8 Preventive Home Tips to Avoid Plumbing Problems
By Victoria Baeker
When it comes to acquiring plumbing skills, there’s no time like the present. The idea has crossed your mind before, but you did not make the time to do it. Study the great advice in this article, and you will be happy that you finally took the time to do so, if you ever have plumbing issues.
Learning how to put off plumbing problems such as bursting pipes, leaks, and clogged drains is simple with the right tools. Old and new homes similarly require year-round attention to plumbing details, so watching for the signs of plumbing troubles is a must.
Plumbing services can be pricey. Most homeowner want to do what they can to reduce how many time they have to call for help with their drains, pipes and other plumbing features. There are a few easy tips that you can pursue on a usual basis to lessen the need to use plumbing services in your home.
Always explore plumbers thoroughly before you make a decision to use their services. Sometimes plumbers will not be very good at their job, and can even make problems worse than they are. Ensure to look at online reviews, or ask for a referral from a family member or friend. To know more about these things check out our Home Maintenance guide.
If you pack a little knowledge and a few actions of the plumbing trade into your home care toolbox, you will be able to keep away from the kind of plumbing problems that can literally soak you.
Here are 8 tips for spotting and avoiding plumbing problems before they cause serious damage.
1. Leaky toilet. Toilet repairs are one of the most common plumbing problems. While the toilets themselves don’t tire out, the working parts inside them can. Leaks are a frequent result, and one leaky toilet can waste around 78,000 gallons of water a year, sufficient to fill up a backyard swimming pool!
In case you inspect a leak, test out your theory by pouring a bit of food coloring into the toilet’s tank and waiting overnight. In case the dye shows up in the bowl the next morning, you have got a leak and it’s time to put back the flush valve, an simple job that requires only a few dollars’ investment and a little of your time.
2. Clogging shower, tub or bathroom sink drain. Bathroom drains can get clogged quickly with hair and soap residue, which is not only a plumbing problem, but a cluttered one as well. Before you find yourself with a flooding backup, clear the way with a dry or wet vacuum, a useful trick of the trade that definitely beats time-consuming extraction with an auger.
3. Kitchen sink backup. Grease, cooking oil and other fats can literally gunk up the pipes in your kitchen sink, causing serious plumbing problems. In its place, be smart about waste disposal and outfit sinks with strainers to catch errant items and keep them clean. Occasionally flush the drain with a few gallons of boiling water to soften accumulated soap and grease. Applications of products like Roto Rooter’s Pipe Shield can also stop kitchen clogs.
4. Main shutoff valve. Your home’s plumbing system can have hundreds of different valves, but knowing the position of just one can avoid thousands of dollars in damage to a home. The main water valve regulates the flow of all water into your home and should work properly to prevent disaster.
To keep away from severe flooding if a plumbing problem were to occur, find the main water valve, which is generally located at the lowest level of your home near the street, then test the valve to ensure it turns off properly. Suspend a large tag labeled main valve from the valve handle to make sure all members of your household can find it before the flood sets in. In case the home will be vacant for a prolonged period of time; it’s smart to shut off this valve before leaving so as to avoid a plumbing problem when you return.
5. Laundry connection. Another important plumbing point that can be a possible problem is the set of rubber connection hoses on your washing machine, which can be a hazardously weak link in the system. These hoses can dry out, burst and allow thousands of gallons of water to rush into your home. In order to avoid this plumbing problem, check the hoses frequently for blisters and cracks, and be sure to turn off the water supply valves to the washer before leaving home for an extended period of time. Better yet, put back the hoses with steel models, and consider about installing an easy-to-reach, single-lever shutoff valve just for the washer.
6. Outdoor faucets. Keep an eye on outdoor faucets year-round to make sure they are not watering the property without your knowledge, and make repairs and replacements as needed. Once the freezing season begins, turn off all faucets and drain them for winter by loosening the brass cap on the side of each faucet’s valve.
7. Water heater. Water heaters have quite long life expectancies, but when one leaks, bursts or otherwise breaks down, you can be in for a waterlogged disaster. Check your water heater regularly for signs of rusting or leakage at tank fittings, and if you spot potential problem, call in a certified plumber for a more thorough check to decide whether repair or replacement is in order.
8. Old pipes. Based on the age of your home and the water lines running to it, pipes made from bygone materials can be main sources for leaks and clogs. Old terra cotta waste lines can be broken and invaded by roots, and steel pipes are apt to internal rusting that can create quite a buildup, ultimately bursting or reducing water pressure to intolerable levels.
Broken-down waste piping can be treated with two methods:
- Relining, where damaged pipes are left in place but lined with a fiberglass reinforced epoxy, and
- Pipe bursting, in which a specially designed machine pulls a replacement pipe through the old pipe, dividing the old pipe separately to make room for the new.
As for steel plumbing pipes, take every chance to substitute them with up to date materials. The main horizontal pipes running through the crawl space, running from your home to the street, and pipes leading to bathrooms should be at the top of your substitution list, and sectional upgrades can be done anytime you’re making a home repair that involves opening walls or floors.
Learning a bit about plumbing can be a priceless tool to have in your possession. With the right awareness about plumbing problems and the appliances that they involve, plumbing problem prevention is easy. It can even minimize the need to call a professional for repair services.
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