Every day, you rely on your home’s plumbing to deliver you water on demand. From flushing your toilet to watering your lawn, the plumbing in your home often goes unnoticed — that is, until a plumbing disaster strikes.
Rather than waiting until your hot water heater fails or your pipes burst, stay on top of maintenance so you can avoid major (and expensive) plumbing problems.
The following plumbing maintenance tips will help keep your system running smoothly and will prevent further damage to your home. Use this plumbing maintenance checklist as a starting point, and reach out to a local plumber to tackle any further issues that arise.
A leak is often the first sign of a plumbing problem. Not only does a leak mean you’re wasting water, but it could mean that:
Identifying and addressing leaks is a crucial part of plumbing maintenance. Sometimes, there are obvious signs that you have a leak problem. For example, mold and mildew on the walls, water stains on the ceiling, musty smells and that annoying drip, drip, drip coming from the sink are all clear indicators of a leak.
But you can get ahead of a leak problem by regularly checking certain areas inside and outside your home. Some of the most common areas where homeowners notice leaks include:
When you see a leak, contact a plumber who can identify its source and make the repairs.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends investing in a water leak monitoring and shut-off system. A water leak detection system can help you avoid expensive water damage down the line by detecting big and small leaks in your pipes and shutting off your home’s water supply.
According to Consumer Reports, the best systems on the market utilize flow sensors and remote wireless detectors to stay on top of leaks when you’re away from your home.
From the accumulation of debris in your sink’s P-trap to the entire sink drain backing up, clogs are a common plumbing issue. However, with preventative maintenance, you can stop clogs before they start. The following dos and don’ts of drains can help you avoid a backed-up sink or shower.
Your hot water heater serves a valuable purpose. From baths and showers to washing your dishes, a water heater makes it easy to access hot water at the turn of a faucet knob.
However, water heaters are also the source of many common plumbing problems. To keep yours in good condition, do the following:
If you don’t know how to complete the steps above, schedule a maintenance appointment with a hot water heater company or professional near you. Here are a few signs that suggest it’s time to perform preventive maintenance or schedule repairs for your water heater:
For more tips, read our guide on troubleshooting water heaters.
For homeowners who live in a cold climate, the winter months can lead to serious plumbing headaches. To prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting, do the following:
Every year, inspect your water heater, dishwasher, washing machines and refrigerator ice maker hoses, recommends the III. Oftentimes, these hoses need to be replaced every five to seven years.
For example, with washing machine lines, inspect both your hot and cold water supply lines every month. Watch out for these common signs that indicate lines might be failing, states the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS):
And if you see corrosion on your water heater lines, it’s time to replace them, according to Hunker. Don’t hesitate to ask a plumber to inspect your water heater if you’re not sure if there’s corrosion.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends pumping your septic tank every three to five years. If you have a system with mechanical components, electrical float switches or pumps, get it inspected once a year.
You should also practice being more efficient with water usage and avoid flushing anything that’s not human waste or toilet paper down the toilet. And you should take steps to protect your drain field. For example, plant trees far away from your field, so the roots don’t grow into your system. And never drive or park on your drain field.
Typically located in your basement or crawl space, sump pumps help protect your home from flooding and water damage. Take care of your sump pump by utilizing these maintenance tips from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors:
You can hire a sump pump professional to help you stay on top of maintenance and handle any repairs.
Hire a plumber to inspect your home’s plumbing system if you start to notice any signs of common issues. A plumber will be able to quickly and accurately diagnose the issue, as well as help you determine whether a repair or replacement is the better option.
For example, hire a plumber if:
A professional can also give you plumbing tips and preventative maintenance advice so you can avoid the need for future repairs.
By adhering to the above plumbing maintenance tips, you can prevent costly plumbing failure and the need for further home repair. In many cases, plumbing disasters are avoidable simply by performing regular maintenance and taking care of small issues as quickly as possible.
Stay on top of maintenance by finding plumbers and other specialists in your area. Start with a search for a local plumber near you on Thumbtack, and read the customer reviews for several of them. Find at least three to five that seem right for the job, and ask each one for a cost estimate. Give them as many details about your plumbing system, the last time you completed maintenance and any issues you’re experiencing.
And take note of how easy (or difficult) it is to get a hold of the plumbers — and how quickly they respond to your questions. Communication is key, especially if you wind up having a plumbing emergency.
A plumber can help guide you through common issues, ensuring that your plumbing continues to work the way it should for years to come. Start searching for one today.
Sources: CDC, Consumer Reports, Environmental Protection Agency, Hunker, Institute for Business & Home Safety, Insurance Information Institute, International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, The Spruce, U.S. Department of Energy.
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