Monthly Maintenance Reminder - Plumbing Tips and Tricks

Monthly Maintenance Reminder - Plumbing Tips and Tricks

Plumbing
By Mateos Glen Hayes October 19, 2021

It would be hard to imagine a world without the convenience of running water. Modern plumbing is in many ways the cornerstone of our 21st-century lifestyle, and as such is critical for allowing us to live long and healthy lives. It is, therefore, no surprise that good plumbing maintenance is essential for any conscientious homeowner. A well-maintained plumbing system can give you decades of trouble-free operation, but poor plumbing maintenance can quickly lead to disaster.

Happily, our world of convenience is also filled with plenty of plumbing repair professionals that specialize in all manner of plumbing issues. But while a professional plumber is an essential ingredient in good plumbing maintenance, there are also plenty of things you as a homeowner can do to help keep your plumbing in good shape. At the end of the day, simple DIY tasks along with regular professional inspections are all that’s needed to keep your home’s plumbing in good shape.

Weekly Maintenance Checklist

Small weekly checks are a great method for leaking detection and can help you to catch a problem before it morphs into a big expensive headache.   

Leaking Detection 

If there is a leak in your home’s plumbing, there will be some warning signs to look out for. Keep a weather eye out for signs of moisture under sinks. This can come in the form of small puddles of standing water, water staining, a musty smell, and the appearance of mold. Even a small leak should be located and dealt with swiftly, as leaks can cause big damage to your home in the form of wood rot, mold, and corrosion. A small leak left unchecked can lead to big repair bills further down the road.

Leaks are also very wasteful, and a small leak can lose you thirty-four gallons of water per year, so be sure that any leak you find is nipped in the bud. Water can also leak out of a faucet itself, gradually dripping even when the valve is closed. Some faucets may also suffer from water that leaks through the handle or valve. Either way, it’s important to call a plumber to perform a faucet repair if you detect this kind of leak.

Some leaks can be so slow that they are almost impossible to notice. To find a slow leak, you’ll have to do a little experiment. To start, just take a reading of your water meter. Then, wait for at least two hours without using any water and see if the reading changes. If you find that the level has changed, you likely have a leak in your pipes.

Early Detection of Leaks Prevent Future Plumbing Problems

Early Detection of Leaks Prevent Future Plumbing Problems

Signs of a Blocked Drain

As you play around with your faucets, be sure to pay attention to how fast water goes down your drain. One easy way to tell if you have a blocked drain is to look out for any bubbles as the water drains. If bubbles appear while the water goes down the drain, this likely means that there you have a blocked drain. Fortunately, there are plenty of hacks that can help to unclog a stubborn drain, but you can always call the pros if all else fails.

Checking Your Drain for Clogs Could Be an Important Part of Your Monthly Routine Checkup

Checking Your Drain for Clogs Could Be an Important Part of Your Monthly Routine Checkup

Washing Machines and Dishwashers

Aside from the little stuff such as keeping lint filters clean and sanitizing your dishwasher occasionally you should also keep an eye on the hoses of these devices. This is especially relevant if you have older devices. These devices use hoses to draw water and over time these hoses can become cracked, bulged, or otherwise messed up. This will eventually cause leaks, so it’s important to have these hoses replaced if you find them to be in bad shape.  

Ensure Your Appliance Pipes Are in Good Condition

Ensure Your Appliance Pipes Are in Good Condition

Kitchen Maintenance Checklist

Aside from leaking detection, there are some other things to keep in mind when it comes to good plumbing maintenance in your kitchen. 

Garbage Disposal Dos and Don’ts 

Garbage disposals are pretty cool (and kinda scary) things. They look like something from the future and sound like something from an airplane bathroom. Either way, they are very useful things to have especially if you do a lot of cooking because they give you a quick and easy way to throw things away. No need to constantly worry about blocked drains because a garbage disposal can grind almost anything into a pulp so that it never poses a challenge.

Having said that, your garbage disposal can’t deal with everything you put into it, and there are definitely some things you should avoid sticking in there. For one, anything that is fibrous such as banana peels, potato peels, and celery shouldn’t be put in garbage disposal because they can still cause a drain blockage. You should also avoid putting hard things such as grape seeds in the disposal as this can cause the blades to get damaged.

When using the garbage disposal be sure to turn on the disposal and run the water before putting anything down the drain. Once you’re done using the garbage disposal, be sure to let the tap run for at least 15 seconds so that everything washes down the drain.

Garbage Disposals Are Powerful, but Have a Limit

Garbage Disposals Are Powerful, but Have a Limit

Dishwasher Hacks 

In addition to your hose connections, be sure to check the door seals of your dishwasher regularly to make sure that it is in good shape. A worn door seal will allow water to sneak out, causing your dishwasher to leak. Additionally, if you add too much detergent or put too many dishes in the dishwasher, this can also cause a leak. Excessive dishes can also cause the dishwasher to become stuck, preventing it from fully washing your dishes.

