When it comes to systems in your home like the plumbing, you might not take great care of it simply because you can’t see all of it. Such unintentional negligence can lead to problems later on down the road, making it all the more vital that you know how to take care of your pipes, fixtures and the like on your own. In addition to learning a few good home plumbing repair tips, it’s also best to learn maintenance tips.
As far as daily plumbing maintenance, you’ll want to pay close attention to whatever you put down the kitchen sink. Grease, oils and fats should be disposed of in the trash rather than down the garbage disposal, mainly because they can cause clogs if they solidify inside your pipes. Cucumber peels, potato skins, banana peels, celery and the like should also be thrown in the trash instead of down the disposal. For everything else that goes down the garbage disposal, turn on the water before inserting anything to prevent clogs, and run cold water for about 10 seconds once you’re done with the disposal to ensure everything is being flushed down the main line.
In the bathroom, watch the chemical clog removal products you use, as they can be more caustic than you might like and eat their way through your pipes while dissolving those bothersome clogs. It’s also good to use as little bath oil as possible to avoid unnecessary issues. Placing screens over drains in the bathroom prevents hair from flowing down and causing clogs.
Take out some time each week to visually inspect your plumbing system for signs of leaks. One thing to know about leaks in residential plumbing is that they often start off small before becoming a bigger and more expensive problem, so catching them early goes a long way in saving you a great deal of frustration and money.
What you want to look for as you’re inspecting your plumbing is signs of mold or mildew growth as well as the smell that accompanies it. There might also be puddling somewhere, which is an obvious sign that something’s going on with your plumbing. Checking to see that all your drains work smoothly is another item to add to your weekly plumbing maintenance list. Any bubbles you notice during draining could mean you have a clog. Taking a look at your toilet flappers, shower heads and pipe fittings for signs of leaking is also a good idea.
The shifting temperatures and weather patterns unique to the seasons also impact your plumbing system. Toward the end of fall, disconnect your outside hose from the spigot to keep the hose from freezing and your interior pipes from bursting in the winter. Shutting off the flow of water to your exterior spigots and draining them of all water is also recommended, as is covering your spigots with Styrofoam insulation covers. While you’re outside, visually inspect your faucets for leaks.
Pipes inside your home that don’t receive heat from your HVAC system, such as those in the garage and in crawl spaces, should be insulated so that they don’t freeze and burst during winter cold snaps. Heat tape and foam insulation are both good ways to keep this from happening.
Make sure you don’t forget about your water heater while taking care of your plumbing system. Because heating your water hotter than necessary can cost you a lot of money, it’s best to adjust the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and see if you notice the difference. Flushing your water heater at least once a year is good to get rid of any sediment that’s built up inside it.
Daily, weekly and seasonal plumbing maintenance might seem like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the cost of avoidable repairs. Take care of your plumbing and it’s sure to take care of you.