Good plumbing maintenance is relatively easy, but failing to keep up with it can mean costly repairs. Here are some good ways you can take care of your plumbing, either yourself or with the help of a licensed professional. Take care of your house now and it will beneift you in the future.
Act quickly if your pipes freeze! Shut off the water and open the faucet, enabling it to drain when it thaws. Starting with the faucet, and working your way to the iced-up area, aim a propane torch or hairdryer at the pipe – this will quickly defrost it. You could also wrap the pipe in a heating pad or aim a heat lamp at it, but this will take quite some time. A last resort is to wrap the pipe in rags and pour boiling water over it.
If you want to maintain effective functionality in your spetic tank, pumping it out twice a decade is a really good idea. This will keep sediment from hanging out in your tank and eventually causing there to be a backup in your home. Hiring a professional to pump out your septic tank is costly, but it is far preferable to the damages that could be incurred if the tank becomes backed-up or inoperative.
To winterize a house that will sit unused during the winter months, you must completely drain all of the pipes. After turning off the main water supply, let all of the water drain from the faucets, toilets, and water heater (turn off the gas). Add a quart of antifreeze to sinks and the tub to prevent water from freezing in the drain trap.
Avoid putting grease, fat, and other oils down your drain. As they cool off, they can solidify and effectively create clogs and blockages in your drains. This is most true if you use a garbage disposal, as the fat causes the blades to function slower and they will become less efficient. Throw away oils nowhere near the sink.
If water backs up from one sink to another, it is because the lines are connected. The part of the branch line for one device might be higher than another, but most likely there is also a blockage in the branch line connecting the two devices as well. This blockage must be cleaned.
Find out the plumbing codes in your local area before starting any project. Plumbing codes can vary wildly from area to area and you don’t want to run afoul of the codes. Visit your local building department to find out information or hire a plumber for a day to help you go over your plans and provide advice.
Be sure to regularly clean out the lint trap that is in your dryer. By keeping it clean, you can prevent fires and other problems. You also need to be sure the lint trap is free of holes or small openings that could allow lint to get to your pipes. This could result in other problems in your home to deal with.
Good management and prevention can help you save money on plumbing. Clogs are the most commonly reported problems when it comes to plumbing issues. Hair is a common material in drain clogs. You can prevent hair from getting into your drains by simply installing a device on top of your drain such as a screen, which will trap the hair from getting into the pipes. It’s far simpler to clean the screen than to remove a hair clog in the pipes.
Don’t turn on your sink while using your garbage disposal. Although some say that running water will help keep the disposal running smoothly, this isn’t always the case. The moisture can actually bond the trash to your disposal, harming things further.
Avoid pouring grease or oil down your kitchen sink drain. Grease and oil can build up in your pipes and cause a backup. Instead, wait for the grease or oil to cool and solidify and either throw it away or see if there’s a place to recycle it near your home.
Believe it or not, it is not a very good idea to use a plunger if your toilet is clogged. Plungers just push whatever is stuck deeper into the drain. Instead, it is a better idea to use a closet auger. It will do a better job and is affordable.
When leaving on vacation or leaving your vacation home, be sure to turn off the main water before you leave. If something happens while you are gone you can cause some serious damage from a flooded basement or a broken pipe in the wall that leaks for weeks until you return.
As mentioned above, most periodic plumbing maintenance is simple and straightforward. Most repairs resulting from serious damage to your plumbing are not. Now that you know how to deal with the plubming issues in your home, you should be more prepared to prevent or mitigate the more serious problems that can result.