Imagine a day without electricity, and imagine the struggle to do simple things, such as cook, clean, or even storing perishable foods. Electricity is really the heart of a home and keeps the rest of the house running smoothly. Just like the heart in your body, we rely on it and the circuits and wires to carry electricity and keep everything functioning properly, says Lara Grundt of The Shock Doctors. Just like the heart, the home's electrical systems will need regular check-ups to ensure it is functioning safely and up to code. Your home's whole electrical system should be inspected annually, Lara says. If the electrical system isn't inspected annually, or ever, there's a higher risk of the system failing. At best, it will leave the house without power for an indeterminate amount of time. At worst, it can lead to devastating fires.
Of course, homes don't always operate on neat little schedules and there may be signs that the electrical system needs to be checked by a certified electrician before the annual check-up. Lara's warning signs are
A breaker or fuse repeatedly trips
Parts of your home are experiencing brown outs or intermittent brightening and dimming of the lighting
Your electrical panel is making a buzzing sound and is warm to the touch or smells like burned plastic (this is an emergency; call an electrician ASAP)
Someone gets a shock off an appliance, switch, or receptacle
Power is interrupted to a circuit (multiple receptacles/switches)
Power is interrupted to a single receptacle (kitchen, workshop, pumps)
A switch does not appear to control any electrical device, or controls a device improperly
A home is at a greater risk for an electrical problem if it is older. The older your home, the higher the probability that wiring has been added after it was originally wired, explains Lara, Many times, these wiring additions have not been done safely or professionally. It becomes even more important to watch out for warning signs and have the home inspected annually. Electricity is just too important for modern society to ignore the system's general health and well-being.
Now for an often under-appreciated part of modern society, plumbing. Imagine how life would be without plumbing. Without going into specifics, let's just say it would smell bad. Luckily, plumbing does exist and there's a lot a homeowner can do to make sure their plumbing system is happy! We recommend regular drain cleaning/snaking of your drains to ensure no build-up of materials which causes blockage, says Gold Medal Plumbing and Drain. Blockages are very common and can be caused by a lot of different things. The most common issue we find is having blocked drains, Gold Medal Plumbing and Drain says. This is caused by... roots in drains, collapsed pipes, blocked toilets due to using wipes and paper towels, or kitchen drains being blocked because of grease.
Some of those issues are harder to control such as the collapsed pipes, but others are easy to avoid by keeping the happiness of the home and plumbing system in mind! For example, never throw anything in the toilet that isn't toilet paper. Even the flush-able baby wipes aren't great for the plumbing. Toilet paper has been made to work in harmony with the septic system, while paper towels and the like are made to be sturdier when wet and thrown in the trash. A common thing people do which harms their plumbing system is flushing too much grease down the kitchen drains, Gold Medal Plumbing and Drain adds. Grease can easily coat the pipes, cause debris to stick to it, and thicken. This will eventually lead to blockages.
If a homeowner finds they deep-fry a lot of food, they should buy a jar and some cheese cloth. When the oil cools, they can use the cheese cloth to easily strain the oil into the jar to save for another day. When the oil starts to smell and becomes dark, it is easy for them to pour the jar into the trash. If a homeowner cooks a lot of fats, such as red meat, they can let the fat sit in the pan until it solidifies and hardens, then simply scrap it into the trash. Alternatively, they can also pour it into a jar and scrap it into the trash at a later time.
If the sink does end up getting clogged, don't panic. Identify the cause of the clog. Using a soft utensil like a spoon or rubber straw, gently probe the clog, says Vesna Kolakovic of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga, ON. If an oily residue is left on your tools, it's likely you are dealing with a fat-based clog. If the clog feels solid, you probably have a piece of food waste or another small object blocking your drain. If it's a solid object, a wire hanger should do the trick. If there's any difficulty removing the clog, it's best to call the plumber. If it's a fat-based clog, hot water will do the trick. Begin by boiling a large pot of water on the stove. Turn off the heat and let it cool for about two or three minutes, Vesna says. Carefully pour the entire pot down the sink drain. The process can be repeated a number of times. However, if the clog does not go away, it's time to call the plumber.
For both the electrical system and the plumbing, always proceed with caution. Always remember that these systems are sensitive and can easily hurt someone if mismanaged. It's always a good idea to call the professionals before attempting a DIY project or if there are any questions.