Top 6 Plumbing Maintenance Tips for the Home
Plumbing emergencies seem to come at the worst times. As we head into the holiday season, you may be familiar with Brown Friday. The day known to most Americans as Black Friday has a different moniker for plumbers. Due to the inordinate amount of plumbing service calls the day after Thanksgiving (normally plumbers’ busiest day of the year), most plumbers refer to this day as Brown Friday for obvious reasons.
But it’s not just clogged toilets you have to worry about. Your faucet may leak while you’re cleaning your pots and pans. Your water heater may stop supplying hot water to your fixtures. Your garbage disposal and drains may get clogged and backed up. And while we cannot avoid emergencies forever, we can at least lessen their occurrence through regular maintenance and basic plumbing tips.
If you want to enjoy your days free from plumbing catastrophes, follow these 10 plumbing maintenance advice from the pros.
6 Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Your Home
Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts
Be careful what you put down the garbage disposal! Never ever pour fat, oil, or grease (FOG) down any drain. When FOG cools down, it will solidify and block the pipes. Additionally, never pour large amounts of anything down the garburator—feed the monster slowly. If you are having guests over, don’t let them use the garbage disposal.
Never put any of these items down your garbage disposal:
- Fat, Grease, and Oil
- Potato Peels
- Banana Peels
- Pasta and Rice
- Coffee Grounds
- Egg Shells
- Stringy Vegetables
- Bones and Pits
- Chicken Skin
- Bleach, Drano or Other Harsh Chemicals
These items may jam up and damage your unit.
When using your garbage disposal systems, run cold water and leave it on for a few seconds before grinding stuff. After turning the disposal off, leave the tap running for an extra 10-15 seconds. Doing so will help flush waste substances down the drain.
Drain Screen Magic
Mesh screens and drain strainers for your bathroom and kitchen will prevent the entry of soap scum, debris, hair and other substances that can quickly clog your pipes. Make sure you clean your sink stoppers and drain screens regularly. This is probably the simplest and most effective way to prevent drain clogs.
Washing Machine Woes
The washing machine is an indispensable plumbing appliance that makes your daily life convenient. To prevent clogs in your main drain, make sure you put a drain hose filter/lint trap or tie pantyhose at the end of the washer’s drain hose. These things will allow the dirty water to pass through, but catches the lint and dirt that can clog your drain and pipes.
Check the supply lines/hoses once a month to ensure they are not kinked or leaking. Most of the time you can fix these issues yourself with a pair of adjustable pliers if it’s caught early. Sometimes all you need to do is install new hose washers. If you need to replace the hose itself, you can find replacement hoses at your local home improvement store. Make sure you turn the water supply off if you have a leak. If you have a major leak, however, it’s best to call an expert to avoid flooding and additional major damage.
Cotton balls, bandages, Q-tips, diapers, tampons, wet wipes, cigarette butts and even facial scrub pads and paper towels should NEVER get flushed down the toilet. These things will totally block the pipelines.
The only things you should ever flush down your toilet are HUMAN WASTE and TOILET PAPER. Nothing else!
Sometimes, toilet paper can cause clogs. Try using thinner toilet paper or not as much if this is a problem. If you are a guest at someone’s house, we recommend a courtesy flush because you never know how weak or strong their flush is. It also helps to reduce the smell.
Insufficient water in the toilet bowl can also cause problems. Learn how to adjust the water level in your toilet bowl.
If your toilet is leaking from the tank to the bowl, you may have a problem with the flapper, chain, or ball float. To find out if you have a toilet leak, add a few drops of food dye to the water in the tank and leave for an hour. If the water in the bowl has changed color when you come back, you have a leak. Learn how to detect plumbing leaks at home and how to fix a running toilet.
Learn tips for National Toilet Rank Repair Month.
Water Heater Maintenance
Keep your water heater working properly and efficiently with these tips:
- When your water heater stops working or when you notice a leak, turn the supply line off to prevent further damage.
- Insulate your water heater tank and its supply pipes to increase its efficiency.
- Turn the water heater temperature down from the standard 140 degrees F to a safer and more energy-efficient 120 degrees F. Learn how to adjust water heater temperature.
- Periodically drain your water heater to remove built-up sediment in the tank.
- Schedule annual plumbing maintenance with a professional. They will inspect your water heater pipes, connections, and pressure-relief valves.
- Learn more water heater maintenance.
Clean and Clear Drains
Slow drains signify a budding clog. Address the problem right away by cleaning the drains. But remember, don’t use drain cleaners with harsh chemical content. You can go for good old baking soda and vinegar instead. Or use Bio-Clean, our recommended products for clearing slow and clogged drains. Learn more drain cleaning solutions.
The key to a long-living and healthy home is preventative maintenance. Call Gold Medal Service for professional plumbing solutions. Join our Total Care Club for annual plumbing, electrical, and HVAC maintenance plans.
Reach a live, friendly representative at 1-877-803-0511 (Available 24/7).