Plumbing Maintenance Tips

Since it is inside the walls of the house, usually homeowners don’t pay much attention to it. Still, it is responsible for the network of water and sewer pipes that deliver hot and cold water to the house and eliminates its waste on demand. It is the plumbing system and it needs regular attention. Regular maintenance will not only prevent leaks and prolong its life, it will avoid costly repairs. Here are some tips on how to care for the pipes in your house.

Get the tank pumped out every three to five years if you have a septic system. If you have municipal sewers, snake your main sewage cleanout. The process will remove tree roots that inevitably work their way into these pipes—leading to messy sewage backups. You may hire a plumber to do this every few years.

2. Avoid chemical drain-clearing products

The most common home plumbing problem is clogged drains. Commonly homeowners buy chemicals to clear them, not knowing that these products don’t remove the entire clog, so the problem is likely to recur. Therefore, chemicals will be used repeatedly and as a result they can actually erode cast-iron drainpipes.  Every use, they’ll eat away at the pipes a little more and soon, pipes are going to get leaks. Consequently, chemicals do more harm than good.

A better solution is to completely remove the chunk of hair or grease that’s plugging the line using a snake. You can always hire a plumber to snake the drain or try doing it yourself.

Clogs aren’t just troubles, plug-ups are too. Try to avoid them by watching what goes down your drains. You can do so if you keep food scraps out of kitchen drains, hair out of bathroom drains, and anything but sewage and toilet paper out of toilets. Added pressure on your wastepipes is caused by backed-up water puts. As a consequence the force stresses them and shortens their lifespan.

Some useful tips to keep your drains clear are:

Install screens over drains in showers and tubs.

Pull out what hair you can every few weeks to prevent buildups.

Scrape food into the trash before doing dishes, even if you have a disposal.

Never put liquid grease down the drain; pour it into a sealable container to put in the garbage after it cools.

4. Reduce the pressure

Since high water pressure makes the pipe joints, faucets, and appliance valves work harder, it can drastically reduce the life of the plumbing. Also it stresses the pipes, increasing the likelihood of a leak.

To measure the water pressure use a hose bib gauge. All you need is to attach it to an outside spigot and open the line. If the pressure registered is between 40 and 85 psi, consider it normal. If it’s above that range, you need a pressure reducer valve installed. You can do it yourself or hire a plumber.  A low-flow showerhead only affects the amount of water coming out of the showerhead itself; this supply won’t affect pressure in the pipes, so it will not help in the main problem.  

Hard water, water with a high mineral contentusually magnesium or calcium, build up inside the pipes and restrict flow, increasing the pressure. Also they can corrode joints and fittings. As a consequence, it can shorten your plumbing’s lifespan. Anything over 140 parts per million is considered hard water. A telltale sign of hard water is a white buildup on showerheads and faucets.

Installing a water softener is the only effective way to deal with hard water. You will need a plumber to install a traditional, sodium-based softener. Most use sodium to counteract the minerals in your water, but new electronic softeners use electromagnetic pulses to dissolve minerals, and have the advantage of not adding sodium to your water.

Advantages are not only on pipes since it will reduce stress that can occur when those particles clog faucet filters. It will also give cleaner drinking water by removing particulates and chlorine.

Other ways to avoid trouble

• Locate where your home’s main water shut off valve is. When there’s ever a leak, you can go straight there and quickly turn off the water to the entire house.
• To prevent frozen water from cracking the pipes and causing a flood, remove hoses from outdoor spigots in winter.
• To avoid frozen pipes, add pipe insulation to the plumbing in garages, basements,crawl spaces and other cold parts of your house.
• Exposed pipes should never be used as a hanger rod for laundry. Doing so can loosen joints and fasteners.
• Fix problems quickly, no matter how small they seem. Even minor leaks can make pipes corrode more quickly, and significant water damage or mold can be caused.