3 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her House

3 Things Every Woman Needs To Know About Her HouseIn my time working at -and later managing- my father’s company, I learned a few things about plumbing.  I still hold a Plumbing Contractor’s License which is really the only credential I can flash at you…. and about the only thing you’d ever WANT to see me flash, but I digress.

I worked in the field as well as the office and did everything from answering phones to bookkeeping to bidding, to being the head boiler technician (we were a small family business and we all wore many hats).   One thing that never ceased to amaze me was that a customer who calls a plumbing company and hears a woman’s voice on the other end will always assume the woman knows nothing about plumbing.  The other thing that always amazed me was how many MEN had no clue how to operate their own homes.   I titled this piece to women, but only because that is my target audience.  I assure you, innate mechanical knowledge is NOT attached to the Y chromosome.

For years I’ve wanted to put together a very basic, plumbing 101 emergency list of things people should know (mainly because I got tired of walking people through it on the phone).  For you ladies who have run your houses solo for years, you got this stuff. Most Oilfield Wives are well-versed in homeowner handyman-ship.  This is more geared to the newlywed gal who didn’t grow up in the country (or did, but never worked on her plumbing). I would highly recommend taking a video of someone who knows these things showing you how to do them on your house.  It would be worth the time and money to find a trusted plumber and have them show you these things, if only to have a relationship with the plumbing company in case you need them someday. So without further babbling, here are the top 3 things I think everyone needs to know about their house:

  1. Know where your main water shutoff valve is and how to turn it off.  There are two primary types of valves (and several different looking valves) and they can be located in several different places.  Some are easily accessible, some are not, and many main shutoff valve locations make no freaking sense whatsoever.  But if you have a big leak, the amount of time it takes to figure this out or wait for help to arrive can result in costly wall repairs or mold remediation.  Some houses are lucky enough to have a shutoff for the main water and a second shutoff to isolate the hot water.  This is a great thing because if your water heater springs a leak, you can still flush your toilets.

  2. Know how to light a pilot.  As our gas appliances get more efficient, standing pilots are becoming a thing of the past.  But there’s still enough out there that it’s worth knowing.  Water heaters, furnaces and wall heaters are your main players here.   I always felt bad charging people a service call for something that I needed no tools -save a match- to fix.

  3. Backup heat.  And speaking of heaters, having some method of backup heat is crucial.  One year, we actually had a regional natural gas shortage for days and there was nothing any of us plumbers could do to remedy that situation.  A lot of pipes froze.  It was a good year to be a plumber, but for everyone else, it was horrible because the local stores ran out of electric heaters!  I recommend having a few oil-filled electric radiators.  They look like radiators on little wheels and they are fantastic because they don’t carry the traditional danger of electric heaters because they can’t catch things on fire on contact.   My #1 favorite go-to emergency backup is a wood stove, because they can usually prevent the whole house from freezing and you can also heat water on them.

About rheanna

Rheanna is a stay-at-home mom to two children. She is a lifetime resident of New Mexico and her Oilfield Man works on the North Slope of Alaska, averaging 4 weeks on and 2 off. In her previous life she was a bookkeeper and boiler technician for her father’s plumbing company. She enjoys hiking, horseback riding, motorsports and pretending not to kill her garden. Cooking is a favorite past time, but unfortunately a lifelong allergy to crafting supplies and a debilitating ineptitude with a glue gun prevent her from spending too much time on Pinterest.

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