Let’s face it—plumbing issues can be daunting. And what’s worse than a mess? A wet mess! Here we’ve covered some basic DIY plumbing repair to help prevent common causes of flooding in your home or office. First Things First: Locate Your Main Water Valve If you learn nothing else from this post, find the location of your main water valve, and learn how to shut it off in the event of an emergency. Most plumbing systems have a primary valve and individual shutoffs, allowing you to cut off the water flow at the source, before a small problem turns into a big problem. The main valve will likely be on the ground floor on an outside wall. To avoid a flooding disaster, it’s essential to communicate the location of this valve, and proper shutoff instructions, to all household members. Leaky Pipe Repair Though it may start as a small drip, even the smallest leak can lead to major problems in your facility. And don’t think for a second that you have to stop everything and call a plumber at the first sign of moisture. With a few tools in your arsenal, you may be able to stop those puddles from becoming ponds! Duct Tape. The simplest way to fix a small leak is to wrap it with duct tape: wrap tape diagonally around a leaky pipe, about 3 inches on either side of the leak. Since this is such a simple fix, you’ll want to keep an eye on that freshly taped pipe to ensure the duct tape is doing its job. If your leak is at a pipe joint, use epoxy to secure the fitting. When using epoxy, you’ll need to open the pipe, drain out the water, and dry your pipes. This is a great time to remove any built-up particles, grease, or hair that may be causing a slow drain or clog – Steel Wool is ideal for this task! If the tape or epoxy isn’t doing the trick, several clamps may be employed to secure the moisture. Ask the sales clerk at your local home improvement store whether a pipe, hose, tin can clamp, or C-clamp and block system is best for your particular situation. With the proper tools, and just a little know-how, you’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars in frustrating plumber bills, while becoming plumbing savvy in the process. Frequently Flush Your Drains Clogged drains in kitchens and bathrooms are another culprit for messy floods, as well as water and mold damage. Regular maintenance is essential to keep those pipes clear. For the kitchen drain, boil a pot of water and pour it down your sink about once a month; you may add vinegar to this solution as well if you wish. Boiling water flushes out greasy deposits that may be sticking to the inside of your pipes, and as you can imagine, if grease is sticking to your pipes, everything else going will too. In the bathroom, your best method of clog prevention is to pay close attention to what you’re putting down the toilet. One example is the cleaning or sanitary wipes that claim they’re flushable…however, these wipes really don’t break down. They can cling to the sides of your pipes and cause sewage backups—into your bathtub (sorry, had to break it to you) or onto the floor. There are some excellent commercial toilet drain cleaners on the market, just be sure to follow the directions closely to prevent pipe corrosion. Also, it may seem like a no-brainer, but keeping your toilet clean, and the lid shut when not in use, makes a big difference! Other Sewage Backups There are certain homes and businesses that are unfortunately prone to flooding for lots of reasons—sewer backups are just one potential problem. After so much rain, the water simply doesn’t have anywhere to go, and travels down your sewer line, causing nasty (and expensive) basement flooding. If your building is prone to backups, contact your Sewer department to set up a routine maintenance schedule. Sump Pump Problems Don’t be shy: get to know your sump pump and how it works! These systems can be key for alerting you to moisture issues, but can fail for several reasons, including frozen lines and clogged drains. Our post on sump pump maintenance may be of service to you. While many newer sump pumps utilize advanced technology that warns against water or system malfunctions, it’s important to do your homework on proper sump pump maintenance. Last Stop: The Laundry Room Floods from washing machines happen are much more common than you may have thought. There are a few DIY techniques that help to prevent the possibility of flood. Washing machine hoses can wear over time, becoming unable to withstand water pressure. Old hoses need to be replaced before they burst, but how do you know when it’s time to replace? Firstly, check for signs of blistering or cracking in your hoses. If those signs are present, it’s time to replace. Switch to a braided hose or no-burst hose for the most durability. Consider installing an automatic washing machine shutoff valve, especially if your machine is located in a finished basement, on an upper floor or in a multi-unit complex. The shutoff valve will prevent flooding caused by machine malfunctions, broken hoses, or leaky valves. Detailed installation instructions can be found on the Family Handyman Website. Knowledge Is Power You’re wise to do your research on DIY plumbing repair and solutions before getting started. If you’ve made it to the end of this blog, you’re in good shape already! There are so many helpful troubleshooting resources online, but if you do find yourself in need of a licensed plumber and don’t know who to trust, the Woodard team can point you in the right direction. With more than 70 years of experience, we are proud to serve St. Louis and the surrounding areas as a preferred provider of water, fire, and smoke restoration services for residential, commercial, and institutional facilities. Call us at 314-266-0373.