Plumbing issues can be a headache to deal with, to say nothing of their cost. But did you know that regular preventative maintenance can save you a lot of time and money in the long run? Here are six preventative maintenance tasks you can do yourself to avoid costly plumbing repairs:
1. Check for Leaks
One of the most common plumbing issues is leaks. In fact, 10% of homes experience leaks that account for 90 gallons or more of lost water every day! Leaks gone undetected can lead to structural damage and even mold growth, especially when such large volumes of water are being lost. To avoid these costly repairs, check your pipes and fixtures for leaks regularly. Look for any signs of water damage or discoloration, and listen for any hissing or dripping sounds. If you find a leak, address it as soon as possible. Fixing minor leaks promptly can prevent them from turning into costly issues.
2. Keep Drains Clear
Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing repair costs. To minimize problems, avoid pouring grease, coffee grounds, and fibrous foods down the kitchen sink even if you use a disposal. Pay special attention to drains in bathtubs and showers, where hair can accumulate in drains and make for extra stubborn clogs. To clean your drains, make a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Then, simply pour the mixture down the drain, wait for a few minutes, and rinse with hot water. If that doesn’t do the trick, you can also use a drain snake or plunger to clear tough clogs.
3. Maintain Your Water Heater
Who doesn’t love a nice, warm shower? Your water heater plays a vital role in providing hot water for showers and other household tasks. To ensure its longevity and efficiency, this system requires regular maintenance. Check the pressure relief valve periodically and drain a few gallons from the tank to remove sediment buildup. If you notice any unusual noises or reduced hot water supply, consider professional inspection or servicing. Proper maintenance of your water heater will extend its lifespan and prevent costly repairs or replacements.
4. Inspect Your Toilet
Toilets see a lot of everyday use, which is why they can also be a common source of plumbing issues. To avoid costly repairs, inspect your toilet regularly for any leaks or cracks. Check the tank, bowl, and base for any signs of damage or discoloration. You should also make sure the toilet is flushing properly and the water level in the tank is at the appropriate level. Another important part of ensuring a properly-functioning toilet is to keep it clean. Luckily, this is quick and simple with some white vinegar and baking soda, but does take a bit of planning. Simply pour one cup of white vinegar into your toilet bowl, and let it sit overnight without flushing (that’s where the planning comes in). In the morning, add a sprinkle of baking soda before scrubbing and flushing to reveal your sparkling clean toilet.
5. Protect Your Pipes
If you live in a climate with cold winters (or maybe it’s cold year-round), frozen pipes always pose a threat to your home. Frozen pipes can cause significant damage and can be expensive to repair, but thankfully there are some steps you can take to prevent them. Protect your pipes by insulating them with foam or heat tape during the winter months. You can also make sure to keep your home at a consistent temperature and allow faucets to drip slightly during extremely cold weather. This is especially important if you plan on being away from the house, even if just for a few hours. This will help prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting which can result in a very costly repair scenario.
6. Clean Faucet Aerators and Showerheads
Faucet aerators and showerheads may seem like insignificant components of your plumbing system, but their cleanliness plays a significant role in maintaining the efficiency and longevity of your fixtures. Over time, mineral deposits, sediment, and debris can accumulate in these small but crucial parts, affecting water flow and quality. Regularly cleaning faucet aerators and showerheads not only improves their performance but also helps prevent potential plumbing issues. By removing these obstructions, you ensure a steady water flow, reduce clogs, and even save water and energy. Don’t underestimate the impact of these seemingly minor maintenance tasks – they can make a big difference in the functionality of your plumbing fixtures.
Investing time and effort in year-round plumbing maintenance is a small price to pay compared to the potential costs of major repairs and water damage. By implementing these six maintenance tips you can keep your plumbing system in excellent condition, save money, and maintain a stress-free and optimally functioning home. Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to home maintenance issues.