Sunday, December 26, 2010

Preserving Pipes

During the winter season our attention turns to family and friends instead of worrying about tedious home maintenance chores like plumbing—and for good reason! Now is an ideal time to relax and enjoy your home.

Nevertheless, homeowners and renters alike tend to take their pipes for granted. Being prepared for problems makes them more manageable if they should occur—so here are a few basic tips for dealing with a pipe leak.

Ahead of Time - Know where your main water shutoff is. You may not need to use it—if the leak coming from a faucet knob, for example, you can simply shut off the water at the sink. But when in doubt, go to the main valve.

Do It Yourself… Maybe - If you know what’s causing the problem and can tell the difference between a slip joint and a saddle valve, feel free to fix it yourself. However, many plumbers make a good living off fixing botched home repair jobs—so feel free to get it done right the first time.

When It’s Cold - If you ever encounter a frozen pipe, you can often thaw it with a hair dryer. If you’re going on vacation when there’s a cold snap in the forecast, you can help prevent frozen pipes by opening cabinet doors below your sink to let your home’s warm air circulate. You may also try turning the faucet on to a slow drip to keep the water moving and prevent freezing.

It’s smart to take care of plumbing repairs well in advance of putting your home on the market. Buyers can have more confidence in the value of a well-maintained home—and many signs are pointing to acceleration in the real estate market in 2011.