People rarely, if ever, give thought to their homes or buildings’ pipes and plumbing systems. It is an intricate system that brings in freshwater, heats it up, and distributes it around your property. Easy access to water and sanitation is so ordinary that it is easy to take for granted until something goes wrong. Pipes are hidden in the walls and floors of your home or building. This makes it easy to forget about them. However, if you want to have a healthy home that will last for a lifetime, you need to pay attention to the plumbing. To avoid costly emergencies, you will have to do a bit of maintenance. That being said, whether you like to tinker with your property’s plumbing or not, we are going to give you a few useful plumbing maintenance tips that will help keep your property in tip-top shape.
- Deal with Any Clogged Drains Immediately
It is very common for food and other small fragments to build up in bathroom basins and kitchen sink drains. This can be the case even if you have trash disposal. If you notice that water is draining slower than usual, you need to do something right away. There are many DIY methods that can help you with clogged drains that do not involve working on the pipes themselves. However, if your DIY solution proves ineffective, do not try to clear the pipes yourself. Clearing the drains on your own could lead to bigger problems.
With that said, the best thing you can do is try and prevent clogging from ever happening. Mesh sink strainers will prevent food, hair, and other possible clogging materials from going down the drain. Also, you should get in the habit of throwing leftover food and bones into the trash before washing the dishes. This way, you will remove the risk of clogging your drain and having to look for a professional to help you once a small problem becomes much bigger.
- Keep an Eye on the Water Pressure
Just as you need to pay attention if your water is draining slower, so you should also pay attention if the water coming out of the faucet or the shower is weaker than usual. If, while taking a shower or bath or doing the dishes, the water pressure drops significantly, it’s time to check your home’s plumbing. The problems with water pressure usually come as a result of plaque buildup in the aerators. Buildup in your aerators will cause issues down the line, so you need to pay close attention to that. The best way to do this would be to use a water pressure gauge for plumbing maintenance. This device will help you figure out what your water pressure is.
- Warning Signs to Keep an Eye Out For
It is possible that something bad will happen despite your best efforts to prevent it. Even so, you still need to pay attention to what is going on. Pipes usually show signs of damage if there is something wrong with them. For example, if your water heater is making noises, it may be due to the buildup of silt. Furthermore, whistling sounds are often caused by some sort of obstruction. Remove and clean the showerhead to get rid of any buildup of mineral deposits. If you want to prevent any of this, you need to clean your water heater regularly. A heater that is not clean will be less efficient, in addition to being a flood hazard.
- Understand Your Plumbing System
In the event of a water emergency, you need to know where all of your water valves are located. The most important thing to know is where the water shutoff valve is. Most of the time, it is at the water meter outside your front door. In the event of a broken pipe or overflowing appliance, turning off your water supply may prevent a minor problem from becoming a full-fledged disaster. Make sure that all the valves are functional. To do this, turn them on and off a few times. We cannot stress how important this step is for plumbing maintenance. Just as you would need to know where the best possible exit out of your home would be in case of fire, you should know how to turn off your water valves. It is so essential that even experts from Family Affair Moving suggest it to their clients when they move to a new home.
- Winterize Your Plumbing System
Depending on where you live, you may need to consider seasonal plumbing. This is because if you live somewhere where temperatures fluctuate drastically throughout the seasons, the pipes in your system may be under a lot of stress. If you live somewhere it gets very cold during the winters, you need to winterize your system. This is important because issues caused by freezing temperatures may not be obvious at first. At first, you may think that winterizing is redundant. However, even if nothing bad happens this winter, that does not mean that your pipes have not sustained any damage or that their life span was not shortened. This is why, if you do not want to do extensive repairs on your plumbing system later down the line, you should winterize.
These are just some of the few useful plumbing maintenance tips. There are many more things that you can do to maintain your plumbing system. However, it is important to note that you should not do everything by yourself. It is not a good idea to obsess over every little detail. All you need to do is be aware of the potential problems. If you notice something bad, well, that is what professionals are for. That being said, now you know what to look for so you can keep your home in the best possible shape it can be for years to come.
