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How to avoid another plumbing catastrophy

Posted 02-25-2009 at 02:30 PM by faucetman886

In my previous missive of yesterday, “what is that smell?” I mentioned that the main problem emanated from buying a rural vacation home that was apparently constructed under the most lack of stringent plumbing codes and the apparently no inspection other than the possibility that a local real estate agent passed through and said “it looks great to me, finish up I’ve a sucker on the hook coming to see it this afternoon”. When reading through my daily collection of DIY forums I find a general attitude of complaining about those very points. Why do I have to have a licensed plumber? What is the need for codes and inspections? Why can’t I just short cut this job…I know what I’m doing!!! Well as much as I love to save money and have been known to do some simple things myself I have also learned along the way that there are certain things, especially in plumbing that you must have. One of course as mentioned yesterday is “p”traps, another is drain lines that slope in the proper direction (that’s toward the septic system for those of you in doubt), another whole different story for another day….remind me to tell you about the potato peelings down the garbage disposal on Christmas morning and last but far from least the necessity of shut off valves or stop cock valves in EVERY faucet, toilet, shower, ice maker etc connection in the house. How did I come to this wise conclusion? I found not a single shut off valve on anything in my newly acquired vacation home. “And how did I make this discovery?” you ask. Simple, the ice maker line broke on the back of the refrigerator (directly piped into the main water line under the sink) and while I looked for the main shutoff for the water system, something else the plumber saved money on, we proceeded to flood the entire kitchen, dining room(newly laid pine floors), living room and of course the basement ceiling. The only saving grace was the final thought that because our water source was a well, if we flipped the breaker on the electric pump eventually the water would stop, a thought that did not come quickly by the way.
While we mopped up the mess, ever experienced the urgent need to go to the bathroom when there isn’t one? We sought out a local plumber, WITH A LICENSE. To come and install shut off valves on everything in the house. A time consuming and need I say an expensive proposition on a weekend in a resort community.
The moral or message is…if you haven’t looked under your sinks, behind your toilets, checked to see if you have easy access to the wall behind your shower (other than a fire axe), checked your ice maker etc. Then look and find the main water shut off valve to your house, especially if you live in an area that gets cold enough for pipes to freeze during the winter. Then there is no time like the present to call your local plumber or get your copy of “Plumbing for Dummies” and start installing shut off valves.
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