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Inside the walls of any house is a complicated network of plumbing, wires, ducts and beams that keeps everything up and running how it should. If you ever plan a renovation or need repairs down the track, you’ll need to know where the pipes are located before taking a swing with the sledgehammer. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing serious damage and costing yourself far more time and money than necessary.
The solution? Any time the inside of your walls are visible—whether it be during construction, renovation or repairs—whip out your smartphone or digital camera and snap a photo of the exposed plumbing. Forget your artistic inclinations and don’t even think about choosing an Instagram filter: as long as you take clear photos of the piping system, you’ll be thanking yourself down the track no matter how insignificant it means now.
Your home’s plumbing is fairly rigid, and is not as easy to adjust as something like your network cables. While you can always have a new plumbing system installed if necessary, it pays to avoid any alterations where possible by working around the existing layout. With the photos you took of your plumbing weeks, months or even years ago, you can see exactly where the pipes are located and where it is safe to access; this makes it much easier to connect additional pipes to the existing system or undergo any other project without compromising the plumbing.
While you can use blueprints to see the skeleton of your house, there are several flaws with relying on them for accurate information. Blueprints are drawn up prior to the build, and minor details are sometimes altered or improvised upon during the construction phase to account for last minute changes and other unforeseen circumstances. On top of that, they can be difficult to understand without professional knowledge and may impede a project that you plan to tackle on your own.
The blueprints of your home are certainly useful, but there’s no harm done by backing it up with some photos and giving yourself a clear visual indication of what lies behind the plaster. Poorly installed plumbing and burst pipes are a homeowner’s nightmare, so a little more preparation and attention to detail goes a long way to giving you peace of mind.