Performing basic maintenance for the plumbing systems in your home can go a long way to preventing bigger issues from erupting. Here are eight DIY maintenance tips that can help minimize the number of trips to your house from your plumber, particularly if your home has experienced plumbing problems in the past.
Eight Essentials to Good Plumbing Maintenance
- Fix leaks and clogs immediately. Plumbing issues like these can quickly turn simple repairs into expensive ones and/or lead to water damage and unhealthy mold or mildew buildup.
- Use non-toxic drain cleaners. A solution of baking soda and vinegar can clear most minor drain clogs.
- Keep drains object-free. Install properly fitting drain screens and sink stoppers to prevent food, hair, and other things that can stop up pipes from going down the drain.
- Learn what your disposal can eat. Not everything can be chewed up by the kitchen disposal. Check your manufacturer's manual for specifics, but as a general rule, never put cooking grease, coffee grinds, egg shells, pasta or rice in your disposal.
- Buy the right tools. Be sure you have a plumber’s wrench in your toolbox as well as a sturdy plunger.
- Know locations for all shut-off valves. Your home’s washing machine, sink, toilet, and water heater all have shut-off valves. Know where they are as well as your home’s main water shut-off valve and any outside clean-outs.
- Prepare for the season. Before winter, inspect the insulation around the pipes under your house, in the basement, and in the garage. Proper insulation helps keep your pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Schedule regular plumbing checkups. Consult with your plumber about a schedule for the routine maintenance needs for your home's HVAC system and water heater. Also schedule a snake of your sewer lines via your home's clean-out at least every two years to keep pipes free of clogs and buildup.
Remember: your home's plumbing has a tell. When you spot one of its tics, like a leaky faucet, water on the floor around a dishwasher or refrigerator, or mildew around a sink, shower, or tub, don't hesitate to act. It's a sign that you have some maintenance to do.