you have any questions about plumbing or how to handle plumbing issues in your rental property, please contact us at Management 1 Tri-Cities Realty & Property Management. As an experienced property manager in Tri-Cities WA, we can help make your landlord or tenant/renter experience a better one. We look forward to working with you.