You’ve heard the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and it couldn’t be more applicable than to the realm of plumbing. Your home will always have small plumbing faults that need attention. But leave them to fester, and you risk paying out for emergency plumbing repairs.
A little bit of prevention can save you from a lot of problems later on. So it’s worth carrying out these simple plumbing maintenance checks every other month.
Household Plumbing Maintenance
There are several places around your home that need regular plumbing maintenance.
Start by checking the temperature setting on your water heater and make sure the shut-off valve location is close to the water heater (and not near other fixtures or appliances). Next, check the pilot light, thermocouple, and fittings that connect the tank to the water supply. Inspect the tank for any signs of rust, corrosion, or leaks. If you see any damage, it may be time for a new water heater.
To inspect your hose spigots, look for any signs of rust or wear. If you find a rusty spigot, it may be time to invest in a new one. Also, look to see if any washers or cartridges need replacing.
Excessive vibration and noise are among the most common signs of a plumbing problem with your washing machine. Check all the hoses under your washing machine to ensure they are not leaking or cracked. If you find damaged hoses, it’s time to get them replaced.
Check that your washing machine is filling and draining correctly. Every so often, look for leaks and drips while the machine runs a cycle.
Bathroom Plumbing Maintenance
Prevent plumbing emergencies in the bathroom by carrying out these routine checks.
Every couple of months, carry out some basic checks on bathroom faucets. This list will help you out:
- Check the knobs and handles. The knobs and handles on your faucet should rotate freely, without sticking or making a lot of noise. You may need to lubricate them with a bit of mineral oil if they get stuck.
- Check the aerator. A clogged aerator is a problem that’s easy to fix if you catch it early. Remove the aerator and clean it thoroughly with vinegar. If you have a hard time removing it, use pliers or grab it with a towel and twist hard to remove it.
- Check for leaks. Not all leaks are visible, but many are. Check for leaks under the sink by turning off all water sources and pouring a few cups of dyed water down each drain hole. If necessary, use a flashlight to see where the dye has seeped through to identify your leaky spots.
The sink and shower drains are the most common places for a clog to occur in your bathroom.
Every month or so, clean your drains using a drain cleaner. Or, if you prefer to stay away from chemicals, use a simple mix of vinegar and baking soda.
Every so often, check for water around the base of the toilet. The toilet bowl will most likely be secured to the floor with bolts, which have plastic “U” shaped pieces that keep them in place. If you notice water on the floor, the U-joints may have become loose and need tightening. In some cases, they may need to be replaced.
If you live in an older home with old fixtures that use a wax seal, you should check to make sure the seal is still intact. If it’s broken, this will cause a leak where the toilet connects to the floor.
Flush the toilet and check if it empties correctly and refills itself.
Kitchen Plumbing Maintenance
Sinks and drains in the kitchen need regular checks to prevent plumbing emergencies.
You’re likely to use your kitchen sink daily, so it’s easy to keep an eye on general sink maintenance. Food and waste can clog up sinks, so it’s essential to clean the drains regularly. Baking soda and vinegar is an easy-to-make solution that keeps drains clear of clogs and odors.
If waste doesn’t end up in the kitchen sink, it ends up in the waste disposal unit. While running the disposal unit, listen out for unusual noises and keep an eye out for leaks.
There are plenty of garbage waste disposal cleaners available that help clean the unit of grease and fat.
Similar to the bathroom faucet, carry out regular checks for leaks. For example, look for signs of dripping or water pooling in the sink.
Every so often, take the time to check the dishwasher fills and drains correctly. Also, look around the appliance base for leaks and keep the drains free from debris.