Keep Your Pipes Healthy: Easy Ways to Prevent Plumbing Problems Around the Home
Here are a few simple things you can do at home to prevent plumbing emergencies and save yourself money–not to mention stress–on costly repairs in the future.
Mind Your Drains
Simply taking a little extra care regarding what goes down your drain makes a big difference for your home plumbing health. Don’t flush anything down the toilet other than bodily waste and toilet paper, don’t dump cooking oil or fat down the kitchen sink, and use drain screens in showers and kitchen sinks to reduce the amount of hair and food bits respectively that get washed down the drain.
Oh, and one more thing people often don’t realize: don’t use commercial drain cleaner–it is corrosive and will damage your pipes. Instead, try a plunger, pour boiling water down the sink to loosen clogs, and get a professional cleaning done for really stubborn blockages.
Know How to Shut off Your Water
Do you know where your water main shut-off valve is? Do you know how to use it? If a pipe bursts suddenly, moving fast to shut off the water will save you a lot of damage so make sure you know exactly how to turn off your water main before you need to know. If you need any tools to access your water shutoff, always keep them nearby so you can grab them in a hurry if necessary.
Fix it, Don’t Ignore it
Notice a slow leak in a pipe somewhere? Get it repaired immediately, don’t wait! A minor leak might not seem like a big deal, but if you ignore it, it will just get worse and could cause much worse damage that will be costly to repair.
Winterize Your Pipes
Every year before the cold season hits, make sure that you wrap insulation around your pipes to prevent burst pipes caused by freezing.
Install a Sump Pump
Basements are the most likely part of any home to incur flood damage and installing a sump pump is an effective way of preventing that. Sump pumps work by diverting excess water away from your home and they are especially recommended if you live in a low-lying or flat area.
Replace Old Pipes Before They Break Down
Many older homes still have pipes made of materials that are no longer used in new construction, such as polybutylene. Have a plumber inspect your pipes and let you know what they are made out of (if you don’t already know). Your plumber can advise as to whether you should have your pipes replaced or relined.
The best thing you can do to prevent plumbing issues is to have regular inspections and maintenance done by an experienced professional.