Most of us make resolutions for the New Year. We might decide to lose weight, exercise more, meditate regularly, and more. As homeowners, one resolution to consider is performing regular maintenance on your house. Sure, it isn’t glamorous, but you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and stress simply by attending to your house regularly. Here are a few things you can do to keep your plumbing working well in 2019.
Many of these tasks involve the ways you choose to use your plumbing every day. If you use your pipes as they were designed to be used, then you run a much lower risk of plumbing problems that require the skills of a professional plumber. Build these into your day as new habits, and you’ll be able to take care of your plumbing without even thinking too much about it.
For the Bathroom
Most plumbing repairs in the bathroom happen because drains get clogged. While drain cleaning is usually straightforward, keeping your drains clean in the first place can save you the hassle of calling a plumber. Here are a few things you can do:
- Keep bath oils out of your drains. They can become sticky and cause clogs.
- Put screens over your drains to collect hair.
- Never use your toilet as a trash can. Ideally, only human waste and toilet paper get flushed down the toilet. Anything else can go in the trash can or get taken outside immediately.
- Avoid using corrosive chemicals on your drains. If they clog up, use a plunger or give us a call. These chemicals can eat away at some types of piping, causing bigger problems later on.
- Wait a few minutes between showers. This helps your system maintain proper water pressure, which takes some of the stress off your pipes.
For the Kitchen
Drains can clog in the kitchen, too. For most of us, having a garbage disposal adds one more thing that needs to be taken care of or something will go wrong.
- Never put oils down your sink. They will slide down fine, but they can cling to the sides of your pipes and stick to anything that goes down the drain.
- Always turn your water on before you put anything down the garbage disposal.
- Run cold water for 10-20 seconds after you turn off your disposal. This helps flush foods all the way to the main line.
- Avoid putting fibrous or other difficult foods down your garbage disposal. Just because it can get through them doesn’t mean it was designed to do so, and too many of these can cause big problems.
Weekly Maintenance Tips
Once you have these daily guidelines in place and you are using them regularly, you can add weekly plumbing maintenance to your calendar. A lot of these steps have to do with testing for plumbing leaks. Leaky pipes – even ones with tiny leaks – can waste up to 1 trillion gallons per year across the nation. That’s a lot of water that we could use somewhere else! Leaks can happen because you have loose pipe fittings or broken valves, worn-out toilet flappers, shower heads that drip, and more. To prevent leaks and other plumbing problems, you can:
- Go looking for leaks. Search under sinks especially, looking for standing water or evidence that it was recently there. If there is evidence of a leak, turn the water on and see if you can find where it’s coming from.
- Turn on each faucet. If water is spraying or dribbling out of it, it’s time to fix it or get a new one.
- Test your drains. If water drains slowly or you see bubbles, there’s a good chance you need a drain cleaning soon.
Each new season brings new challenges to your plumbing system and the possibility for new plumbing repairs. Taking care of your plumbing will help you avoid big things, like sewer cleaning or repiping.
- In the fall, disconnect your outdoor hoses, flush your sprinkler system, and insulate your pipes and your water heater.
- In the winter, run your taps regularly (even ones that see little use), make sure your basement stays warm to keep your pipes from freezing and call a plumber if a pipe does freeze.
- In the spring, check for leaks and turn outdoor water on carefully, in case something went wrong in the winter.
- In the summer, make sure your sewer is working well and regulate water use according to local laws.
Keep your home going all year long with these simple plumbing maintenance tips!