Top 5 Culprits of Home Flooding

Home flooding sucks. There’s just no two ways about it. You may lose your home or valuable possessions, certain types of water damage may not be covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the costs for cleanup are often exorbitant and if the damage was due to a burst pipe or faulty appliance you are also liable for the water bill, and it can take months to
restore the damaged parts of your home and you may not even be able to remain in your home during cleanup or restoration if mold or other health concerns are a factor.

Before you fall into the depths of despair, though, there is good news – many of the top five causes of home flooding or home water damage are preventable! Let’s explore the main
culprits behind home floods and what you can do to help prevent or mitigate them.

1. Natural flooding

One of the most common and easily recognizable causes of home flooding is nature. Heavy rains can cause rivers to overflow, wastewater systems to become overwhelmed, and urbanized areas to fill up with water very quickly. Tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other weather phenomenon are often accompanied by heavy rains or can cause substantial damage to dams, levees, or municipal plumbing systems and wreak havoc on an entire city or region. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do to prevent water damage to your home from these causes aside from making sure your home has been built above the base flood elevation with a good foundation, ensuring you have a working pump, and taking emergency measures in the event of a storm.

2. Drainage problems

toilet-backup

Drainage problems can be related to storms or other weather phenomenon – for example, overwhelmed
municipal water lines backing up into your home – but are more often related to poorly maintained drains in and around the home. If your main line has a clog, wastewater can back up and flood the house through toilets, sinks,
showers, and floor drains. Typically, these are smaller floods affecting only one area of the home like the bathroom or basement, but if left unchecked for a long period of time there can be substantial damage.

However, you can take steps to help prevent drainage problems in your home by making sure to keep sink, toilet, shower, gutters and other drains clear of common clog-causing substances or debris, installing backwater valves, and having your home’s drainage system regularly
inspected every few years by a licensed plumber to ensure there are no problems.

Learn more about how to prevent clogged drains

3. Appliances

waterheater-flood

Faulty appliances or their connections to your plumbing
system are notorious for causing home floods. Some basic appliances use large volumes of water and if a supply line bursts or the shut-off mechanism fails, all that water has nowhere to go but onto your floors and through your home. The most common culprits for appliance-related water damage are washing machines, water heaters, dishwashers, and refrigerators.

Fortunately, appliance-related water damage is fairly easy to prevent with modern devices like FloodStops and WaterWatchers that will monitor your appliances for leaks and turn off the
water supply or device before too much damage is caused.

Learn more about choosing flood prevention devices for your home

4. Broken pipes

pipe-spraying

Depending on the size of the pipe and the size of the leak, a broken pipe has the potential to fill your home with water in minutes. As with almost everything, there are many reasons a pipe could break – frozen pipes burst, fittings spring a leak, the pipe gets damaged by homeowner activities, poor water quality wears down the material, and the list goes on.

Making sure you properly maintain your plumbing is the very best way to prevent water
damage from faulty pipes. Know where pipes are in your walls when decorating or remodeling, take care when digging in the yard, address problems with your water quality, and have your plumbing regularly inspected by a licensed plumber to make sure there are no problems.

You may still eventually have a problem, though, and it is good to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut off valve is located and how to turn it off, and keep a few temporary repair items handy in case your plumber can’t get there immediately.

Learn more about temporary emergency pipe repair

5. Poor foundation

A poor foundation will definitely cause problems during a natural flood, but it can also cause flooding problems in areas that don’t have many natural floods. The foundation of your home is a concrete (ergo non-permeable) slab resting comfortably in the ground when the soil is fairly dry. When the ground becomes over-saturated during a big storm or the spring snow melt (even if the water doesn’t rise above ground), your foundation is essentially floating on top of all that groundwater. Water doesn’t compress – it will find its way through any nook or cranny it can – and if you have cracks or other flaws in your foundation, that water will end up in your foundation and possibly in the basement or ground floor of your home.

