When fixing up your house for holiday guests this season, keep an eye on your plumbing. Water is one of nature’s miracles—until it doesn’t come out of the showerhead when you want it to, or it starts raining inside your house. Leaks are a common real estate problem, but they can also be one of the costliest, requiring repairs that can amount to four figures. If you have a leak, here are some “dos” and “don’ts.”
Take A Picture Of The Leak For Insurance Purposes
Take the photo even if you’re a renter—your renter’s insurance or your landlord’s insurance might cover you. Put a copy of today’s newspaper in the photo to establish the date the picture was taken.
Call A Plumber And Walk Her Through The Problem Over The Phone
Describe what’s leaking, what kind of noise it’s making, and how much water is coming through. You can be charged double for quick-response calls, so you want to figure out if you can wait a day or two for a house call. Toilets are usually pretty easy to fix and don’t leak that much, while a busted radiator pipe can ruin a whole stretch of wood floor pretty quickly.
Exercise A Little Preventative Maintenance
If you own a house, getting your gutters cleaned in the spring and fall is pretty cheap, and it can save you thousands of dollars in roof damage.
Put A Video Of Your Leak On YouTube
Especially if you live in an apartment. One resident of a fancy Manhattan building—home to a lot of starlets and fashion types—did this, and now all the brokers know that building as “having a leak problem.”
Ignore A Leak To See If It Will “Go Away”
They rarely do, and if you’re a renter, not reporting a leak to your landlord probably puts you in violation of your lease.
Hire Just Anybody For Big Jobs
Handymen can clean gutters and do smaller plumbing jobs (fixing a leaky faucet is pretty easy) but you want a pro for the big stuff. Call a licensed plumber if you’re taking out an appliance such as a dishwasher or renovating a bathroom.
Tell us in the comments: Have you ever had a leak in your home? How did you approach getting it fixed?