Stay ahead of the plumbing game with these tips on protecting your home's plumbing system.
We tend to give our home’s plumbing system little attention until something goes wrong. Even the smallest plumbing issue can put several of your day-to-day activities on hold, like laundry and doing the dishes. Fortunately, there are several tips you can put into action to protect your home’s plumbing. Regular plumbing maintenance and periodically draining the water heater are two great tips for keeping your home’s plumbing in tip-top shape.
Educate Your Family
One of the simplest ways to protect your home’s plumbing is to educate yourself on what you shouldn’t flush. While city sewers are capable of accepting a range of debris, your home is not. Common that will clog your pipes if you flush them include:
- Cotton balls
- Cigarette butts
- Paper towels
- Feminine products
To make things easy, make a it rule to only flush toilet paper. It’s also important to avoid putting animal fats and cooking grease down drains.
Insulate Your Pipes
During colder weather, the pipes in your basement and crawl spaces are prone to freezing and cracking. This is especially common if your pipes are copper. A busted water pipe can lead to major water damage and costly repair bills. To prevent this, consider insulating your pipes.
Insulating sleeves are helpful for preventing frozen pipes. They also minimize condensation, which is crucial to mitigating decay. However, before you opt to insulate your plumbing, it’s important to determine the material of your pipes. If you have copper pipes, insulation will be of the utmost value. Plastic pipes are well-known for their reliable insulation value, meaning you probably don’t need to insulate them.
Clean the Faucet Aerators
Once a month, go around the house and take the mesh tip off of each faucet. This mesh tip is known as an aerator. You need to clean it regularly to prevent a blockage of water.
Clean the Filter
If you have a water softener system or an ice maker, it’s important to clean their filters. Not only does this make the water healthier, but it greatly protects your home’s pipes. You can find instructions in the manufacturer’s manual explaining the best way to clean the filters.
Be Careful With Garbage Disposals
Garbage disposals are super helpful in getting rid of waste. However, they can quickly clog your kitchen’s pipes. If your home’s plumbing connects to a septic tank, it’s best to use the garbage disposal as little as possible. This minimizes the possibility of the septic tank backing up.
Drain the Water Heater
Over time, sediment will build up inside the water heater tank. Even a small amount of sediment can hinder the functionality of this appliance.
To keep this from happening, drain the water heater on a regular basis. Because it can be unsafe to drain the water heater on your own, it’s best to leave this in the hands of a professional plumber. You can easily ask your plumber to drain the water heater during a maintenance session.
Prepare the Plumbing for Vacations
If you’re going on vacation, you’ll need to take certain steps to protect your home’s plumbing while you’re away. You can start with shutting off the home’s main water supply. This ensures that you won’t come home to a major water leak or flooding. You’ll also want to shut off the hot water heater. If you don’t, this appliance can overheat if it doesn’t have the proper water supply.
Lastly, check the flapper valves on all toilets to make sure they’re functioning properly. If one of them isn’t, you run the risk of the toilet running the entire time you’re on vacation, which is counteractive if you’re trying to reduce your water usage.