The plumbing in your  home will likely consist of plastic or copper piping for the supply of potable water throughout the home and ABS plastic piping for the waste disposal. Other products are available but are less common.

A main water supply shut off has been provided to shut off the water supply to your home. This can be used in the event of an emergency and should be located upon occupancy for future reference. 

Additional shutoffs may also have been provided to the sink supply lines and toilets to allow for routine maintenance.

P-traps are present at the outflow of all waste piping. These traps are designed to provide a barrier of water, which prevents the entry of sewer gases into the home. Sinks or drains, which are used infrequently, may lose this water barrier due to evaporation. If sewer gases are detected, running water down the waste pipe will re-prime the trap and likely stop the odor.

Any waste materials, including grease, fat and petroleum products, should not be disposed of down the plumbing system. These materials will accumulate in the piping, especially in the P-traps, and can significantly reduce or block the flow of water through the waste system. These substances are also very detrimental to the municipal sewage treatment systems and private septic systems.


In most jurisdictions, there is a requirement for a perimeter drain tile system to be located below the level of the basement or crawlspace floor. This system is generally comprised of perforated pipes that are covered with gravel to allow water to seep into them. This drain tile carries the water away from the perimeter of the house to prevent it from accumulating against the foundation wall or footing. The drain tile then carries the water to a sump pit or catch basin embedded in the basement concrete floor.

The sump allows any sediment in the water to settle to the bottom of the sump. The clear water is then drained off by another pipe to the municipal storm sewer, ditch or a rock pit located in the yard. Access pipes or cleanouts are installed to allow the perimeter drain tile to be inspected and cleaned. The location of these cleanouts should be identified for future reference.

Sumps and catch basins should be cleaned every year, as a minimum, to remove any excessive sediment, leaves or other debris. Exterior stairwells are often equipped with a drain and sump at the bottom of the stairwell to prevent flooding of the basement. These drains must be kept clear of debris. Deep-rooted plants or trees should be avoided next to the foundation walls as deep roots can clog a drain tile system. Do not remove splash pads at downspout drains.


The surfaces of the plumbing fixtures are susceptible to damage from abrasive cleaners. Use of abrasive products and steel wool pads should be avoided, as these products will cause the finish of the fixture to become dull and porous. Refer to the manufacturer's recommended maintenance procedures for specific information relating to your products. Plumbing fixtures are intended for normal household use only. Caustic products should not be disposed of in the household fixtures.


The water temperature of the hot water tank can be adjusted on the thermostat located on the tank, which may require the use of a screwdriver. An average setting for the water temperature is 140􀀁F, which is hot enough for most uses including dishwashers, but will not cause scalding or burns. If hotter water is needed for a special purpose, the thermostat on the tank can be set to a higher temperature; however, the thermostat must be reset to a normal setting when finished. If the house is to remain unoccupied for a substantial period of time, the water temperature should be turned down or switched off at the tank or breaker panel. Some hot water tanks have a “vacation” setting on the thermostat for this purpose.

Hot water tanks are equipped with a pressure relief valve at the top of the tank. This is a safety feature that will open and relieve water pressure if the tank exceeds its rated working pressure. If water or water stains are evident at the discharge pipe leading from the relief valve, contact a plumber, as this is an indication that the normal operating pressure of the tank has been exceeded.

A typical hot water tank has a life expectancy of 5 to 10 years. Periodic draining of the tank will remove sediment from the base of the tank and prolong its life. The sediment has an insulating effect, especially with immersion type elements, which causes the heating elements to operate longer than necessary with a consequent increase in cost and energy consumption.

A typical hot water tank has a life expectancy of 5 to 10 years. Periodic draining of the tank will remove sediment from the base of the tank and prolong its life. The sediment has an insulating effect, especially with immersion type elements, which causes the heating elements to operate longer than necessary with a consequent increase in cost and energy consumption.

Attaching a garden hose to the outflow drain at the base of the tank and routing the hose to a nearby floor drain can drain the tank. Draining can only be accomplished by gravity feed; therefore, the outflow of the drain used must be lower than the base of the tank. Alternatively, the hose can be run outside as long as the outflow is lower than the tank.


Hose bibs (garden hose connections) often have a valve inside the house that can be shut off to allow the hose connection to be drained from the inside before winter to prevent freezing and possible bursting of the exterior section of the piping. These shut-off valves should be identified and shut-off in the winter months. Once the water supply has been shut off, the exterior valve should be opened to allow the exterior portion of the piping to drain. This process is reversed in the spring once the threat of freezing is gone.

Garden hoses should not be left connected to the hose bib during freezing weather as neither can drain. Ice forming in the hose due to undrained water can break the hose, or the hose bib and cause the supply pipe to freeze.


Toilets generally refill as follows: a flush causes water in the tank to rise, which in turn lifts a ball float to a preset water level. Once the ball float reaches this level, the water flow valve is shut off. If set too high, the water level will rise in the tank and run down the overflow pipe into the toilet bowl without shutting off the water. To rectify this, simply adjust the height of the ball float so that the water is shut off before it reaches the height of the overflow outlet. If water continuously runs into the toilet bowl from the tank, there may be a poor seal at the flapper valve at the base of the tank. This seal can be cleaned with a stiff brush or steel wool. A worn flapper valve requires a replacement.

Water dripping from the base of the toilet tank is likely due to condensation on the tank versus a leak of any connections. High interior humidity levels will result in condensation on the cold surface of the toilet tank as the tank is refilled with cold water.

