16 Easy Ways to Prevent Pricey Plumbing Problems
The last thing anyone wants is a plumbing emergency to hide an already busy day. However, a little care and simple maintenance can keep everything running smoothly. Taking care of a home’s plumbing can also keep energy bills lower in general, help conserve water, and keep a healthy diet surprisingly high water bill as a result of a crisis.
Rule # 1 is to look at what goes down the drain, including hair, razors, lotion, dental floss, and other blockages. “Like other homeowners, plumbers must take steps to protect our drainage systems,” said Tim Daley, general manager at Wolfer’s Home Services in Portland, Oregon. “For me, I regularly clean my drains to make sure there are no major blockages that need a major repair. I also use a drain protector in the bottom of my shower to keep hair from getting into the plumbing system and causing a blockage. “A screen costs less than $ 10 and if it gets dirty it can just be dumped in the trash.
If your bathroom sink drains slowly or if you notice bubbles, you are likely developing a blockage. Don’t call the plumber right away, though. The best way to prevent buildup (including soap scum and other dirt or chemicals that inevitably go down the drain) is to pour boiling water down the drain about once a week. Skip drain cleaning chemicals, which can be toxic and cause more problems in the long run. Instead, use a plunger – yes, even down the sink – or grab $ 5 flexible drain hose to pull out clogs. It’s so gross, but somehow so satisfying!
Take a good look at faucets and toilets once a month. Is the tap dripping? Is the floor behind the toilet wet when flushing? Does the cupboard under the counter get wet? By fixing these problems early, you can prevent future floor or ceiling damage.
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Plumbers do not pour cooking grease, food scraps or anything else down the drain. Toss that in the compost bucket and save the sink for whatever rinses off the plates.
“I’ll keep my drains clear to avoid major blockages, too,” said Daley. “I don’t throw grease or coffee grounds down my drain. I also do not throw away fibrous or starchy foods such as potato skins, banana skins or eggshells in my waste disposal. These items don’t break down easily and can clog your drain and damage your waste disposal. “
After using the garbage disposal, rinse everything in running water for about 15 seconds. That will help eliminate bad smells.
Like the drain, your toilet is not a trash can. “Toilet paper is the only item that needs to be flushed,” Daley said. Never flush paper towels, cat litter, or sanitary products. Even wet wipes, including wipes that claim to be flushable, can cause blockages in the system. These items don’t dissolve easily and can get stuck in your plumbing, requiring repair or replacement if damage is extensive. “
Over time, the rubber ring that holds the faucet handle in place will wear out. If you notice a small leak at the base of the handle, get a new one for it about $ 3.
Leaking toilets waste thousands of gallons of water every year. To see if yours is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and come back a few hours later. If you find the color in the bowl, replace the flush valve, which costs less than $ 15. The water should be an inch below the overflow tube, which is normally in the center of the toilet tank. If it is higher, you will waste water.
If you notice water on the floor behind the toilet, chances are the bolts or gaskets securing the tank are likely worn. Reach under the toilet tank and feel the latches. Are they wet? If so, they are worn out. You can also feel the rubber gaskets in the toilet. They are usually black. If you rub it with your finger and your finger gets a black line across it, it is worn out.
If you are traveling for more than a week, consider turning off the water to the house to avoid accidents while you are away. This is usually on the street side of the lowest level of the house. Do not turn off the water heater; only the cold water valve to the house.
Water heaters don’t go out often, but when they do, they can do expensive damage. Look for seasonal signs of rust or leakage. If you see anything, contact a licensed plumber. You can also get a water detection monitor that will warn you of a leak before the floor and surrounding walls get damaged.
Insulating pipes can save you money and make your shower warmer faster, according to the Ministry of Energy. “As plumbers, we know the importance of keeping pipes in good working order all year round,” said Daley. “When it’s winter, I make sure my pipes are well insulated to protect them from harsh winter weather and cold temperatures. A frozen pipe can easily burst and cause major water damage and problems to the pipe system as a whole. “
In the winter months, when you are not watering the yard or lawn, disconnect the hoses and shut off the seawater valves to prevent freezing.
If you hear a thumping sound in your water heater, the heat may be set too high. A quick test is to put your hand under the hot water flowing into your sink. If it’s too hot to put your hand there, the water heater is too high. This also saves you money on the energy bill.
This is a two-minute solution. Check the chain on the flap in the tank. It needs to be relaxed. If it’s too tight, adjust the chain to give it some slack. If the flap is worn, you may hear the water flowing. You can pick up a new one for it less than $ 10.