Preventative maintenance can save both headaches and money in plumbing issues. By performing simple tasks such as installing drain screens or encouraging household members to be mindful about what goes down toilets and sinks, preventive measures may help ward off significant complications in the future.
Mind the small things; even seemingly minor problems can quickly snowball into major problems if left ignored. Here are a few helpful hints for avoiding common plumbing nightmares.
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1. Don’t let frozen pipes burst
Burst pipes can cause flooding, water damage, mold growth, and other problems within your home and nearby properties – including your neighbors’ properties and homes or businesses.
Water freezes into ice crystals that expand as it freezes, potentially overwhelming old or poorly insulated pipes and potentially leading to burst pipes if the weather turns colder. Therefore, taking precautionary steps when temperatures fall is key to keeping yourself and your pipes safe during these extreme cold spells.
One simple way to help prevent frozen pipes is to open cabinet doors under sinks and allow air circulation, especially if your cabinets are on exterior walls or in unheated environments.
During very cold stretches, ensure your thermostat is set no lower than 55 degrees, insulating the garage, attic, and other unheated spaces as best you can. If frozen or burst pipes become an ongoing problem, calling in professional help could save money in water damage repairs over time.
Although this project might cost more upfront, relocating pipes to warmer parts of the home might save money on repairs.
2. Don’t let sewer backups happen
Sewer backups can be one of the unpleasant plumbing headaches a homeowner faces. Standing sewage water can significantly damage your floors, walls, and foundation; additionally, it poses health hazards due to the bacteria and debris it contains.
Sewage backups often occur because items that shouldn’t go down the toilet, such as paper towels, baby wipes, or cooking grease, should be disposed of via trash can disposal. Tree roots also invade sewer lines, causing cracks that must be fixed promptly for proper functioning.
Avoiding sewage backup or overflow by being aware of subtle signs of sewer issues is the key to protecting homes against backup or overflow. Slow drains, gurgling noises, and foul odors are all signs that should prompt further investigation.
While homeowners are responsible for their drains, they also share responsibility for connecting city sewer lines, which may become overwhelmed due to heavy storms or flooding and overflow into homes connected by them – this can be prevented by installing backflow valves in all basement floor drains.
3. Don’t let clogged drains get any worse
Drain clogs are one of the primary reasons people contact a plumber. Blockages in drains can prevent water from passing through sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets, resulting in significant and costly harm to the house’s plumbing system.
Preventing drain clogs can be done easily by carefully considering what you put down the drains. Only flush sewage, water, and dissolvable food waste in the toilet; hair, soap scum or grease should not be put down the sink drains.
Regularly cleaning your drains with a household cleaner and a drain snake will help prevent clogs from developing. In addition, purchasing a lint catcher for your washing machine drain line to prevent soap scum or other items from entering can also help protect.
These can usually be found in the plumbing departments of most hardware stores. In the bathtub or shower, drain strainers may help stop hair and debris from entering; additionally, it’s a good idea to periodically pour liquid drain cleaner down drain lines as an extra measure to dissolve organic material that could potentially be blocking pipes.
4. Don’t let leaky faucets get any worse
Leaky faucets can waste hundreds of gallons annually. Not only is that wasteful, but it could lead to costly plumbing repairs and an increase in your water bill if addressed after some time.
Dripping faucets may be caused by various issues, including mineral buildup or an O-ring that has become worn and torn. Therefore, your faucets must be regularly cleaned to eliminate any dirt or debris contributing to their leakiness.
You can use a soft brush or safe cleaning products designed specifically for plumbing pipes to loosen built-up dirt.
Before fixing a leaky faucet, ensure the water supply has been completely turned off by turning off any available valves beneath your sink, either on the wall or in the cabinet.
After turning off the water supply, remove your handle from the faucet and use an Allen key or Phillips head screwdriver to unscrew its stem nut before taking care to remove any decorative caps that might cover screws before setting aside both it and its handle for later.
5. Don’t let leaky water heaters get any worse
Although water heaters sometimes leak a small amount, the problem quickly escalates when this dripping becomes uncontrolled. That is why you must recognize the early warning signs that your water heater is leaking and immediately act before it worsens.
If your water heater is leaking, turn off its water source first. Look for two pipes at the top of your water heater: one should feel hot when touched, while the other will feel cool (some producers label these with red and blue collars or paint to help identify which is which). Next, turn off its flow before checking for signs of leaking.
Encourage everyone in your home to be careful what they flush down the toilet. You shouldn’t flush paper towels, wet wipes, and women’s hygiene products down the toilet since they can seriously clog pipes and cause other issues. Also, replace rubber hoses with stainless-steel braided ones that are less likely to burst under pressure.