As a homeowner, understanding the basics of plumbing can be a major advantage. While a plumber can be hired to handle many of the tougher jobs and responsibilities, being able to take care of basic maintenance and small plumbing issues can save you quite a bit of money over the long term. It can also help to prevent many of the larger problems from occurring.
To help you develop a better understanding of some of the basics, let’s take a look at some plumbing tips that you, as a homeowner, should know.
#1 – Use Your Head…And Common Sense
One of the most frustrating things for many plumbers is the fact that a lot of plumbing related issues are caused by homeowners not using common sense. Overall, you should always err on the side of caution when it comes to what you put down the drain. Unless it is liquid or small, throw it in the garbage can instead.
#2 – Have Professional Maintenance Performed Once Per Year
If you want to extend the life of your appliances, pipes, and other plumbing based equipment throughout your home, having professional maintenance performed at least once per year is essential. Doing so can help prevent the need for repairs in the future while also providing you with the peace of mind that the plumbing in your home is in good working order.
In most states, the cost of professional plumbing maintenance is somewhere between $50-$100. This is well worth it when you think about the potential of having water heater or septic tank problems that could end up costing you thousands of dollars to repair or replace.
#3 – Use Strainers in Your Sinks, Tubs, and Showers
One of the most common reasons for plumbing issues is due to the fact that a lot of homeowners do not have strainers in their sinks, tubs, and showers. These strainers can help to prevent things like hair, large pieces of residue, or food particles from clogging your drain.
If you do not have strainers, it is a good idea to purchase one for every area of your home where water is flowing into a drain. You will also want to get in the habit of cleaning the strainers at least once per week to prevent drain buildup.
#4 – Take Care of Your Dishwasher
When dishwashers malfunction, it can cause major leaking issues and can sometimes even lead to flooding in your kitchen. For this reason, it is important that you take care of your dishwasher as much as possible. One of the easiest things you can do is to ensure you are rinsing off plates, bowls, utensils, and cups before they are put into the dishwasher.
Another thing that can help with dishwasher maintenance is to run a cleaner through it at least once a month. It should be noted that one of the most common signs of repairs being needed with your dishwasher is that water begins to build up inside of it.
#5 – Ensure Outdoor Plumbing Is in Line
While most homeowners have a fairly solid gauge of what is necessary to maintain plumbing indoors, most are unaware of what is required of them on the outside. Most of the outside maintenance is quite simple, although it is necessary.
The most important thing for the outdoors is that drains, gutters, and downspouts are all free of debris and leaves. You will also want to be sure that your outdoor faucets are properly insulated to prevent cracking due to freezing pipes.
#6 – Run Hot Water Down Sinks Once a Week
Running hot water down the sinks in your home will help to ensure that your drains remain free flowing and small pieces of residue or hairs are not holding up the flow of water. Some plumbers even suggest that you run your dishwasher without anything in it on a weekly basis for the same reasons.
#7 – Use the Garbage Disposal Correctly
Many homeowners incorrectly believe that their garbage disposal can handle just about everything. This misconception generally comes about because they have gotten away with putting large food items down there in the past. As time goes on, however, the blades of the disposal begin to dull, preventing food items from breaking down.
This then leads to clogged sinks and drains, which are difficult to fix without hiring professional help. Just as with the first tip on this list, erring on the side of caution and leaving your garbage disposal for only small amounts of food residue will help prevent major issues from coming up.
#8 – Educate Your Children About Potential Plumbing Issues
Having children significantly raises the likelihood that you will experience some plumbing issues during your time as a homeowner. Whether it be attempting to flush underwear down the toilet or throwing gum down the sink, there are a variety of different problems that you can run into.
One of the best ways to help decrease the potential for children-caused plumbing problems is to educate them about potential plumbing issues. Let them know that only toilet paper should be flushed and that they should let you know immediately if they ever see something out of the ordinary with the toilet, sink, shower, etc.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, there is no way that you can completely ensure that you will never experience plumbing issues in your home. Following through with the tips outlined throughout this article, however, will provide you with a much better chance to protect your home, and wallet, from the many headaches caused by plumbing problems.
Be sure to get in touch with a locally trusted plumber to perform your yearly maintenance for you. They will be able to further educate you on the steps that are necessary for proper maintenance and can also serve as your go-to professional when actual repairs are required. Many professionals have yearly plans that enable you to receive significant discounts on maintenance packages.