Preventing Plumbing Disasters: Essential Maintenance Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Preventing Plumbing Disasters: Essential Maintenance Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

It’s easy to overlook just how much we all rely on functioning plumbing in our homes. Turning on faucets for fresh water, flushing toilets, and accessing hot showers are all just normal parts of day-to-day existence. But when plumbing goes wrong, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s something we can take for granted.

Fixing plumbing issues can, of course, be pretty costly. This is particularly difficult as we get older and resources can be a bit tighter. Therefore maintaining the system is one of the best ways to both keep the water running and minimize the financial toll of repairs. Thankfully, you can do many maintenance procedures yourself or with the help of a handyman. 

Care For Your Drains

Your drains are the parts of your plumbing systems that are most directly affected by you and anyone else in your home. Without a little regular care and maintenance, problems can easily arise here. The good news is that this is a relatively simple maintenance project.

Firstly, regularly check for signs that your drains need to be cleaned. Dirt and grease can build up over time and cause serious blockages. If water in your sink or bath is running away too slowly, this can indicate obstructions. This can be problematic if you have a walk-in or transition tub, as it means you have to wait longer to exit. Pungent odors can also suggest that organic matter is backed up and rotting somewhere down the line.

If these signs are present in your kitchen, shower, or bath, you, a family member, or your handyman inspect further by removing the drain cover and shining a flashlight inside. This will show nearby clogs you can remove with your fingers or a hook.

If you can’t see the blockage, the issue may be further down the system. Small blocks may be resolved by carefully pouring boiling water down the drain. If you’re still having problems, you may need to have a handyman use a power auger to unblock more challenging materials.

Wherever possible, it’s wise to take preventative measures. If hair often gets caught in the drain, installing a hair catcher is a simple solution. You may be able to install a garbage disposal in your kitchen if you don’t already have one and your drains are clogged due to food. HandyPro services can assist with installing a wide range of plumbing fixtures to help here.

Be Vigilant of Leaks

Leaks are a plumbing problem that can seriously impact your home. They can cause your water costs to skyrocket, damage your walls and ceiling, and even lead to flooding. This also creates an ideal environment for mold, which can be hazardous to your health. Therefore, one of the most important maintenance steps is to be vigilant of potential leaks.

Some common things to check and address include:

  • Running toilet: If your toilet is running for a while after flushing, this could indicate a leak caused by a faulty flapper. This is a relatively cheap replacement, as it’s just a rubber part that you can get from most hardware stores.
  • Drop in water pressure: If water isn’t running as powerfully as it used to from your faucets or shower, this could suggest a leaky pipe. You can use the water meter to check this. If your meter is in an area of the home you find difficult to access, your handyman or can perform this. Essentially, this involves taking a meter reading, shutting off your water supply, and checking the meter again after a couple of hours. If the reading has changed, this could indicate a leak.

While you might be able to take care of simple toilet and faucet leaks cheaply, this isn’t usually the case with major pipe leaks. You need to address these quickly, but it’s equally vital to take a mindful financial approach to paying for them if you don’t have ready cash. In some instances, using a credit card can be worthwhile, particularly if your provider offers rewards for payments related to bills and home improvements. If you need expensive upgrades, you may also get purchase protection for these. However, it is always best to pay the balance off in full, and you should avoid using your card to get a cash advance.

Adapt to the Climate

Seasonal changes are often overlooked as causes of potential plumbing disasters. Freezing can lead to cracks in pipes, while the warmer months might see your system become infested with pests. It’s worth arranging a few key maintenance procedures that protect your plumbing from the weather. 

In the winter

  • Shut off outdoor faucets and allow any excess water to drain out. This prevents the pipes from freezing.
  • Set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees to keep the plumbing within the home warm, mitigating freezing. 
  • If you experience particularly low temperatures, consider hiring a handyman to upgrade your pipe insulation.

In the summer

  • Extreme heat can cause pipes to expand, leading to leaks. You or your handyman can insulate your pipes to minimize exposure to heat and sun.
  • Regularly clean out air conditioning drains with bleach. Any lingering moisture can cause mold and mildew to breed in your plumbing system, leading to blocks, leaks, and deterioration.

Keep Your Plumbing in Check

There’s only a certain amount of maintenance and prevention you can achieve without plumbing expertise, as these can be quite complex systems. Experts recommend that you get inspections from a professional plumber every 2 years. They’ll have insights into more subtle signs of problems and can more easily access internal plumbing. They can advise you of areas you’ll need to address or upgrade before potential problems become severe.

Many plumbing maintenance tasks you can take care of personally or with help from a handyman, from addressing blockages to preventing seasonal damage. Nevertheless, remember that for more complex issues, hiring a plumber can be more practical and cost-effective. 

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