5 signs indicating your plumbing is about to go bust[Dagmar Gilden | 04.02]
New insurance statistics show that Estonians take too long to react to plumbing problems. “There are usually signs of plumbing and pipeline-related accidents waiting to happen way before any accidents actually occur,” writes Dagmar Gilden, Asset Insurance Specialist at Seesam. “People just don’t always know how to recognise the signs.
Fresh statistics compiled by Seesam indicate that nearly 80% of the calls to Seesam’s Home Assistance are related to some kind of plumbing issue – blockages, leaks from the neighbouring apartment, broken taps or crumbling pipes. The Home Assistance line receives calls from worried homeowners even after 10 o’clock at night and on weekends. “Based on the statistics we know today, we can say that nine times out of ten the water system is to blame when people who turn to us during weekends. They are doing the right thing by contacting us a soon as possible – swift reaction is critical in order to mitigate excessive losses in the case of water damage,” Gilden says.
The largest home losses indemnified by Seesam due to a broken water filter and tap amounted to 30,000 euros. If such accidents occur at night or at a time when people are not home, the damage may be huge and restoration will prove costly. According to Gilden, knowing how to spot the early signs of such hazards and consulting with Home Assistance specialists help prevent such situations.
The Asset Specialist introduces five common signs which should be addressed and indicate early on that an accident is waiting to happen.
“Innocent” drizzle or dribble
If water is dripping from your tap, there is no reason to wait for it to become a full water stream before attending to the issue. This usually means that the tap is past its prime and should be fixed. Note that dripping is not only annoying but could also cost you a lot. A dripping tap or a running toilet will end up wasting a lot of water as you will learn from your next months’ utility invoice.
Poor heating system
When the temperatures drop, Seesam receives a number of calls regarding various freezing incidents. To protect yourself from iced pipes, make sure the appropriate temperature in the technical room is maintained using a reliable thermostat or anti-freeze solution for pipes and that pipes have sufficient thermal insulation. If you are expecting a cold front moving in, then one option is to leave the tap open enough to ensure dripping – it takes longer for moving water to freeze inside pipes. To stop cold air circulation, close all of the doors, air intake vents and foundation vents. Do not try to melt frozen pipes on your own – turn to a specialist.
Any strange creaks or popping sounds when you open the tap are definitely a warning. And if your drainage is bubbling up, the problem is already here and it is time to react before you risk flooding your home.
Strange odour or colour
Quite simply – if the water you use to drink and clean things looks dirty and smells, it is a major sign that your pipes are outdated. Altered olfactory or colour properties are not likely to miraculously disappear, and you may be looking at extensive water damage in the not-so-distant future. Adopt a proactive attitude to prevent further escalation.
If the building you live in is 30+ years old and has never seen proper piping maintenance, your pipes will have accumulated limestone, rust and other waste, all of which contribute to blockages. Slow drainage is not just an insignificant inconvenience. To prevent blockages, it is important to keep in mind that drains are designed for household wastewater only, not for disposing of oil and fat from the frying pan or garbage. You should also never, under any circumstances, flush solvents or paint residues. Even if such substances do not clog the pipes, they may disrupt the work of sewage plants.