Your dishwasher can also have drain blockages which will prevent water from draining properly. To avoid this, be sure to rinse your dishes thoroughly before sticking them in the machine.

Avoid Overfilling Your Dishwasher to Avoid Leakage and Other Problems

Avoid Overfilling Your Dishwasher to Avoid Leakage and Other Problems

Bathroom Maintenance Checklist 

When it comes to plumbing, your bathroom is maintenance central. As such, it should be one of the main areas of focus for the conscientious homeowner. Don’t let the added complication scare you though because most bathroom maintenance you need to go is fairly simple.

Avoid Toilet Clogs 

Toilet clogs are a huge hassle to deal with especially if you have to pay toilet repair costs to undo the damage. So, it pays to try and keep it from happening. Fortunately, avoiding toilet clogs is relatively easy, and it all comes down to what you put in it; more specifically, it comes down to what you don’t put in it. In general, avoid flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Some tampon and wet wipe companies will insist that their products are “flushable” but that’s not saying much.

Sure, a tampon might go down when you flush, but it will not dissolve in water and there’s no way of knowing if it gets stuck further down the line. That is, there’s no way of knowing until a bunch of tampons completely block your toilet’s plumbing. By that point, you’ll have an expensive problem on your hands that only an emergency plumber can solve. Play it safe and avoid flushing down these products.

Human Waste and Toilet Paper Are the Only Things That Should Be Flushed Down the Toilet

Human Waste and Toilet Paper Are the Only Things That Should Be Flushed Down the Toilet

Toilet Leaking Detection Hack

This is another one of the sneaky leaks that can cause a lot of water waste. This tends to happen more often with older toilets as the flush mechanism tends to wear out over time. Eventually, the flush valve can stop closing properly, causing a slight trickle leak. If you suspect that your toilet is leaking, there’s a neat hack that can help you to detect it. Simply add some food coloring into your toilet’s flush tank and wait a little bit. If you see that the food coloring is starting to appear in the toilet bowl, then you know that water is leaking out.

Food Dye Can Help You Detect Silent Toilet Leaks

Food Dye Can Help You Detect Silent Toilet Leaks

Toilet DIY Repair Quick Tips

Of course, you can always call a plumbing expert for any toilet problem you may have. However, a lot of the common toilet problems are easy to solve yourself. For instance, if you want to fix a slow leak yourself, simply drain the tank and check the flapper (the rubber ball that is attached with a chain). If you find that the flapper is worn out, replace it.

If you have a toilet clog, it is recommended that you use a force-cup plunger as these are more effective than conventional plungers. If the leak is more severe, use a drain snake or even a long metal wire with a hook (from a clothes hanger for example) to reach the clog.

Many Toilet Problems Are Easy to Solve Yourself

Many Toilet Problems Are Easy to Solve Yourself

Avoid Clogged Shower Drains

Hair is a constant worry for any shower. To prevent it from bunching up and blocking your shower drain, put in some screens over your drains which will catch the hair. To further reduce the likelihood of having clogged shower drains, try brushing your hair before showering. This will comb out any loose hairs before they go into your shower. It is also recommended that you avoid using too many shower oils as these can also contribute to clogging. Barring that you can try and keep things flowing by flushing your shower every week with a pot of boiled water. 

Seasonal Reminders

As the warmer months yield to cold autumn days, it's time to take some preventative measures so that your plumbing can stand up to the winter months. 

Outdoor Faucets

Also known as a hose bib or spigot, your outdoor faucet is one of your plumbing systems’ biggest weaknesses during the winter. Your spigot can easily freeze if you leave it connected to a hose and with water running and cause burst pipes to flood your house. To make a long story short, you’ll have more to worry about than just outdoor faucet repair if you let your hose bib get frozen.

To avoid this, take the opportunity of autumn to disconnect your hose from your outdoor faucet. Then, disconnect the valves that supply water to your spigots and be sure to drain them. If you happen to have leaky hose bibs, be sure to get a plumber to take a look at them to reduce the risk of frozen pipes.

Frozen Pipes Can Burst in the Cold and Leak Around the House

Frozen Pipes Can Burst in the Cold and Leak Around the House

Spring Plumbing 

As spring starts honing into view, it's wise to do some plumbing maintenance so that your home is ready.

The winter may have forced you to avoid using an outdoor sink for several months. To check that this sink still works properly, try pouring a gallon of water into the sink. If the drain is slow, this will need to be rectified with a drain snake. You can also use this technique to fight off any odors that may appear in your drains during the warmer months. Spring is also a good time to do some more leaking detection, so keep an eye out for any leaks that might have sprung up during the winter months in your pipes. Watermarks, water damage, and/or puddles are all dead giveaways. 

Look Out for Any Sort of Damage Before Using Your Outdoor Sinks in Springtime

Look Out for Any Sort of Damage Before Using Your Outdoor Sinks in Springtime

MG

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes

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