Different ways to expand the lifespan of your plumbing system
Before we start, it is essential to note that the plumbing system is not only a simple set of pipes. It is a full-fledged system made up of interconnected elements, each of which is responsible for its proper functioning. Therefore, if you haven’t so far, make sure to take maintaining your plumbing system seriously and do whatever is necessary to keep it in good condition.
Notice problems before they become too big
While a plumbing system can be affected by numerous issues, most of the more serious ones take time to accumulate. Massive, costly issues may take weeks to take full effect. But, instead of waiting for them to cause damage, you need to learn how to notice problems in their infancy. The common indicators that something is wrong with your plumbing include:
- Unpleasant smells
- A sudden drop in water pressure
- Discoloration of water
- A higher water bill (due to seemingly higher water usage)
- Discoloration of pipes
- Frequent sewer stoppages
- Discoloration in the sheetrock
- Loud noises in the plumbing equipment
As you can see, none of these present significant problems on their own accord. But, they are an excellent reason to check your system and see if there is a bigger problem to prevent. Know that doing so is far cheaper than waiting.
Schedule regular maintenance
Even if there is seemingly nothing wrong with your home, you should still have a plumber check your system every six months. Just because you don’t detect any issues doesn’t mean there are none. And again, it is hard to overstate the importance of discovering plumbing problems while they are relatively small. Some can become worse and worse at such a slow rate that you barely notice. Therefore, do yourself a favor and have a plumber check your home regularly.
Avoid DIY solutions
One of the things you quickly learn when dealing with plumbing is that some projects can be expensive. This is why many homeowners choose to learn the basics of DIY plumbing and tackle smaller issues by themselves. And while this is a good option for minor problems, it isn’t something you should always rely on. There is a good reason why plumbers charge so much; it’s not as easy as it looks, one wrong part could make an entire system fail, it’s not the cleanest of jobs and it’s easy to make a mistake and open a new can of worms. After all, their job requires ample skill and knowledge. So, if there is a plumbing issue and you are not sure how to fix it, don’t shy away from hiring professionals.
Buy plumbing parts in advance
An excellent way to lower the cost of plumbing services and make DIY plumbing easier is to stock up on spare parts. Learn which parts of your system are most prone to issues, and get spare ones in advance. That way, if there is a problem, you won’t have to waste precious time by going to the store and risk them not having the part. Furthermore, you can negotiate a lower cost with your plumber by providing your own spare parts. Just note, that most contractors will not provide a warranty on parts they do not provide (Rayne Plumbing included).
Help your plumber
Just because you are paying for plumbing services doesn’t mean that you should sit back and relax while they do the work. Keep in mind that most plumbers charge you by the hour. So, it can be noticeably cheaper if you help your plumber work faster. Make sure to clear the area where they are supposed to work and clearly outline the issues. If you have larger items in the way, you can store them somewhere else until the plumbing is done.
Learn what you can do
The great thing about helping your plumber is getting tips from them about maintaining your system. Simple issues like leaky faucets or clogged toilets don’t really require professional help. But you need to know what tools to get and how to use them. While working with your plumber, have them explain what they are doing and what you can do to maintain your system. The more you learn, the better.
Be cost-effective with your fixes
Cost-effective and cheap are two entirely different terms. Cheap means that you spend as little money as possible on plumbing repairs. Cost-effective means that you try to get the best value for your money. Whether you are hiring a professional to help you or trying to tackle plumbing on your own, it is important to compare quality vs. cost and make a cost-effective decision. Keep in mind the long-term implications of your fixes as a well-done fix will serve you much better than numerous cheap ones.
If you do what we’ve outlined so far, you’ll effectively expand the lifespan of your plumbing system. Of course, no plumbing system is eternal. This is why, if you plan on buying a new home or building, it is paramount that you check the plumbing as you might need to replace it. But, even if you have a top-notch system, the only way to ensure that it serves you long and well is to maintain it properly.