Some toilets and some basins are made of glazed and kiln-fired vitreous china, while some basins and bathtubs are made of enameled steel. Both are very durable and attractive. To clean these fixtures, use mild powdered or liquid cleaners, but avoid abrasive cleansers or pads, as they will damage the finish.


Toilets are very susceptible to blockage. New toilet designs use very little water per flush. This results in a lower volume of water carrying away the waste. Repeated flushing may be required in some instances to remove solid waste. Dense tissue paper and some thick toilet papers are unsuitable for these toilets. Never dispose of hair, grease, lint, diapers, sanitary products, “Q-tips” or plastic in the toilet.

Should a drain become plugged, try removing the debris from the trap beneath the fixture. For toilets and drains a plunger can be used, then once partially cleared hot (not boiling) water may complete the job. A more severe blockage may require a plumber. As liquid drain cleaners are very corrosive they are not recommended.


Noisy or leaking faucets are frequently due to loose or damaged washers. Turning the fixture off with too much force can damage washers. Faucet handles should be turned no further than the point at which they stop the flow of water.

Either replacing the damaged washer or the faucet cartridge itself can generally easily repair faucets. Basic home repair books describe how to repair typical faucets; however, due to variations in the methods of manufacture, specific instructions may be required. Prior to beginning the repair, the water supply must be shut off at the shut off valves provided. If such valves are not present, the entire water supply system will need to be shut off at the main shut off valve. Contact a plumber if you are uncomfortable attempting this repair.

Green staining of fixtures is usually a water related issue due to the chemical compositions in the water, and is not a builder defect.


A shower curtain will prevent water from running onto the bathroom floor so must be used while the shower is in use. To prevent damage to the flooring or walls, any spills or puddles of water should be cleaned up immediately.

Caulking is used to seal seams and prevent water from entering behind the enclosure. If a separation occurs around your bathtub between the tub and the wall tiles or between the wall and the enclosure itself, it should be filled immediately with a tub sealer or caulking compound available at any home supply center. Leaving the gap unsealed may cause serious water damage to adjacent materials.

You should apply a clear liquid silicone sealer to the grout joints of tub or shower enclosures that are finished with ceramic tile every six months. This sealer is used to prevent the porous grout from allowing water to seep through to the substrate material behind the tile. Please note, this is a liquid product and should not be confused with silicon-based caulking. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application, but this sealing cannot be done until the grout has cured for approximately six to eight weeks after installation.

Some tub enclosures have specific cleaning requirements. Abrasive cleaners are not recommended and harsh chemical cleaners should be avoided entirely. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance. Also, you should never step into a bathtub with shoes on as trapped grit and dirt can damage the tub surface.


Many municipalities require a floor drain primer, which automatically provides water for the P-trap located below the floor surface. This P-trap is similar to those used under sinks and when full of water, it will form a seal against gases entering from the sewer system. As this water will evaporate with time, the seal must be maintained by pouring a liter of water down the drain every two to three months if an automatic primer is not present. The floor drain is normally located in front of the furnace.


All house sewer drains are protected by a mainline backwater valve that is located where the building drain enters your house. This valve protects the house from sewer back up coming from the street services. It does not protect from overland flooding.

Annual inspection is required to maintain proper operation of this valve. Access covers are provided in the concrete to clean and inspect valve. Visit for more information.


Radiant heating systems involve supplying heat directly to the floor or to panels in the walls or ceiling of a house. The systems depend largely on radiant heat transfer: the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via the radiation of heat, which is also called infrared radiation. Radiant heating is the effect you feel when you can feel the warmth of a hot stovetop element from across the room.

When radiant heating is located in the floor, it is often called radiant floor heating or simply floor heating. Despite the name, radiant floor heating systems also depend heavily on convection, the natural circulation of heat within a room, caused by heat rising from the floor.


Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water from a boiler (Or Hot Water Tank) through tubing laid in a pattern underneath the floor. In some systems, regulating the flow of hot water through each tubing loop controls the temperature in each room. This is done by a system of zoning valves or pumps and thermostats.

Tamas Panel Brochure: Tamas Manual

Thorough Inspection

The best way to maintain a radiant heating system is by giving it a thorough inspection which in turn should be done once in a year or even as infrequently as once in three years. A professional should be called in to do the inspection and a test to check pressure is also required in order to determine presence of any leaks.

The presence of leaks indicates that the system is no longer a closed one and this means that presence of oxygen in water will cause the pipes to corrode, which is a precursor to other and more serious problems.

As long as radiant floor heating systems are properly maintained, there is no reason why these systems will not last for many decades. The best part is that maintenance steps are very simple and as long as there is no messing around with the system, there is not going to be any need to affect any repairs. Proper maintenance will also ensure that the home remains warmer, which is highly desirable.

<--- Red dial controls water temperature

Main shut off -->

Kitchen Tap shut offs    ---^                    ---^

Fridge shutoff under kitchen sink ^

<--- Screw cap can be removed for servicing and cleaning

Valve Open

Hydronic Infloor heat lines --->

Main House water shut off is located within the first few feet of the main water line coming into the house. Main water line is normally located in the mechanical room close to the electrical panel coming up through the floor.

Valve is open when it is parallel to the pipe (picture on the left) and closed when it is perpendicular to the pipe (picture on the right)

Tamas heat exchanger panel --->

Valve Closed

<---Hydronic Infloor System Filler- Ensure Water is at Minimum Level 3 Mark,Max 5 

^ Hose bibb shut offs ^

<-- Toilet water supply shutoff





Box around the back water valve with cover to allow for access after concrete is poured

<--- Garden hose valve for draining hot water tank

Regular Maintenance Required By Home Owner