Some preventive maintenance on your plumbing can be easily performed by homeowners, and some require a professional touch. Here are 7 tips to keep the pipes flowing:
1. Never pour greasy products down the drain. Coconut oil is commonly used as a body moisturizer but should never be used in the shower. Grease from cooking meat should always be allowed to cool down enough to transfer to a different container for disposal in the trash.
2. Insulate pipes in cold parts of the home, like basements, garages or crawl spaces as soon as you can. It helps prevent pipes freezing, but it can also reduce the time you have to wait for hot water and the water stays hotter longer.
3. To prevent uninsulated pipes in older homes freezing during cold snaps, leave the water dribbling lightly throughout the night. If your home’s insulation is inadequate, it may be wise to leave the cabinets open overnight to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
4. If pipes do freeze, do not use a space heater or other form of direct heat on the pipes to try to thaw them. This could lead to cracked pipes and water leaking all over your floor. Instead, open the cabinets and place a space heater nearby, with the heat aimed away from the pipes.
5. Avoid chemical drain cleaners. Especially in older homes with older plumbing. Chemicals in these products will erode the cast-iron drain pipes. Plus, they usually will not remove the entire blockage and the same thing will happen again. When you have a stubborn clog, it’s best to call a plumber to snake the drain to completely remove the gunk and end the cycle of pouring caustic chemicals into drains. Best of all, snaking the drain is much more environmentally-friendly and you’re supporting local business.
6. Install screens over drains to catch chunks of food, hair and other gunk before it ever has a chance to accumulate in your drains. They are cheap, found at any home supply store, can be custom-fitted, easy to install, and even come with decorative patterns to hide a gaping black hole in your beautiful bathtub.
7. Hard water is water that is dense with minerals and it is very rough on all types of plumbing. If you’re unsure whether your area has hard water, you can buy a home test kit or have a professional test it. If you do have hard water, investing in a water softener would be a wise move to save your plumbing unnecessary wear over time. Softening the water will also reduce wear on other things in your home such as water filters, washing machines, toilets, and shower heads.
A Few More Words of Wisdom
- Small problems turn into big ones fast! The effects of water damage are extensive and long-lasting. If you see even a small leak, hire a professional to fix it immediately.
- If there is exposed piping, never use it to hang anything from or put objects near it that may bump into it. Putting unnecessary weight and pressure on pipes could lead to joint and fasteners loosening.
- Learn where your home’s main shut-off valve is located. You can shut-off the water to the entire home when a leak is detected to minimize the possibility of water seeping into floors and walls.