Your home’s plumbing is something that’s easy to take for granted until something goes wrong—leaky pipes, clogged water lines and more interrupt daily life, cause water damage in your house and even lead to health problems. Worse, repairs are often costly, as much as $500-800. The best way to avoid the stress and financial burden involved is to stay on top of maintenance. Properly cared for, water pipes and fixtures can last for years. Here are a few ways to ensure that.
Schedule Inspections Regularly
Initiative is everything in effective maintenance. Plumbing issues like leaks or clogs are much easier to handle early on before they have a chance to worsen. The best way to catch these problems when they’re more manageable is to keep a regular schedule for inspections and maintenance. This includes both DIY work, such as checking faucets, toilets and showerheads for leaks, and professional inspections for septic tanks, underground water lines, the valve maintenance system, etc. Most importantly, if you do find a problem, don’t hesitate to address it.
Monitor Water Usage
A good way to diagnose plumbing problems is to keep track of your household water usage. This can be done by checking monthly utility bills or by reading and recording your house’s water meter. Unexpected spikes in water usage often indicate leaks or burst pipes, serving as a warning. If you can’t account for the increased usage on your bill, that’s a sign that you should track down a leak.
Watch What You Flush
Clogged wastepipes and overfull septic tanks suffer increased water pressure, putting them at risk of bursting. To keep them clear, it’s vital that you manage what goes down the drain.
- Don’t use toilets to dispose of anything beyond sewage and toilet paper. Paper towels and sanitary wipes, in particular, are risk factors for backing up the toilet.
- Use drain screens in showers and tubs to prevent hair from building up in the drain. If necessary, pull out whatever hair you can every few weeks.
- Dispose of food scraps in the trash, not the kitchen sink. This is especially important for fats, oils and greases, as those are prone to settling in pipes and sewer lines.
- Avoid using chemical drain cleaners, as they are caustic and may damage pipes. When possible, hire a plumber to snake the drain, or get a pipe snake yourself.
Being smart about how you use and maintain your residential plumbing can save you greatly in the long run.