Plumbing System Maintenance Tips
An ounce of prevention will go a long way toward keeping your home’s plumbing in top working order – and you’ll avoid costly repairs.
Faucets and Sinks
- Even small drips can waste thousands of gallons of water, as much as 150 gallons a day. Be sure to check under sinks for moisture or small leaks. And always repair leaky faucets right away to avoid paying for wasted water, and also to avoid water damage to your fixtures and pipes.
- Remove and clean your faucet aerators annually to ensure an even flow of water.
- Make sure overflow holes on tubs and vanity is clear and open to prevent water damage to floors and ceilings.
- Before doing any maintenance on your water heater yourself, be sure to shut off the power, and read your owner’s manual.
- At least once every three months, drain water from the tank. Over time sediment builds at the bottom of the heater, which can hamper performance, and draining a gallon or so helps remove the sediment.
- You should also periodically inspect your water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips. If it’s mostly yellow or sooty under there, your flue may be clogged, which is a dangerous situation. Contact a professional to check it out.
- At least once every two years, have your water heater inspected by a service technician. He or she will also check the drain valve for signs of leakage, and the anode rods for corrosion.
- Toilet leaks can be wasteful and expensive. At least once a year, check your toilet for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is colored red, water is seeping through from the tank. If it is leaking, you should replace the tank ball.
- To help prevent clogs, fit all your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly.
- Do not rinse fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs.
- Avoid using caustic liquid drain openers (like Drano or Liquid Plumber) on a drain that is completely clogged. The caustic ingredients are trapped in your pipes, and it can severely damage them. If you can’t snake the drain yourself, contact a professional to do so.
You can extend the life of your garbage disposal by:
- Using plenty of cold water when running it
- Making sure you avoid overloading it
- Never disposing of things like bones or corn husks
- Never using a caustic drain opener