Bed and Breakfast Essentials: Plumbing

“The anxiety creating tendency to focus on something causing us distress, instead of thinking of solutions or getting over it, called rumination, lessens during vacations, and stays low even two weeks after vacation,” Psych Central writes.

The facts are in: vacations reduce anxiety and depression, boost creativity, and ultimately help you be even more productive when you return to the office. Plus, a staggering 96% of workers say that vacation time means a great deal to them.

As someone running a bed and breakfast business, you know they are among the best accommodations for vacation and travel. Bed and breakfasts are more personal, less crowded, more secure, and often owned by locals who know the best places to go to eat. Plus, unlike a growing number of overpriced hotels, breakfast is always included!

When you run a bed and breakfast, your customers are relying on you to live up to these expectations and provide a pleasant and stress-free experience. Ensure that you do by paying close attention to one of the most critical parts of your bed and breakfast: its plumbing.

Carefully maintain your plumbing. Follow these guidelines to keep pipes, drains, and other plumbing fixtures at your bed and breakfast in tip-top shape!

What Are The Most Common Plumbing Problems?

When running a bed and breakfast business, it is important to be able to identify common plumbing problems. For especially common and particularly small problems, it doesn’t hurt to know a thing or two about fixing them, either.

Plumbers reveal that the most common plumbing troubles include:

  • Leaky pipes and faucets. While many homeowners and even business owners tend to view leaks as an inconvenience rather than a pressing issue, the numbers do not support that point of view. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “The average household’s leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.” The average homeowner can save up to 10% on their water bills every month by repairing leaks. Bed and breakfast owners, whose plumbing gets considerably more use, may see even greater savings. Now that you know the facts, how exactly do you identify leaking plumbing fixtures and repair them? The EPA recommends taking a close look at pipe fittings and faucet gaskets, the fittings securing the end of sink faucets. If you can see water on the outside of pipes or faucets drip even after securely turning the sink off, you probably have a leak on your hands. To check if toilets are leaking, lift up the tank cover on the back of the toilet and add a drop of food coloring. Wait 10 minutes without flushing the toilet. If there is noticeable food coloring in the tank when the time is up, your toilet is probably leaking. To fix most leaky toilets, purchase and install a new toilet flapper in the tank. Leaky faucets usually need a thorough cleaning, descaling, and/or replacement parts.
  • Clogged toilets. Use your discretion on this one. While many clogged toilets can be repaired with relatively easy fixes, part of running a bed and breakfast business is knowing when to call local plumbing services. Badly clogged toilets may require a plumber to come by to snake them. For less severe issues, you can attempt to remedy them on your own. (Side note: Know how to turn off the water before you begin!) Test whether the toilet is able to drain at all by manually lifting the flapper in the toilet tank. If toilets drain somewhat, you can probably use a plunger to get the water and contents of the toilet to drain the rest of the way.
  • Clogged drains. Clogged drains may just need a little TLC. Sometimes, it is entirely possible and reasonable to unclog drains using a drain cleaning product or by making one of your own. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of white vinegar. This will create a fizzy chemical reaction, one that will often clear the drain for you. The same thing can work with boiling water. Remove any standing water from the sink and pour a pot or two of boiling water directly into the drain.
  • A broken water heater. Water heater issues are among the most common plumbing issues. Unfortunately, many of these problems are not particularly simple to fix. Of course, telltale signs that water heater repair may be in order are persistently cold water temperatures, discolored water, and noises coming from the water heater. If you notice any of these telltale signs, check the temperature. There is a slight chance it may have been turned down by mistake. If that’s the case, simply turn it up again. Check to see if the pilot light is on. If it isn’t, you need to relight the pilot light to get hot water. For pooling water and other major problems, it is best to contact certified plumbing professionals.
  • Conspicuously low water pressure. This problem is easy to identify. The water in showers or faucets will come out painstakingly slowly, instead of in a powerful stream. Those running a bed and breakfast business can troubleshoot low water pressure issues. Start by cleaning sink traps or aerators where sediment and minerals may buildup over time. Remove showerheads and soak them in vinegar overnight to remove mineral buildup. If problems persist, you may have a leak or serious corrosion or buildup in your pipes.
  • A constantly running toilet. A constantly running toilet is sure to disturb your guests. Stop wasting water and finally put an end to that noise by checking running toilets for common problems. Make sure internal tank tubes and fittings are still securely attached. Make sure the flapper chain is not tangled or disconnected.

If there is no readily apparent cause for a running toilet, a plumbing company can help you identify the source of the problem and fix it.

What Constitutes A Plumbing Emergency?

While keeping water bills reasonably affordable and plumbing working efficiently is an important part of running a bed and breakfast business, it is even more critical to prevent plumbing emergencies before they happen.

What is a plumbing emergency?