While it can be upsetting and scary just to think about your home flooding, it is often worse if it
actually happens. We encourage you to educate yourself on natural flood risks in your area and do what you can to protect your home and valuable possessions from water damage caused by
appliances and your home’s plumbing and drainage systems.

Have you experienced a flood in your home before?
Share your story in the comments below!

Advertisements

Make Saving Water Part of Your Back-To-School Routine

backtoschoolkids2

Any parent knows “back-to-school” is one of the most chaotic times of the whole year. You’re trying to establish new bedtime routines so everyone is up and ready on time in the mornings, battling the fall clothing migration as you store summer items and retrieve fall items only to realize that none of the school clothes your children could wear in May will fit them now, and getting everything relating to backpack organization, school lunches, and art supplies ready (which theoretically is supposed to make your life easier…hahahahaha…) – so we understand that water conservation really kind of takes a back burner during all of this. However, it really doesn’t have to, and since we strongly believe in teaching children good water-saving habits, we’ve compiled this list of five simple ways you can work water conservation into your new school year routine. Wanna know the best part? Many of these tips will also save you some money!

clock

1. Use a timer for showers. Not only will this help save water by limiting everyone to 10 minutes or less in the shower, it can also help you keep everyone focused and on time in the mornings. If you shower in the evening, having a timer can also help speed things along at bedtime. Replace your existing shower head with a water-saving shower head for more water savings.

2. Reuse your towels. When you get out of the shower, you’re clean right? Instead of tossing towels into the hamper after each use, hang them up to dry and use them again tomorrow. Buy robe hooks or re-purpose an old coat rack to hang in the bathroom and designate a hook for everyone. Even most younger children can hang a towel on a hook much more easily than trying to fold and hang over a traditional bar, and it keeps the bathroom more organized and looking nicer than having a bunch of skewed, bunched up towels half hanging off the towel bars.

3. Be mindful of your other laundry. Some days you have to try on everything in your closet before you figure out what you really want to wear…or that you and your tween daughter both agree is appropriate for school…But are all those clothes dirty? Of course not! What about those jeans you wore yesterday? They could probably be worn again before needing to be washed. When undressing, evaluate what is actually dirty and what could be worn again before being washed, and you could save not only tons of water but lots of time and energy by doing less laundry. And who doesn’t want to do LESS laundry??? When you actually do laundry, also remember to set the appropriate load size and try to use cold water or try line drying to save more energy and water.

4. Encourage healthy eating and drinking water. We’re sure you do this for your kids already, but did you know that by eating fresh foods and drinking water you’re actually helping to save water and energy? glassofwater Generally, it takes a lot more water to produce processed foods than it does to actually grow fresh foods. Additionally, purchasing locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, cheese, etc. cuts back on the amount of water needed to transport foods. We understand that not all towns or cities have a local farmers’ market and that sometimes this can be cost prohibitive, but it’s a choice worth considering and with careful planning and budgeting can be a positive, healthy change for your family. Another quick healthy tip that can potentially save you hundreds of gallons of water per year is to put a pitcher of water in the fridge for drinking instead of waiting for the tap to run cool. With this method, you can also add fresh fruits like strawberries, limes, or pineapple to infuse flavor in the water to help encourage kids to reach for a glass of water instead of sugary juices or sodas.

5. Consider the water footprint of products you use every day and try to make some changes. It’s a complex system, but water and energy are very closely tied together and it is sometimes difficult to understand how much water is really used to make the things we use all the time. Wherever you can, find ways to reuse or recycle things, or to create your own reusable items. Cloth shopping bags, reusable lunch baggies or containers, and reusable water bottles can replace their single-use alternatives to help save water. Now, we hear you saying – but doesn’t it take water to create and wash those too? Yes, it does, but the water consumed in creating and washing these reusable items is significantly less than what is wasted to create new single-use items. It’s estimated that it takes about 24 gallons of water to make one pound of plastic. Even if you buy a plastic reusable water bottle, you’re still helping to save water since that 24 gallons only has to be expended once instead of every single time you need water on the go.

