As any homeowner who has previously dealt with water damage and leaks can tell you, fixing and repairing the damage can be a significant expense. Water damage can result from simple issues—such as a weak or broken dishwasher seal—to complex ones, including burst water mains and leaking pipes. You’ll need to bring in a local plumber to both fix the issue and clean up the damage. Thankfully, most plumbing problems can be avoided with proper maintenance and care. In this article, we’ll review six guidelines to help you maintain a crisis-free plumbing system.
1. Avoid clogs
A sewer line clog can really cause trouble for your home. Most sewer lines are not designed to carry non-organic materials—such as so-called “flushable” wipes, hygiene products, and more—that you may try to flush down the toilet. Clogs can also be caused by putting certain types of food waste, including oils, grease, eggshells, uncooked rice, and more, down the kitchen sink drain. These materials tend to get stuck deep within the line, where they eventually cause a backup.
2. Be aware of using harsh cleaners
Most homeowners resort to using store bought chemical drain cleaners when their sink, shower, or toilet clogs. However, while readily available and easy-to-use, these chemical cleaners can damage a home’s plumbing with repeated use. If your home has galvanized steel or copper pipes, chemical drain cleaners can eat through the metal over time. With PVC pipes, these cleaners often generate heat through chemical reaction that can begin to degrade the plastic.
3. Reduce water pressure
Inevitably, some properties experience leaks due to excessive water pressure. High water pressure puts additional stress and strain on your rental’s pipes, plumbing, and fixtures. If a plumber has identified that your home has high water pressure, you may need a pressure regulator installed. This device reduces the water pressure coming in from a well or the municipal water supply. Lowering your home’s water pressure today can save your pipes and fixtures from years of stress-caused damage.
4. Eliminate hard water
Many parts of the country have “hard” water. This term refers to water with a high mineral content. While hard water is safe to drink, it can cause a number of problems in your home. As the calcium and magnesium carried by the hard water collect on surfaces, they’ll form “soap scum” or calcification on faucets, fixtures, and shower heads. This intrusion of hard water can also make your dishwasher and washing machine operate less effectively, as a high mineral content can stop soaps and detergents from working properly. A final consequence of years of hard water is scale buildup. As the water travels through pipes and plumbing, minerals are left behind on the interior of the pipe. Over the course of time, these minerals can accumulate to cause scaling. As they begin to block the inside of the pipe, they can cause clogs, increase water pressure, and weaken joints and seals.
The best way to address hard water issues, both today and tomorrow, is by having a local plumber install a water softener. These devices remove excess mineralization, “softening” water for use throughout the home.
5. Remove potentially problematic trees
Certain trees can pose a major threat to your home’s sewer line. Their thirsty roots may be attracted to even relatively small leaks in the deeply buried line, which will eventually lead to the roots growing around and into the line itself. With enough time, this can form a partial or full clog of the sewer line as the root expands to absorb as much moisture as possible.
As a general precaution, you should remove all trees, bushes, and other landscaping within 10 feet of the buried sewer line. Some trees with slow-growing or shallow roots may not pose as much of a threat as those with deep-burrowing, fast-growing ones. If you have a tree right over the line, consider talking to an arborist. Proactively moving the tree elsewhere on the home today could save you an expensive headache down the road.
6. Schedule annual inspections
If you want to keep your home’s pipes and plumbing in great condition, have a plumber out for an inspection of the home at least once every year. During this inspection, they can take a look at the water heater, water pressure, and more. Talk to the plumber and ask if they offer sewer camera inspections: this will allow you to check out the condition of the sewer line and if any clogs are starting to form. Many major plumbing problems start as small, easily correctable issues. An annual inspection, from a licensed, certified plumber, can end up saving you thousands of dollars.
By following these six guidelines for your home, you’ll be far more likely to catch potential plumbing catastrophes early. For more tips for avoiding costly plumbing repairs, check out this new infographic from the team at Reimer Home Services.