  • You’re dealing with frozen or burst pipes. You know it’s time to seek emergency plumbing repairs when you have burst or frozen pipes. Burst pipes will continue spouting water all over the room until you shut the main water valve off. Of course, this is only a temporary solution. The pipe needs to be fixed to continue using your plumbing as usual. Similarly, a frozen pipe is a burst pipe waiting to happen. When pipes freeze over, they contract. Unfreezing them causing them to expand again. These sudden shifts in temperature can result in cracks, fissures, and burst pipes no matter what you do. Once again, it is important to turn off the main water valve. You can take baby steps to begin unfreezing pipes, like covering the very end of pipes near faucets or fixtures with hot water bottles. You still need to contact an emergency plumbing company. The situation at hand is delicate and needs to be treated with care.
  • Gas leaks. It should go without saying: gas leaks are unacceptable when running a bed and breakfast business. Be sure to contact emergency plumbing services right away! Of course, not all gas leaks are easily preventable. Just make sure to take the necessary steps in the event of an emergency. Evacuate the building and immediately contact 24 hour emergency plumbing services, no matter what time of day it is. Gas leaks can cause poisoning, injury, persistent health problems, and, in extreme cases, death. If you smell a rotten egg smell, turn off the gas valve and get out. Call emergency services after evacuating your bed and breakfast.
  • Structural damage. Undetected leaks can lead to pooling water and ultimately water damage. Excessive moisture and/or pooling water can cause structures to weaken and cave in. If parts of the ceiling give way, it is safe to say you have a plumbing emergency on your hands. Structural damages can result from small, undetected leaks that worsen over time or result from sudden, undetected leaks with more and more water accumulating before you have the chance to detect it. Sleep problems are very heavy and difficult problem. No one can help. One of the options to take sleeping pills. For example, the remedy Ambien which I found at . And now the most important action. All remedies work individually for everyone. Ambien acts on me. I fall asleep from it, and in the morning I do not feel heaviness, a decrease in attention. I wake up rested. I do not advise Ambien as a sedative or for the prevention.
  • A broken sump pump. Finally, a broken or malfunctioning sump pump can easily spell trouble. A sump pump prevents basement flooding. Generally speaking, homeowners — or bed and breakfast owners — purchase sump pumps for homes that are particularly prone to flooding, like extremely rainy areas or for homes with basements under the water table. A broken sump pump constitutes an emergency because failing sump pumps do not do what they should. In other words, homeowners and/or those running a bed and breakfast business are most likely to realize there is a problem when significant flooding makes it evident.

Common Mistakes That Harm Plumbing

Ideally, the best course of action is to prevent common and emergency plumbing problems altogether. That is not always possible. Some bumps along the road are inevitable when running a bed and breakfast business. There are several things you can avoid to keep your plumbing in top working condition and stave off the plumber for a bit longer, though. Here are just a few:

  • Pouring grease down the drain. Grease hardens over time. What’s more, calcium deposits and other minerals commonly found in drains and plumbing react with the fats in grease and make it even more likely to bulk up into a thick, fatty, almost soap-like texture. Grease and grease that reacts with mineral deposits stick around and blocks plumbing, often well below the drain.
  • Overusing drain cleaner. Harsh drain cleaners can do more harm than good if you use them too liberally. Try to prevent clogs in the first place and use harsh abrasive chemicals only if it is absolutely necessary. Drano and similar products actually have the potential to damage your pipes.
  • Flushing anything but toilet paper down the toilet. Plumbers routinely snake plumbing lines and remove paper towels, baby wipes, makeup remover pads, and kitty litter — even ones that purport to be “flushable.”
  • Using air freshener tablets in the toilet. Running a bed and breakfast business is a timely endeavor. It may be tempting to cut corners by throwing air freshener tablets into toilet tanks and deeming them “clean.” Unfortunately, these tablets also tend to cause issues. Once again, they’re compromised of caustic materials that can wear away the inner components of your toilet tank over time. Plus, they can disintegrate too slowly or incompletely, causing sediment buildup. Sediment buildup results in slow flushing toilets or toilets that won’t flush at all.
  • Abusing the garbage disposal. A garbage disposal is a nice feature to have. That does not make it infallible. You can still clog your sink with a garbage disposal and do significant damage to the disposal and your plumbing in the process. To keep your garbage disposal working as it should toss fibrous foods like celery and corn husks into the trash can. Run water before and after using the garbage disposal, and avoid jamming the garbage disposal with too much food or waste at once.

Running a bed and breakfast business takes a lot of hard work. Make your bed and breakfast a go-to vacation destination by starting with the basics. Keep your plumbing running as smoothly and efficiently as possible, and know when it is best to call a plumber.

Once you have that down, you can start adding the extras that make bed and breakfasts so attractive to their guests. Bed and breakfasts can offer rooms as unique as the travel destination. They can add a personal touch and attention when guests need it. (How often have you put in a request with the front desk of a busy hotel to receive no answer or an answer hours later?)

If your bed and breakfast has a unique history or is located in an area with a rich history, make sure to play it up and advertise that on your website and promotional materials. Add a final touch of homeyness by putting out fresh, warm cookies once per day or hosting a free hors d’oeuvres and wine hour.

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