It is all too easy not to think about your home plumbing until there is a problem; however, you can reduce your chances of experiencing an inconvenient and costly plumbing issue by performing a little routine maintenance a couple of times a year.
The following are a few steps that you can take to keep your plumbing system working properly:
• Check all visible pipes for signs of leaks or corrosion, such as watermarks, puddles, and stains.
• While you are checking each fixture, be sure to locate and test the water supply shut-off valve.
• Check for hidden water leaks. To do this, read your water meter and then refrain from using any water for two hours. If your meter reading is different at the end of the two hours, you have a leak.
• Clean the sediment from your faucet aerators and showerheads by soaking them overnight in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
• Clean all bathroom and kitchen drains with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. You should avoid using commercial chemical drain cleaners since these can actually damage your pipes.
• Test the speed of all of your drains. If you notice gurgling or bubbles or if the water drains slowly, you should contact a plumber to check for clogs or venting problems.
• Test your toilets for leaks. You can do this by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tank. Check the water in the bowl in approximately 30 minutes. If the water changes color, you have a leak.
• Remove the tank lids from your toilets so that you can inspect the fixtures inside for any rusted, broken, missing, or deteriorated parts.
• Make sure that your toilets do not rock or move when you give them a nudge. If they move, try tightening the bolts at the base without using too much force. If the toilet still moves, you should have a plumber replace the flange.
• Check around the base of your toilets for signs of mold, mildew, stains, or cracked tiles. These typically indicate a leak.
• Replace any caulking that may be missing from around your sinks, tubs, and toilets.
• Add some water to any infrequently used drains by pouring in a gallon of water or allowing the water to run for a couple of minutes. This will help fill the trap and prevent sewer odors from entering your home.
• Contact a plumbing professional to flush your water heater and replace the anode road.
• Check any water-using appliances, such as your dishwasher, washing machine, and refrigerator, for any signs of cracked or brittle hoses.
• Test your outdoor spigots to make sure that they do not leak.
• If you have a lawn irrigation system, be sure to inspect and clean the sprinkler heads to ensure that they are working properly.
• Check exterior plumbing vents to make sure that they are free of debris.
• Have a plumbing professional inspect your septic system or sewer main on an annual basis.
If you are not comfortable inspecting your plumbing system, your best option is to contact a professional plumbing service. A licensed plumber will have the knowledge and expertise to diagnose and safely correct any issues without creating an even bigger problem.
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.