Working as a landlord isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. Most people think being a landlord is easy; sit back and collect your tenants’ checks. Anyone who has worked as a landlord, though, knows better. Renting out properties and living spaces can be a stressful, time-consuming job. Sure, technology has made things easier; a simple rental application that used to take hours or even days just a decade ago can now be completed online in half the time or less.
Of course, at the end of the day, any good landlord knows that he or she can’t depend entirely on technology. The most important aspect of a landlord’s job is responsibility. Landlords are responsible for their property’s safety, maintenance, appearance, and pretty much everything else.
One of the responsibilities that never fails to give most landlords a headache is plumbing. Leaky pipes, clogged drains, and other plumbing problems are common issues that every landlord should expect to encounter. After all, you’re not really a landlord until you’ve been woken up at 3 AM by an angry tenant calling about a burst pipe or overflowing toilet.
It is in every landlord’s best interest to learn the basics of plumbing. If you can recognize and fix minor plumbing issues yourself, you’ll put your clients at ease and save money. So, the next time you’re about to search Google for ‘Bakersfield plumbing’ or ‘Los Angeles plumber’, remember these easy plumbing fixes every landlord should know.
Shutting off the water
The first step to almost any plumbing repair or job is to turn off the flow of water at your property, so, you’re going to have to locate the main water shut off valve for your property. Most water valves can be found beside your property’s water meter. Water meters are typically located outside, either by the street or on the side of your property. Once you’ve located the water meter and shut off valve, you should be able to use a key or wrench to turn the valve and shut off the water.
If the problem you are looking to fix is associated with a specific fixture, such as a toilet or sink, be sure to check around and behind the fixture for a unique shut off valve for just that fixture. This will stop the flow of water to just that area, allowing your tenants to still use water in other areas of your property.
Fixing a leaky pipe
Leaky pipes are one of the most common plumbing problems that landlords face regularly. Most leaks can be fixed much easier than expected by using either a clamp or an epoxy putty. First, turn off all water flowing through that fixture. Then, be sure to dry the pipe in question with a towel thoroughly.
If you are using a type of putty, simply apply the putty around the pipe and give it ample time to adhere itself. After you’re confident the putty is in place, turn the water back on and inspect the pipe for leaks. If you are using a pipe repair clamp, loosen the clamp’s screws using a screwdriver, carefully place the clamp around the leaking pipe so that its rubber gasket is directly against the leak, and then tighten the clamp’s screws so it stays in place. Once this is done, turn on the water and inspect the pipe for leaks.
Fixing a clogged toilet
While you may think that your tenants should be able to deal with any toilet clogs themselves, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes clogs take some real effort to fix, and many tenants will end up getting frustrated with the situation and calling their landlord for help or advice. If you receive a call like this from one of your tenants, be sure to advise them to allow the toilet’s water levels to lower before trying to plunge it. Remind your tenant that the plunger should be able to cover the toilet’s hole completely with its suction cup.
If these tips don’t help, a drain snake may be needed. All you’ll have to do is place the drain snake down the toilet until you feel the blockage causing the clog. From here, turn the tool until it hooks the clogging object, allowing you to pull out the problem and fix the clog.