How To Fix a Burst Pipe

When you have a pipe burst in your home, either because the weather turned cold or there was a failure in the craftsmanship of the pipe itself or its joints, then here’s some good news: you don’t need some serious plumbing skills to fix the problem.

You’ll just need a few tools, some solder that is lead free, and some replacement pipe and fittings.

The first step is to make sure that you’ve turned off your water supply.

Look for the main valve for your water in a heated area of your home.

Many times the water shut-off is located near the water heater, furnace, or primary electrical box.

Open up the lowest fixture you have to make sure your plumbing system completely drains.

 

1. Allow your pipes to thaw out.

If you have frozen pipes that have caused the burst, then you’ll need to make sure they’re completely thawed out before you begin the repair.

Wrap the pipe with insulation if necessary to make sure the ice begins to melt.

2. Cut out the damaged section of pipe.

When you’ve located where the pipe has burst, you’ll need to cut out that damaged section.

The easiest way is to use a pipe cutter.

Rotate the the cutter around the pipe and keep tightening it a little bit with every rotation until it cuts all the way through it.

You’ll likely have burrs on the cut.

You can clean these up with some steel wool.

Avoid using the kitchen steel wool pads, however, because the detergents can make the job more difficult.

3. Cut a new section of pipe to install.

You’ll need new pipe to replace the burst pipe.

Cut the new pipe to the appropriate size.

Because you’ll be connecting the new pipe to the undamaged plumbing, you’ll need to cut it a little shorter to accommodate the fittings that you’ll need for a water-tight seal.

Make sure you’ve got the same diameter of plumbing pipe as well.

Most homes have ½ inch pipes, but this isn’t always the case.

4. Clean the ends of the pipe.

You’ll need to take that steel wool and make sure all of your pipe and fittings are cleaned up on the edges so that they’ll be able to form an adequate seal.

Take your time during this part because clean fittings and pipe ends are essential for a good connection.

5. Begin the soldering process.

You’ll need to spread some soldering flux on the outside of the pipe end where you’ll be connecting it to your existing plumbing.

Then slide the valve fitting onto the end of the pipe and heat the valve fitting where it connects.

You can hold the flame right up to the pipe, but make sure you’re wearing safety glasses.

As the connection heats up, you’ll want to push some solder into the joint where the valve connects.

The solder melts from the heat and will seep into the connection, sealing it off.

6. Continue until repaired, then turn on the water to check for leaks.

Make sure that the solder has cooled and sealed every joint that needs to be repaired and then turn your water back on to check for leaks.

If you have leaks, you will need to start over from the beginning.

It takes some practice to get soldering down, so take a few minutes to practice your technique before attempting the repair.

In doing so, you’ll be able to solve your own plumbing problems and know how to fix a burst pipe.

3 Ways to Cut Down on Time Spend Collecting Rent

You have solid tenants in your properties and you enjoy being a landlord. Although you had success filling up your properties, you don’t want to rest on your laurels. By seeking new ways to enhance your property management skills, you can help to set yourself up for further success and simultaneously improve your work-life balance that may have been neglected. No one wants to spend hours of their day traveling to their many properties in order to collect rent in person. With the modern family’s busy schedule, coordinating in-person payment times is a difficult prospect. Worst case scenario, you chase around payments and deal with more frustration than you need to. These three rent payment collection methods will save you great time and energy, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of your property management business.

 

1. Electronic payment

One of the easiest methods for collecting rent payments is accepting electronic payments. Most people these days don’t deal with checks on a regular basis, so keeping a checkbook around solely for rent is an inconvenience. Electronic payment systems cut down on problems such as checks getting lost in the mail and dealing with checks filled out incorrectly. With some electronic payment systems, tenants can use debit cards and credit cards to make their rent payments at their convenience. You pay a fee for the service, but you also save time not having to deposit checks. Some electronic payment services also allow your tenants to send electronic checks instead of physical checks.

 

2. Billpay

If you don’t want to utilize an electronic payment system, talk to your tenants about setting up bill pay through their banks. Many banks utilize a bill pay system that transfers money from the tenant’s account to your account. If you share a bank with the tenant, the bank may deposit it directly into your account. Otherwise, the bank cuts a check so you don’t have to worry about insufficient funds. Banks with reputable online banking features make it easy for tenants to set up bill payments. If you want to make it easier, talk to the bank to get yourself set up in their system as a payable company.

