08 Oct 10 Helpful Plumbing Tips For Your Home
Plumbing is one of those topics that homeowners should learn a little about to keep their house in good condition. While major issues may need to be dealt with by a professional, there are many small things that you can do yourself to save money and hassle.
For example, knowing where the main water valve is can be very helpful if an emergency arises.
Here are 10 Helpful Plumbing Tips for Your Home:
1. Turn off the Water
Plumbing is a complicated system that runs throughout your home. It conveys fresh water to faucets, appliances and toilets while carrying away waste water. The average homeowner needs to know how to shut off their home’s main water valve in case of an emergency like a burst pipe or leaky faucet.
If you can locate your house’s shut off valve quickly, you can prevent costly damage. Familiarize yourself and your family with the location of this valve so that everyone can react quickly if there’s an issue.
Most homes have a ball type valve that simply needs to be turned clockwise or a gate type valve that requires a full rotation of the handle to shut off the water. Turning off the water quickly can save you money and a lot of hassle in the future.
2. Dispose of Grease and Oil
Pouring grease down your drains is not only a terrible idea for your plumbing, it’s also bad for the local sewer system. Grease clings to the walls of kitchen pipes and can block wastewater from flowing through the sewers, leading to massive clogs and expensive plumbing repair costs.
Instead, throw cooled cooking oil and grease in the trash. If you want to keep it handy, store your greasy fat in an empty jar or a plastic container like a milk carton or Styrofoam box that can be sealed.
You can also use paper towels to wipe excess oil from dishes, pots and pans before washing. Just be sure to put the soaked paper towel in your garbage rather than the recycling bin. This helps reduce non-recyclable waste and saves you from having to use caustic drain cleaners that are harmful to the environment and your pipes.
3. Clean Your Strainers
A clogged drain can be a source of foul odors and dangerous bacteria. A few simple habits can help prevent this from happening in your home.
Install a strainer in your sink drain to catch larger food debris before it goes down the drain. This is one of the best and simplest ways to keep clogs, foul odors and bacteria at bay.
Frequently clean your strainers with vinegar and baking soda to keep them free from odors, bacteria and clogs. To clean a strainer, pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain and immediately follow it with 1 cup of vinegar. The mixture will fizz and wash away organic waste, which is more effective than chemical cleaners. Repeat this routine at least once a week.
4. Avoid Drilling Holes in the Wall
It’s important to know what’s behind your walls before drilling. You may think you’re safe, but pipes and electrical wires are in most walls, and it’s easy to hit one if you don’t know where to look.
Hitting a pipe can be a major problem, and if it’s in your kitchen or bathroom, you could face water damage or a costly repair bill. You can avoid this by checking the blueprints of your home or consulting your local plumber before doing any renovations.
When you are ready to drill, mark the spot where you will be drilling with a piece of tape and use a masonry bit if you are working on a brick or stone wall. This will ensure you don’t accidentally nick any pipes or electrical wiring. Once the hole is drilled, carefully remove the drill and screw in the appropriate fixture.
5. Keep Your Drains Clean
The plumbing system is often out of sight and out of mind until something goes wrong. But with a little effort, you can prevent drains from becoming dirty and clogged and keep your home free of foul odors and dangerous bacteria.
To avoid clogs, wash your sink strainers regularly. You should also clean your drains themselves every month or so with a simple combination of baking soda and vinegar. This works well for kitchen and bathroom drains. Simply pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain, then add a cup of white vinegar. Leave the mixture to work for about 15 minutes, then flush it with boiling water.
If your drain still isn’t clear, call a plumber. It may be a sign of more serious problems like grease build-up or tree roots that require professional help.
6. Turn Off the Water at the Main
The best way to reduce water damage during a plumbing emergency is to shut off the flow of water. The first step is locating your main water shut-off valve, usually located in the basement near the water meter or where the line enters the house from the street.
Most home plumbing fixtures also have their own shut off valves that control the flow of water to the fixture or appliance. Familiarizing yourself with these valves (and showing family members) will help you quickly and easily cut off the water supply if necessary, especially in an emergency.
While it’s rare that a home owner will need to use the main shut off valve, knowing where it is and how to turn it off could save you thousands of dollars in repair costs. It can also save you the stress and hassle of trying to find a plumber in a hurry while water gushes into your basement.
7. Keep Your Sinks Clean
Your kitchen sinks and faucets take on a lot of grime, and they need to be cleaned regularly to avoid buildup. Keeping a container of multi-surface cleaning wipes or a stack of clean cloths nearby is a great idea.
Make sure to wipe the drain, faucets and outer rim of your sink on a daily basis. Use a soft sponge or scrub brush and gentle soap to remove any grease or grime that builds up, but avoid using harsh chemical cleaners that may damage your sink surface.
If you have a stubborn clog, try pouring some hydrogen peroxide down the drain (it has bleaching properties without the eye-watering smell). It should fizz and help to dissolve any greasy, gunky food buildup that’s threatening to block your drain. You can also use a drain snake to clear out hard-to-reach clogs.
8. Turn Off the Water at the Faucet
Plumbing is one of those things that most people don’t learn about until they need to, but it is essential if you want your home to function properly. Knowing where the main shut-off valve is located can help you minimize the damage if pipes burst in your house. It’s also a good idea to know where the isolation valves for each sink, toilet, and washing machine are located so that you can quickly shut off water to those specific fixtures if necessary.
Familiarizing yourself with your home’s water supply valves isn’t hard, and it could save you a lot of time in the future, especially if you need to call a 24 hour plumber in Houston! Remember to turn off the water slowly, and extra slow for lever handles. Once you’ve shut off the water, wait for the pressure to equalize and the noise to stop before turning it back on.
9. Turn Off the Water at the Toilet
Dripping faucets may not seem like a big deal, but over time that water is wasting money and contributing to your sewer line problems. You can avoid the issue by turning off the water to the sink.
To do so, find your shut-off valve, which will usually look circular with a lever. Then, twist the valve clockwise to cut off the water flow.
While living without running water for a few days might sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Shutting off the water to your toilet during repairs isn’t as hard as you think, and it helps ensure that no more water gets into the wrong place. It also means you won’t have to flush your toilet multiple times if it becomes clogged. This could save you a lot of water and money.
10. Turn Off the Water at the Sink
Your plumbing system is one of the most important parts of your home. By regularly maintaining your drains and pipes, you can avoid major problems like water leaks and clogged sinks.
If you find yourself with a clogged drain, try using boiling water to clear it. This simple trick can save you money on chemical drain cleaners and will help keep your drains clean.
Kitchen sinks see a lot of action and use. They are often used to wash dishes, prepare food, and even give kids haircuts. Unfortunately, they can also be the source of many plumbing problems. To avoid this, make sure to keep your drains clean by following these helpful plumbing tips. These plumbing tips will save you money, headaches, and potential water damage. So remember to practice these plumbing tips at least once a year!