If we focus only on one thing – packing lunches for school – think of all the ways you can save water…

savewaterschoollunch2

By making simple changes in our daily routines and making a concentrated effort to really think about how we use water, we can all start saving this most precious of resources. And although it might seem difficult at times, remember that every drop counts! Your small changes DO make a BIG difference!

Want to learn more about saving water around the house and find water-saving innovations to help you out? Check out our Guide to Water-Saving Plumbing Products.

Which Drain Cleaner Should I Use?

When most people experience a clogged drain, they automatically reach for one of two things – the phone so they can call a plumber or a chemical drain cleaner. If this is their first time dealing with a clog, many people want a recommendation for which chemical drain cleaner is best and what is the best way to use it. While we always advocate calling a plumber for any plumbing issue you don’t feel you can handle yourself (and some that you think you can handle and shouldn’t), we NEVER recommend using any kind of chemical drain cleaner for a number of reasons.

1. They are harmful to your and your family’s health. If some of the drain cleaner were to splash on your skin or in your eyes, or if you inhaled too much of it, you could potentially experience serious injury – not to mention the potential for young children or pets to accidentally imbibe them with fatal consequences.

draincleaner

2. Everything you put down the drain eventually ends up in our environment somehow, whether that be in our groundwater, oceans and rivers, atmosphere or soil. Chemical drain cleaners aren’t any safer for our
environment than they are for our bodies.

3. Chemical drain cleaners work by eating away at
whatever is causing the clog. It just makes sense that anything that caustic is also eating away at your plumbing system. While certain pipe materials like PVC or galvanized steel might hold up a little longer than copper, all pipes exposed to caustic chemicals will eventually start to wear down and you’ll experience leaks from holes in your pipes that could require extensive, costly repairs or a complete re-plumbing of your home.

So what are the alternatives? Well, before you decide to call a plumber, we recommend grabbing a good sturdy plunger or a drain snake and trying to remove the clog yourself. If neither of those methods work, try a half and half mixture of baking soda and vinegar and let it sit overnight. If that STILL doesn’t work, we suggest calling a plumber. They are experienced in removing all kinds of clogs – and have the expertise and equipment to do it without damaging your fixtures or pipes.

Once your drain is clear (or before you get a clog!), there are several things you can do to help prevent future clogs. Regular drain cleaning should become part of your home maintenance routine, and the best part is that it’s easy and inexpensive. For a brief tutorial on how you can clean your drains and tips for preventing clogs, check out our Guide to Easy Drain Maintenance and do your part to protect your plumbing system, your family’s health, and the environment!

Read more:
How to Unclog Your Toilet
Public Service Announcement: Save Our Sewers!
10 Tips for Preventing Toilet Troubles

The Power of the (Outdoor) Shower

outdoorshower

Imagine yourself standing in a cool rainfall of water with the stress of the day releasing itself from your tired muscles. Now add the feeling of sunshine on your face and the smell of freshly cut grass or a verdant, thriving landscape tickling your nose.

You’ve just experienced the power of an outdoor shower.

There’s nothing like the bold, invigorating, and dare we say tiniest bit naughty feeling you get from showering outside. Whether you live in the warm, tropical Southeast, the arid Southwest, or the chilly climes of the Northern states, an outdoor shower can offer you a way to reconnect with nature right in your own backyard. Now here comes the big but – BUT as with any plumbing project, there are certain things you need to consider before you purchase or install an outdoor shower.

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, your friends at PlumbingSupply.com® have you covered with a useful Outdoor Shower Buying Guide that will walk you through the process of choosing your location and your shower, as well as provide design suggestions and ideas.

The Pros and Cons of Outdoor Misting Systems

This article can now be found at thePlumber.com