 

3. Recurring payment

Electronic payments and bill pay both feature the option to set up recurring payments. There are plenty of benefits that come from setting up recurring options. The major benefit is making sure that your tenant never misses a rental payment. Automatic recurring payments take the money directly out of the account without any outside intervention. If an automatic payment doesn’t process correctly, you know it within a few days of the automatic payment date, instead of wondering if the tenant forgot to send the rent payment.

 

Accepting rental payments is an integral part of being a landlord. When you increase the efficiency of your rental collection methods, you set up a foundation to also increase the quality of your business operations. When you have efficient processes, you decrease the amount of time you spend collecting rent, which allows you to have more of your time to enjoy for yourself. You’ll also be able to spend more time bettering your business and rental properties, which could boost your income higher than ever before.

 

Good Landlording: Addressing Prospective Tenants

With many potential tenants falsifying application forms, landlords need to get creative when screening tenants.

Ideally, an effective screening process can detect bad tenants before they sign the rental contract.

This guide helps landlords navigate all the necessary screening considerations and shows how to create lie-proof application forms and run background checks.

1. Be Proactive About Prescreening

At any given time, there could be hundreds, if not thousands of people looking for a new apartment or single-family home.

This constantly changing group consists of good and bad tenants alike. Fortunately, landlords can weed out most of the bad applicants before they even glance at a rental application, saving a great deal of time and money.

The first step in weeding through potential applicants is establishing standards and rules on the property advertisement.

At a basic level, these standards should include a minimum income requirement, pet policies, statements regarding previous evictions and criminal records, and any other policies the property managers may have.

By clearly stating these baselines, a majority of the bad applicants will look elsewhere.

When reaching out to potential applicants, landlords can easily gauge their character over the phone or in person.

Landlords should be sure to ask the right questions and always make property rules and standards clear whenever possible.

An ideal tenant should be financially secure, have a clean background, keep a tidy living space and have no eviction record.

These qualities, or a lack thereof, will make themselves apparent in the application process.

2. Create a Legally Airtight Tenant Application

The best tenant applications provide an accurate look into an applicant’s life and personality, asking all the right questions and avoiding the wrong ones.

At an absolute minimum, application forms should include the follow questions:

  • Basic information (name, date of birth, Social Security number, phone number, address)
  • Employment information and contacts (current and past employers, monthly salary)
  • Previous and current rental information and contacts
  • Eviction records (ask how many, not just if they’ve had an eviction)
  • Release of information signature

Asking the applicants other questions, such as how many people intend on living at the property or if they have any pets, can help develop a  better understanding of their situation and avoid future complications.

Some questions, however, are not allowed. According to Federal Fair Housing laws, these include any questions relating to race, sex, national origin, color, religion, familial status, and handicaps.

It is illegal to discriminate against any of these qualities and doing so can result in a hefty lawsuit.

Individual states may also have variants and extensions of these characteristics, such as age or sexual orientation.

3. Run Background and Credit Checks

Background and credit checks are among the most accurate ways to gauge the reliability and character of a potential applicant.

Thanks to a number of tools and services, running both checks is usually an easy and inexpensive process.

Background checks include information such as the applicant’s criminal record and eviction history.

Checking these figures not only helps landlords assess whether an applicant will avoid criminal activity and be a good tenant, but doing so is also a good way to check the applicant’s honesty.

If the information on a criminal record and an application form don’t match up, it should serve as a massive red flag.

Credit checks help assess whether the applicant can pay consistently and responsibly.

A credit report usually includes information such as the applicant’s credit score and public financial records.

4. Get Creative With Screening Methods

While application forms and background checks usually provide most of the necessary information, it doesn’t hurt to go a little further.

This may include calling previous and current landlords and employers, as well as taking a look at social media accounts to gauge personality.

5. Know How to Deal with Approvals and Rejections

Approving an applicant is relatively straightforward.

A landlord contacts the new tenant with a message of congratulations and a list of next steps.

Rejecting an applicant, however, isn’t always as easy as saying “no.”

Landlords should document the reasons for the rejection and make these clear in a dismissal letter, which helps avoid any potential legal trouble down the road.