Hot showers, toilet flushing, cooking, washing clothes-all of these things rely on a working plumbing system. Having even one little thing go wrong can certainly throw things off kilter. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep your plumbing in the best condition possible, and here are just seven we thought were worth mentioning.
#1. Watch what you put down the pipes
Clogs are one of the leading causes of plumbing problems despite the fact that many of them are also preventable. If you are putting food scraps or grease down your kitchen sink, it’s only a matter of time until all of that debris builds up and you have a clog on your hands. The same is true whenever you flush anything except toilet paper down your commode.
Don’t put anything down your pipes that shouldn’t be there and you are well on your way to avoiding future plumbing issues. This means thoroughly scraping all dishes before placing them in the sink and disposing of paper towels, feminine hygiene products, etc. in the trash can.
#2. Install screens in the bathroom
Sometimes it just isn’t possible to keep things from going down your drain. Hair in the bathtub is a perfect example of this. A few tiny strands are not problematic on their own; however, they can build up over time and lead to clogs.
The solution? Place a screen over your shower drain to catch those hairs. This is something you will definitely want to do if you regularly shampoo pets in your bathtub. Clean the screen on a regular basis and you should not experience any hair clogs.
#3. Wrap pipes to keep them from freezing
Burst pipes are another common problem many people experience during the winter, but is also one that is easily avoidable. To avoid frozen pipes, wrap them with heat tape or add an extra layer of insulation around them. Leave heating on in rooms with exposed pipes, and open cabinet doors underneath your sink so the area will stay warm. Alternately, you can also leave your faucets dripping just a bit.
Consider a burst pipe alarm for remote areas such as your garage or basement. A burst pipe alarm will sound as soon as a pipe freezes and breaks. That way, you can tend to it right away and can hopefully prevent having flooding issues to deal with.
#4. Flush your water heater at least semi-annually
Lime and calcium deposits can build up inside your water heater, where they can then be transferred throughout your home via your plumbing system. As such, flushing your water heater at least twice each year will help you prevent mineral buildup in the rest of your pipes.
Shut off the breaker to your water heater and connect a garden hose to your tank’s drain valve. Use a long enough hose so that you are able to drain the water outdoors. Once all the water has drained, allow it to fill up again and then repeat the process. Doing so will remove any sediment that has built up along the inside wall of your water heater.
Draining your hot water tank will extend its life and help it operate more efficiently. Many people notice that following a tank flush, their hot water feels warmer even though they haven’t adjusted the temperature settings any.
#5. Reduce your use of harsh chemicals
The chemicals used to clean toilets, bathtubs, and showers all contain harsh chemicals that can cause pipes to break down. As such, you should use them only sparingly-or better yet-switch to natural cleaners instead. Likewise, you should also try chemical drain cleaning products only as a last resort.
White vinegar, baking soda, and boric acid are all ingredients you can use to make your own natural cleaning solutions. Most drain clogs can be removed with a solution of white vinegar and baking soda followed by a few cups of boiling water.
#6. Maintain your septic tank or sewer lines
Your septic or sewer lines can become clogged with debris, particularly after a flood. Tree roots might also grow into your lines and prevent water from passing through as usual. It’s already too late when things start backing up. Don’t wait until your tub won’t drain or your toilet stops flushing to take action. Have your lines snaked out every couple of years or so to keep things flowing freely. If you have a septic tank, you’ll need to have it pumped out every three to five years.
#7. Consider a water softener
Your water supply may contain so-called “nuisance minerals” such as calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium. Why are they called nuisance minerals? Because they can lead to unsightly scales forming on the inside of your pipes or around faucets and other fixtures.
Bathing in hard water is a leading cause of dry, itchy skin, while washing your clothes in it can make them dull, dingy, or stained. So not only will a water softener protect your pipes, but it will also help you avoid certain other issues.
Have Concerns about your Plumbing? We’re Here to Help
Even the best preventative maintenance will not solve all your plumbing problems. When you do notice issues with your pipes, sinks, faucets, or plumbing fixtures, give us a call. At
Plumbers AR Lake Brisbane Northside, we can handle a variety of plumbing issues and look forward to serving you soon.