Published: November 26, 2014

    Plumbing Checklist

    plumbingThat Leaky Plumbing is More Than a Nuisance – Uncovering Hidden Wastes and Costs

    The bathroom faucet has been dripping for years – you intend to fix it, but there is always some excuse. This is just one of many problems that can cost homeowners more money than they realize over a period of time. The average family of four uses 400 gallons of water a day, with 25 percent from flushing the toilet, 17 percent from showering, and nearly 14 percent from leaks. Water usage and waste is not limited to inside the house. The EPA says that of the estimated 29 billion gallons of water used daily by households in the U.S., nearly 7 billion gallons, or 30 percent, is used outdoors.

    Water covers about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, but less than 1 percent of that is available for human use. Nearly every region of the country has experienced water shortages in the last few years, and experts predict that at the current rate of consumption, many water sources will be depleted. Whether you are considering buying a home or already own one, there are easy steps you can take to not only save money, but help preserve our nation’s water supplies.

    Homeowner Tips for Being Water Smart

    • Fix leaks as soon as possible; even small household leaks can add up to gallons of water lost every day.
    • Turn off the water while shaving or brushing teeth.
    • Keep a pitcher of filtered drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
    • Use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine when not washing full loads.
    • Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than using water hoses to clean them.
    • Wash cars with water from a bucket, or use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
    • Consider purchasing water-efficient products for use inside and outside the home.

    Tips for Prospective Homebuyers

    Do-it-Yourself Checklist

    • Check the water pressure and plumbing by flushing the toilets in every bathroom.
    • Test the water pressure in all the showers and faucets by turning them on.
    • Look for discoloration and/or warping around the base of the toilet, or tiles that feel soft or move under your weight – these signs can indicate a leak at the base of the toilet. The toilet bowl should not move; if it does, that indicates a bad seal or an insecure connection between the toilet and flange.
    • Look for signs of corrosion on the hot water heater and ask about its age. Most water heaters need to be replaced about every 10 years.
    • Inspect the crawl space or basement for signs of flooding or leaks – whether caused by heavy rain, sewer backup, or leaky pipes.

    Hire a Professional Plumber to Do the Following

    • Perform a simple camera inspection to make you aware of a hidden, potentially costly main sewer problem prior to purchase.
    • Inquire about the pipes – if lead pipes are discovered, they pose a danger, especially to children, and should be replaced. Make sure to ask for a quote to replace lead and inferior pipes.
    • Knowing the material and condition of the pipes can be negotiating points when buying a house.