Plumbing mishaps that cause water damage are all too common. However, you can protect against these catastrophes by using common sense, regular professional maintenance, and protective systems and components to keep your plumbing from malfunctioning.
Here are some plumbing components that can help to protect your house against water damage.
Backflow Prevention Devices
Backflow prevention devices can become very useful when you have a sewer line clog. These devices are designed to keep the sewage from backing up into your home. You've probably heard stories of this type of wastewater backup, which can cause costly damage. The price of installing a prevention valve may be much less than the cost of cleanup.
Talk to your plumber about whether a check valve, sewer gate valve, or some other type of backflow preventer may be right for your home and plumbing system.
Overflows in Sinks and Tubs
Overflow drains, which are commonly found in bathroom sinks in the US, are designed to provide relief if the sink starts to overfill. The overflow diverts water back down to the drain, so it won't overflow and cause water damage in your home.
Bathtubs also typically have these drains (sometimes hidden inside or behind other fittings) to avoid bathtub overflow. Since these overflow holes come along with the plumbing fixture, you typically won't have to ask your plumber to install one for you; however, you may need your plumber to clean one out from time to time.
Since these overflow drains are an important water damage avoidance component, you should take the time to check them for clogs and other issues regularly. If the overflow is clogged, call your plumber to unclog it.
Plumbing vents are air vents that extend from drains such as your sink drains and toilet to the outside of your house. These vent pipes discharge sewer gases to the outdoors and allow air in to equalize pressure while draining, which helps water flow smoothly through your drains.
If one of your plumbing vent pipes suffers from a blockage (such as from a bird nesting in the vent opening where it exits your house), you may have problems. For instance, your toilet could overflow if the toilet's vent is clogged enough, which could cause water damage in your home. That's why having well-designed, unclogged plumbing vents is so important.
Heat tapes are thin, electrically heated cables that your plumber can install along plumbing pipes to keep the water inside from freezing. Most of your indoor plumbing won't need these heat tapes, but they can be a crucial way to avoid a burst pipe (and the resulting water damage) in an unheated indoor area such as a basement.
Pipes in attics, crawl spaces, and other unheated areas may also benefit from heat tapes. Be sure to hire an experienced plumber to avoid any electrical hazards from incorrect installation techniques or materials.
If you have a typical water heater with a tank, you may have noticed that the tank is made out of metal. You may not have realized, though, that it's made of steel, a very rust-prone metal. Water that's in contact with an easily corrodible metal can cause a tank to rust through quite rapidly, spilling many gallons of water over your floor when you're least expecting it.
If the tank doesn't rust through, this is typically thanks to the tank's lining and a component called a sacrificial anode or anode rod. The rod is specially made of an even more corrodible metal than the water heater tank is, meaning that the water's corrosive action will affect the rod first. A worn-out anode is a common reason why neglected water heater tanks rust through.
These are some of the plumbing components that can help you keep your home safe from water damage. For more information about installing, maintaining, or repairing these types of plumbing components, contact your local plumber today.
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