The number of Americans living in multi-generational households continues to rise -- rising to nearly 20 percent of the population and doubling over the last 30 years. While these arrangements can provide a number of benefits to all members of the household, from free or low-cost babysitting for working parents to avoiding the cost of assisted living for the elder family members, increasing the number of people living in your household can put a strain on your plumbing and septic or sewer system. What can you do to protect your plumbing and avoid costly repairs while your household is in transition? Read on to learn more about seamlessly integrating your family members into your home.
What should you do to protect your plumbing and septic system when adding people to your household?
Adding household members can increase water consumption and septic output significantly -- from increasing the number of loads run through your washer, dryer, and dishwasher to adding extra baths, showers, and toilet flushes. Higher usage also increases wear and tear on plumbing, raising the number of times you need to fish out hair clogs from the shower drain or sink or have your septic tank emptied. Fortunately, by putting a few protective measures in place before your relatives move in, you'll be able to minimize the extra wear and tear on your plumbing and perhaps even keep your water and sewer usage at the same level.
Your first step should be to install hair catching devices in each of the tub, shower, and sink drains in your home. These devices hook onto the back of the drain and extend into the pipe, catching long hairs and debris that can accumulate in the corners of your pipes and cause clogs or leakage. You'l need only to periodically remove these catchers and throw away any attached debris, then replace them in the pipe.
You may also want to install more water-efficient showerheads, faucets, and toilets to decrease the amount of water consumed by your household. Efficient showerheads and faucets have special nozzles to distribute water over a wider surface area, allowing you to get clean just as quickly while using less total water. Efficient toilets operate by increasing the pressure with each flush and decreasing the water needed to flush solids. By making these small changes, you'll minimize the amount of water flowing through your pipes and into your septic tank or sewer.
What extra repairs or maintenance can you expect when adding people to your household?
If your home has a septic tank, you'll want to carefully monitor its usage and stick to a regular cleaning schedule. Fortunately, for most septic tank owners, it's fairly easy to figure out exactly how often your tank needs to be cleaned based on its size and the number of people using it. For example, if you have a 1000 gallon septic tank and 6 people in your household, you'll need to have your tank pumped about every 18 months. Those with a 2000 gallon septic tank and the same number of people using it will only need to have the tank pumped every 4 years or so. Although the process of having your septic tank pumped of solids is fairly inexpensive and hassle-free, if you're planning to keep the same number of people in your household for the next decade or longer, you may want to invest in a larger septic tank that requires more infrequent maintenance.
For those with cooks in the household, you may also need to have your sink pipes professionally cleaned every few years. Professional drain cleaning can remove greasy solids from the diameter of these drainage pipes, eliminating the chance of clogs that could harm your plumbing. Alternatively, you'll want to ensure you carefully strain out any oil into a separate container after cooking and rinse pipes with extra-hot water whenever grease is going down the drain to fully flush this fatty fluid.
During the summer months, I enjoy taking care of my outdoor plants and flowers. Because I live in the southern United States, my vegetation needs water almost daily. Thankfully, I have a convenient outdoor faucet connected to my home. However, I recently endured some problems with this source of water. When I turned on the faucet, I was greeted with a forceful spray of water going in all directions. Before I could gather my senses and turn the water off, I resembled my dog after she jumps into a pool of water. To avoid the wet dog look in the future, I plan to hire a professional plumber to take care of my faulty faucet. On this blog, you will learn about the benefits of securing a reputable plumber to repair your problematic faucets.