Prevent Plumbing Catastrophes with These Simple Checks

Not knowing which plumber to call can be a frightening experience, but if you’ve had water damage, the bill is even worse to deal with. But you’re a smart, independent, capable homeowner. Learn the tips and tricks to prevent most plumbing disasters by doing a simple maintenance check 1-2 times a year. Anyone can do these checks, and it will help prevent some of the most common plumbing problems.

Each home’s plumbing system needs regular maintenance and care in order to function properly. Don’t fall victim to problems you could have easily avoided. Save yourself time, money, and the headache that comes with unchecked leaks and flooding. After all, the best way to deal with major plumbing issues is preventing them altogether.

Take a Closer Look

Think about all the places you use water in your home. You have the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room, the sprinkler system, and more. The plumbing system is an integral part of any house, so it needs regular care and attention.

To make regular plumbing checks on your home, start with a basic visual inspection of the whole system. Focus on each place that has exposed pipes. In these areas, keep an eye out for:

  • Wet spots, dry rot, or discoloration
  • Corrosion signaled by greenish or orange stains
  • Rust or breakage in your toilet tank
  • Loose toilet connections, including where it meets the floor
  • Cracked or bubbling flooring, as this signals water pooling beneath
  • Mildew: it’s usually a sign of water going where it shouldn’t
  • Old or weakened caulking
  • Slow working appliance drains
  • Clogged or leaking washing machine hoses

These are the first things to check if you suspect there is a problem, so keep your eyes open. Even if everything seems to be going fine, it’s never a bad idea to double-check for these tell-tale signs of plumbing issue.

After you complete this visual check, you’ll need some tools to deal with any potential issues. You can accomplish a lot with just a plunger, pipe wrench, and a sewer snake.

Test Each System

Before you test anything, make sure you know exactly where to locate shut off valves to prevent overflow. One of the first things any amateur plumber should be aware of is how to turn the water off for a specified area. If the switch is difficult to locate, be sure to store any necessary tools nearby, such as a flashlight, wrench, or key.

In order to “test” each system, conduct the following checks:

  • Flush toilets and track the time it takes as well as the amount of water replenishing the bowl
  • Turn faucet handles completely off to watch for signs of leaks
  • Test drainage speed of appliances; if the drain bubbles or makes noise, it indicates a bigger issue
  • See how much your toilet moves. If you can move the whole toilet, it needs a new seal
  • Push on your bathroom and laundry room walls to see if there is weakness caused by leaking

Although simple tests, many of the solutions to these problems are more complex. If you think you have long-term leaks or water damage, call a plumber from Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating immediately.

Preventative Tips

The best way to prevent frozen pipes is to have the appropriate amount of insulation. Clear any standing water before a freeze, and install insulating caps on outdoor fixtures. If you’re still worried, you can always open cabinets beneath the bathroom and kitchen sinks to maintain a steady flow of warm air around the pipes.

Don’t pour cooking grease (or any type of grease) down the drain, as it will cool and harden inside your pipes. Instead, store it in a disposable container until it has cooled, then dispose of it appropirately.

Use drain screens for your kitchen sink, bathtub, and shower to save you from countless clogged drains. It might not be a pleasant task to empty the hair catch, but it’s much easier than fishing down the drain for the cause of a blockage.

Lastly, sprinkle about 60 ml of baking soda into your drains every month. After sprinkling the baking soda in your drains, rinse with just enough warm water to wash the powder away. Then pour about 240 ml of white vinegar down. Let the solution stand overnight to help dissolve scum buildup. Later, flush with hot water to get rid of the residue.

These simple steps can help you catch problems before for they become costly or out of control. For more information, be sure to check out the rest of our blogs for more money savers or call our friendly staff at Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating!

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