Being a landlord means being able to quickly and safely address renters’ problems before they become catastrophes. Sometimes that means calling in a professional, but there are some problems that you can handle yourself a lot faster. There are also a lot of situations that can be prevented with a little added knowledge. Here are three handy plumbing tips to help keep your properties in good working condition.
Give your renters the facts
The best cure for plumbing problems is prevention. If you can educate your renters on some basic habits, you might be able to avoid serious issues. You can do this by creating a printout to give them as they move in or when they fill out a simple rental application. You can also simply inform them verbally when they sign the lease. Either way, it’s a good idea to run down the basics. You never know how much they know about caring for their plumbing.
The first thing you’ll want to tell them is to let you know immediately if they notice plumbing problems. This can include leaky pipes, clogged drains, or running toilets. Sometimes a small leak can turn into a huge disaster if it’s not dealt with in a timely manner.
If your area is prone to freezing temperatures, you’ll want to advise your tenants about what to do to prevent frozen pipes. This includes keeping garage and cabinet doors closed and letting faucets drip. It’s also helpful to keep the thermostat at at least 55 degrees fahrenheit.
Maintain a good relationship with a local plumber
Sure, there are some things you can do yourself, but there are others that are simply too big to tackle on your own. In these instances, you’ll need to have access to a good plumber close to where your property is. For example, if you live in Charlotte, but your property is in Gastonia, you need a plumber in Gastonia NC that’s always available to call.
To establish a good rapport, you should use the same plumber any time you can. You should also ask him to do your initial inspections and hire him to fix some of the common issues in the beginning.
Learn some basic repairs
If you’re an on-site landlord, you should be able to fix many of the basic repairs that come up on a normal basis. In order to do this, you can start by keeping some simple tools on hand. These might include plumbing tape, plungers, an adjustable wrench, pliers, drain snakes, and caulk.
A very common plumbing problem you might have to fix often is a clogged drain. These can usually be fixed with the right kind of plunger. A cup plunger is usually good for sink clogs, but for toilets, you might either need a flange or accordion plunger. If this doesn’t work, you might need a drain snake to remove the clog.
Leaky faucets are another common plumbing problem that can be fairly easy to fix. If it is dripping slowly, the washers might need to be tightened or replaced. But big leaks may require a whole new faucet. Either way, you can usually make these repairs on your own with the right tools.
Running toilets can also cause problems. And a lot of times, the issue is due to a faulty stop valve or float cup. Sometimes, it is because the chain has simply become disconnected from the floater. To check this, just take the lid off the back of the toilet and assess the situation. If the chain is not connected, simply reach in and hook it back on. But if it appears that the floater is the problem, replace it with a new unit from the hardware store. The tank water is clean, so don’t be afraid to get in there and get things done.