Plumbing is often the last thing we think about in our homes until we have an emergency. However, water damage is often pervasive and repairs are costly. The best way to avoid expensive repairs is to monitor your plumbing and regularly maintain your system. We have compiled a list of five routine plumbing maintenance musts that will help you save money on major repairs.
1) Examine Exposed Pipes
Anywhere you find exposed pipes (under sinks, basements, crawlspaces, etc.), look for drips and excess moisture. Besides the potential for the development of mold and mildew, which thrives in moist conditions, leaky pipes can lead to water damage and may be indicative of bigger issues. If the leak is not major and you intend to fix it yourself, make sure you are able to determine the source of the leak, and know that plumbing repairs are often more complicated than they appear.
2) Examine Toilets, Showers, Tubs, and Appliances
Your toilets, showers, tubs, and appliances will often show advanced warning signs of failure. Look out for rust, corrosion, and broken or missing pieces. Replace rusting and broken parts as soon as you find them. As simple as this process is, we often overlook these things as long as they have the appearance of working properly. However, if you can diagnose small issues early, you can often avoid expensive, emergency plumbing repairs.
3) Examine Walls and Floors around Plumbing
If the flooring or walls around your home’s plumbing become cracked or discolored, it is often indicative of an unseen leak. If floors or walls are already damaged, the issue needs to be addressed immediately. Besides the multiplying cost of repairs as long as the plumbing continues to leak, the potential for mold and mildew development persists as well. Water damage can also contribute to wood rot, peeling paint, and rust.
4) Examine How your Sinks and Tubs Drain
If your tub and/or sinks are draining unusually fast or slow, it can be indicative of clogged or damaged pipes. If allowed to persist, clogged pipes can burst and cause extensive damage. If you can’t fix the clog by plunger or drainage snake [link to this old house], it is important to call in a professional plumber.
5) Examine Your Water Pressure
When showering, washing dishes, or using your outdoor hose, pay attention to water pressure. Practice this during normal activities by asking:
- Is this my standard water pressure?
- Has my dish washer/washing machine always taken this long to complete a cycle?
- Has it always take this long for the toilet to fill?
Your water pressure should be between 35 and 80 psi. You can purchase a water pressure testing kit at most local hardware stores and perform a more exact test. By observing these basic plumbing maintenance musts, you can prolong the life of your plumbing systems and potentially avoid many major repairs.