Becoming a homeowner is one of the happiest and most empowering things you can achieve in life. But as the old comic book says with great comes great responsibility, and plumbing maintenance definitely falls under this umbrella.
The most important thing to remember in this regard is to not let plumbing issues catch you with your hands down. Only a little effort put into preventive care can go a long way in keeping your home’s plumbing system in major-league shape.
Let us take a look then at a couple of practical plumbing maintenance tips tailored to new homeowners who may be new to the world of plumbing.
Locate and Know Your Main Water Shut-Off Valve
First things first, get acquainted with your home’s main water shut-off valve. This valve controls the water supply to your entire house so you see why this is one of the most powerful and useful plumbing tips. In case of a plumbing emergency, like a burst pipe, you’ll want to know how to turn off the water quickly to prevent extensive damage. Typically, you’ll find this valve in the basement, crawl space, or near your water meter. Familiarize yourself with its location and operation.
Check for Leaks Regularly
Even minor leaks can lead to major problems if left unaddressed. Make it a habit to inspect for leaks regularly. Look under sinks, around toilets, and near appliances that use water, such as your dishwasher and washing machine. If you notice any drips or pooling water, address the issue promptly. Often, a leaking faucet or a worn-out washer can be fixed with simple DIY solutions, saving you money on water bills and potential repairs.
Insulate Your Pipes
In colder regions of Australia, freezing temperatures can pose a threat to your plumbing. When water freezes inside pipes, it can cause them to burst. To prevent this, insulate your pipes, especially those exposed to the cold. You can find pipe insulation at hardware stores, and it’s relatively easy to install yourself. This small investment can save you from the headache and expense of dealing with burst pipes during winter.
Additionally, it may be time to consider simply installing new hot water systems. No matter how much care you put into pipes, insulation, and maintenance, sometimes, the amount of care you need to put into them simply outweighs the results you get in the end. Starting from scratch with a new central unit doesn’t seem like a bad way to address this problem.
Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners may seem like a quick fix for clogged drains, but they can wreak real havoc on your plumbing network if used frequently, corroding the pipes and causing long-term damage. Instead, opt for safer alternatives like a plunger or a drain snake to clear minor blockages. If the problem persists, consider calling a professional plumber to avoid exacerbating the issue.
Be Mindful of What You Flush
Toilets are not trash cans, and flushing the wrong items down can lead to clogs and sewer backups. Remind yourself and your household members only to flush toilet paper and human waste. Avoid flushing items like paper towels, wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, and dental floss, which can cause blockages in your plumbing system. Proper disposal of these items in waste bins can save you from costly plumbing repairs.
Schedule Regular Water Heater Maintenance
Your water heater plays a crucial role in your daily life, providing hot water for showers, baths, and cleaning. To ensure it continues to function efficiently, schedule regular maintenance. Flushing your water heater at least once a year can cut sediment buildup at its very root, improving its performance and extending its lifespan. If you’re not comfortable relying on your DIY resources, consider hiring a professional plumber to perform the maintenance.
Also, be sure to dial back your water heater’s thermostat to about 120°F (49°C) to effectively stop scalding and cut energy waste. An insulated water heater unit and the first few feet of hot and cold pipes will ease out the heat loss, and save you a healthy amount of money along the way.
Know When to Call a Professional
While some plumbing issues can be tackled by homeowners with a DIY spirit, there are times when it’s best to call in a professional plumber. If you encounter complex problems like a sewer line blockage, significant leaks, or issues with your water heater or main water line, don’t hesitate to seek expert assistance. Attempting major repairs without the necessary skills and tools can lead to costly damage.
Moreover, it’s an incredibly advisable practice to schedule an annual plumbing inspection with a qualified plumbing pro. This proactive approach can identify small issues before they blow out of proportion into major problems that cost a fortune to be solved.
So, we hope these few suggestions will make your homeownership challenges a bit easier. Well, at least in terms of managing the plumbing network. For you as a new owner, taking care of your plumbing system is a vital part of saving your property from all sorts of disasters. By following these seven tips we outlined for you above, you’ll not only save money on repairs but also ensure that your plumbing serves you well as the years keep passing by. Don’t wait for a plumbing emergency to strike; start implementing these tips today and you will surely keep larger problems at bay.