Preventing Plumbing Problems: Easier Than You Realise
Dread the thought of your next plumbing debacle? Preventing plumbing problems is probably a lot easier than you realised. Here are a few tips to keep potential problems at bay:
ü Know where everything is.
When it comes to preventing (or least dealing with) plumbing problems, one of the most important things for you to know is where all the essential switches, valves and junctions are located. This allows you to act quickly should a problem arise. The most important thing for you to familiarise yourself with is the main shutoff valve, as this allows you to put to a stop to potentially devastating leaks inside the house.
ü Make use of plumbing screens.
Plumbing screens are essentially strainers that can be fitted to pipes and drains to keep oversized non-liquids from entering. Apply these to washing machine outflows, kitchen drains and other conduits that are likely to take on solids.
ü Treat your drains from time to time.
There are several ways that you can treat your drains to keep them in proper working order for the long haul. For starters, you can buy a chemical treatment to pour down the drain ever so often. Of course, many homeowners would rather not flush highly caustic chemicals into their own living environment if they don’t have to.
Fortunately, there are a few environmentally friendly workarounds that are reasonably effective. Start by sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda into the drain and running hot water until all the soda has entered the drain. Next, pour some vinegar into the drain. It will mix with the baking soda and start a mild reaction that will loosen up clogs and minor obstructions. Finally, pour boiling water down the drain to loosen grease and fats and to flush the baking soda and vinegar out.
ü Be careful what you put down the kitchen drain.
Following up to drain maintenance is the importance of watching what you pour down your drains to begin with. Remember, your kitchen sink is not a rubbish bin – even if it has a garbage disposal system. Toss whole solids out with the rubbish or into the compost pile rather than down the disposal. Here’s a short list of rubbish that is better not tossed into the kitchen sink:
- Fruit peels
- Poultry skin
Guard against froze pipes.
If your home is located in a part of the world where freezing temperatures are possible, then you really need to take preventative measures against frozen pipes. Do it well before the weather gets cold. After all, we’ve all been surprised by an early freeze at some point. Before winter sets in, remove outdoor hoses and affix insulated caps. You’ll also want to apply these caps to outdoor spigots, as a frozen spigot could damage interior plumbing. Finally, apply plastic insulation to exposed pipes in the garage, attic and crawlspace.
While the above are just a few suggestions, they will help you to deal with some of the most common plumbing problems that occur in the average household. Beyond that, it never hurts to have a reliable, local plumbing service in your address book.
David Greene is a DIY expert who spends his free time blogging about home-improvement strategies and maintenance-related life hacks. Using knowledge attained from industry publications as well as experience earned while working with commercial companies such as Black Hall Plumbing in Edinburgh, he is dedicated to helping everyday homeowners deal with maintenance problems in the house.