No matter how careful and diligent you are, your plumbing system can still fail to meet all of your needs. It’s a machine, after all. And like any other machine, if it isn’t maintained correctly, it may not last as long as it should or function as well as it could. That said, to keep it in good working condition, routine maintenance is a must.
You’ve probably heard that plumbing is vital, but you’re not sure why. This ultimate guide will teach you the fundamentals of maintaining your home’s plumbing system. Read on.
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In addition to keeping your home running smoothly and looking nice, plumbing is crucial for keeping you safe. If your plumbing fails, it may be terrible for your home, leaving you without water or fuel to heat and cool it.
Plumbing problems can happen any time, so it’s best to be prepared by regularly performing the necessary maintenance. Some homeowners try to do all their maintenance work by themselves. If this interests you, there are numerous online tutorials available that can demonstrate some quick fixes for you to follow. Here are some easy steps you can take to ensure that your plumbing remains in good condition throughout the year:
Inspect Your Plumbing Before Winter
Before winter sets in, you must ensure your plumbing is ready for the cold weather. Your inspection should include the following methods:
- Check for any leaks: This is evident, but it’s vital to remember that even minor leaks can accumulate over time. Check all faucets and toilets for leaks and drips, especially if you have an older home. If any are discovered, contact a plumber immediately since this problem could worsen during winter.
- Check your water heater: While most people think of checking their heating systems before winter begins, they frequently overlook their water heater until they need to take warm showers or baths. To avoid this, ensure your water heater is in good working condition.
It would be best if you started by testing its temperature manually before leaving it plugged in overnight. If it doesn’t reach at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit after 24 hours, consider engaging the services of a professional plumber to fix it. In addition, you should also check for a leaky tank or a clogged heating element. If there are no other issues with your water heater, consider covering it with an insulating blanket to keep it warm during the night.
Keep A Maintenance Checklist
A maintenance checklist is an excellent way to stay on top of your plumbing system’s needs. A list could help you remember what needs to be done and keep it handy for future reference.
To create an effective checklist, you must ensure that you have all the essential tools for each task and sort them in order of importance, so they are readily accessible. Don’t forget to keep emergency contact information ready; this can save time if something goes wrong.
In addition to using a checklist, you can also make notes on your phone or tablet. This will assist you in remembering details and keeping track of what needs to be done. Consider filming the process if the assignment has numerous steps, just in case you need to go back and watch it again.
Keep The Right Tools
You should always have a few essential tools to handle plumbing emergencies. The most common are:
- Plunger: This is useful for minor clogs in sinks, tubs, and toilets. If you’re dealing with more significant issues, use the plumber’s snake below.
- Plumber’s snake: Instead of plunging or using drain cleaners, this tool can help you clear blockages that aren’t easily accessible, such as tree roots creeping into your pipes outside your home. It’s also handy if you have a leak somewhere along your water line that isn’t visible but must be repaired quickly before it causes permanent damage.
- Flathead screwdriver: This tool is helpful for opening the drain cover on your sink or tub, giving you access to the pipe below. You can also use it to dislodge any debris trapped by turning it side-to-side.
- Adjustable wrench: With an adjustable wrench, you won’t have to worry about having multiple wrenches for loosening or tightening different bolt and nut sizes.
- Adjustable plumbing pliers: This is another valuable tool to have. It also works well when clamping, pulling, and gripping various pipes, bolts, and nuts.
There are numerous other useful plumbing tools to consider, but the most essential thing is to figure out what works best for your particular plumbing system. For further information, consult with a local hardware store or professional.
Clean Your Drains Regularly
If you have a clogged toilet, you must diagnose the problem before you begin plunging. If there is water in the bowl that will not flush, pour warm water down the drain to see if that helps. If that doesn’t work, try using a plunger. A plunger is an excellent tool for unclogging drains. It is also reasonably priced and may be used in the bathtub or sink.
If you have a drain clogged with hair, use a snake tool to remove it before using the plunger.
For sinks and tub drains, use baking soda and vinegar to clean them out at least once a month. However, you can do this more frequently if you notice they’re starting to get clogged. If you don’t want the pungent smell of vinegar to linger for long periods, you can alternatively try pouring boiling water down these drains.
Cover Your Pipes During Summer
Covering your pipes means keeping them out of the sun. A great way to do this is with a heat shield, which is essentially a long tube that protects pipes from direct sunlight.
Heat shields are made from metal or can be installed as insulation around water heaters, but you can also use pipe sleeves for smaller pipes like those in your bathroom. Pipe sleeves come in different sizes and can fit over multiple pipe diameters at once—they’re even available with the option of adding insulation.
Heat tape and reflective paint are two other ways to protect your pipes during the summer months—be sure to read about how these methods work before investing in any products.
Using cold water for laundry is one method to increase the efficiency of your plumbing system and save money on energy costs. Hot water will not clean your clothes any better than cold water. In reality, if you’re not careful about how much or what fabrics you wash in hot water, it can cause damage, such as shrinking or burning holes in your clothes.
Cold-water washing also positively impacts the environment: it saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from electricity production. In addition to being better for the environment, using cold water saves money because it’s less expensive than using warm or hot water.
Avoid Using Too Much Toilet Paper
One of the most common mistakes individuals make in the bathroom is using too much toilet paper. It can cause problems with the pipes and clog them, causing you a great deal of stress. The easiest way to avoid this issue is to use only two sheets at a time instead of three or four as many people do. You should also consider switching from regular toilet paper to something that uses less material, like thicker wipes or super-absorbent pads made from bamboo fibers. These products are just as good at cleansing your behind, but they are designed to conserve paper by disintegrating into tiny bits when flushed.
If you have children who need help wiping themselves after using the toilet, then it’s essential to teach them how to use toilet paper during each visit so that none are left behind during an accidental flush cycle.
Get A Plumber
For many people, plumbing is a tedious and intimidating thing. Plumbing may cause stress from the moment you notice your first leak to when your pipes start making strange noises in the middle of the night. But don’t worry! Your pipes don’t have to be an unpleasant or worrisome part of your life. You may always hire a qualified plumber to perform routine maintenance.
Routine maintenance ensures that if something is wrong with your system, it will be repaired immediately before it creates significant issues, such as flooding or burst pipes. It also guarantees that everything functions as optimally as possible at all times. Doing so prevents potential problems from arising just because things were not appropriately maintained when they should’ve been.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations on taking your first steps toward becoming a well-informed homeowner. At the end of the day, knowing how to take care of your home’s plumbing system is one of the most critical things a homeowner can do.
Plumbing problems can be expensive and time-consuming to fix, so it’s worth taking some time out of your day to ensure its maintenance so that everything stays in tip-top shape.