Your plumbing system is an essential component of your home. Functioning plumbing provides clean water, disposes wastewater, and keeps your home from flooding. But like any system, the plumbing needs regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly and avoid costly repairs. Here are a few tips to prevent plumbing problems.
Tips for Maintaining Your Plumbing System
Check for Leaks
Leaks are one of the most plumbing problems. Check around faucets, toilets, and pipes for signs of leaks, such as wet spots or puddles.
To check for a faucet leak, turn off the water supply to the faucet and watch for a dripping tap. Some leaks require only a simple repair: replace the O-ring in the faucet.
Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank to check for a toilet leak. You have a leak if the color appears in the bowl within a few minutes.
Some household plumbing leaks are more difficult to detect. Be aware of dark stains on walls or ceilings, and watch for peeling paint or wallpaper. Hidden leaks often show signs as they worsen. Call a plumber to repair leaks, save water, and prevent further damage.
Clean the Drains to Prevent Plumbing Problems
Hair, food, and other debris can cause clogs in your drains. To prevent clogs, pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar down your drains every month. Let the mixture work for 30 minutes, then flush with hot water.
Avoid Chemical Cleaners
Harsh drain cleaners can damage your pipes and plumbing fixtures. Instead, use natural methods to clean your drains, such as baking soda and vinegar. If you have a stubborn clog and need a harsh chemical drain cleaner, follow the directions carefully and wear protective gear.
Flush the Water Heater
Sediment can build up in your water heater and reduce its efficiency. To prevent this, have your water heater flushed every year or two. Hire a professional or flush the heater yourself. Turn off the power and water supply to the appliance and connect a garden hose to the drain valve. Flush the water heater until the water runs clear.
Inspect the Pipes to Prevent Plumbing Problems
Use a flashlight and mirror, or hire a professional to check the pipes for cracks, leaks, or other damage. If you notice rust, cracks, or further damage, repair the issue immediately to prevent a more severe problem.
Additional Tips for Maintenance to Prevent Plumbing Problems
- Use a strainer in your sink to catch food particles and other debris to prevent clogs.
- Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper and waste down the toilet. Feminine hygiene products, diapers, and other items can clog your pipes.
- Have your septic tank pumped every 3-5 years to prevent backups and related problems.
By following these tips, you can help to keep your plumbing system running smoothly and prevent costly repairs. If you have any questions about plumbing maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber.