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Home Owner Plumbing Tips

1. Know where your main water shut off is located, keep it accessible. Close and open it a couple of times each year to keep it working (be sure to open a faucet and have it running as you open and close the valve).

2. Listen to your water heater. When a gas water heater begins to pop and crackle as the burner is running, this is a sign of scale build up. This will reduce the amount of hot water and decrease the efficiency of the water heater.

3. Look under your sinks. Check for signs of small leaks. Early detection may save you from experiencing a big one.

4. Watch for "ripples in the water". If you see water running down the sides of your toilet bowl, or consistent ripples in the water in the bowl, you are losing water (and money) down the drain.

5. A small drip from any faucet can usually be fixed easily and inexpensively. But if you let it go, the cost of repair (or replacement) could increase significantly as the water running through the leaking washer wears through more than just the washer.

6. Buy a shop (wet dry) vacuum. This is one of the most useful tools you can own. Great for water cleanup, minor drain cleaning sink traps, tub drains, floor drains and of course garage and car cleaning.

7. The words "universal fit" on most products means it will work poorly in most applications.

8. If you are going to hire a plumber to install a fixture, check with him to see what he would charge for the same fixture, or at least ask for his recommendations. If you have already made your purchase, don't ask him his opinion unless you REALLY want to know.

9. If you own a "great old house" that has old fixtures that you really love, preventive maintenance is especially important. Drips and leaks caught early will protect finishes and prevent further damage to rare and, possibly very expensive, vintage parts.

10. At the end of October, remove all hoses connected to your outside faucets. You can always reconnect them if you need one of them for whatever reason.

11. If you have a bathroom you rarely use, go in once a month or so, flush the toilet, and run some water through the faucets. Lack of use is much harder on plumbing than constant use.

12. If you are leaving your house for an extended period of time (a month or more), turn your main water valve off, and open one faucet long enough to let the water pressure drain down and then close it. If you have a water softener, bypass it. Call your "Plumber Friend" for any specific questions you may have.