Preventative Plumbing Maintenance You Can Do at Home
If prevention is better than cure, then preventative plumbing maintenance is one of the most effective ways to avoid plumbing problems and costly repairs. The last thing you want to happen is to find that your toilet has become blocked due to toilet paper overuse, your pipes have sprung a leak, or you have minimal water pressure in the shower.
But with these basic preventative plumbing maintenance tips, your plumbing systems can continue getting the job done for as long as possible. You can rest easy knowing that your taps, drains and toilets remain fully functional without unnecessarily spending money on plumbers and professional services.
Why Plumbing Maintenance is So Important
Given just how vital water is, both to our health and the general functionality of our home, it’s crucial to have a fully operational plumbing system. One of the most important measures to ensure this is through regular plumbing maintenance.
By sticking to a regular maintenance schedule and giving your various plumbing installations a little extra TLC, you’ll reap many benefits. These can include:
- Greater savings on your energy costs due to improved efficiency
- The ability to prolong the lifespan of your plumbing fixtures and equipment
- Minimising the need for a total overhaul of your home’s plumbing system
Taking a proactive approach to plumbing maintenance, instead of merely reacting to problems when they occur, is the best way to preserve the plumbing in and around your home. Let’s take a look at some simple and inexpensive jobs you can do to get the most from your plumbing for years to come.
The Difference Between Plumbing System Maintenance and Plumbing Work
Plumbing is a licensed industry in Australia; therefore, it is illegal for anyone without the appropriate qualifications to carry out any work on your home’s plumbing systems. You will need a professional plumber for jobs such as:
- installation, fixing or replacing hot water heater
- installation of sinks and toilets
- renovations to your kitchen or bathroom plumbing
- making any changes or extensions to your pipes
No matter how adept you are with DIY work around the house or the number of how-to-fix videos you’ve watched on YouTube, all plumbing work must be done by a licensed plumber.
However, there are some maintenance tasks you can do, as long as you carry out the work safely. Follow these maintenance tips and you can ensure that your plumbing provides constant, clean and clear hot and cold water around the clock.
Replace the Washers in Your Leaking Tap
One of the most common plumbing problems in any home is a leaking tap. They can cause flooding, can be a safety hazard, and can also lead to potential structural issues with your home. Repairing these common issues caused by leaks from your tap can be expensive.
Luckily, this is often one of the easiest plumbing maintenance jobs you can manage. It typically requires just a replacement of the washer. As it happens, washer replacement is one of the few plumbing maintenance repairs that a ‘regular’ person can do.
Of course, you can also choose to leave it in the capable hands of trusted plumbers.
Check for Plumbing Leaks Around Your Home
Leaks in your plumbing system can be messy and costly. They’re also of the most common plumbing problems you’ll encounter. They can be caused by anything from a faulty pressure release valve in your hot water system to corroded pipes.
Check any exposed plumbing pipes on your property for signs of wear and tear, corrosion or other damage. Tell-tale signs can often include the presence of rust, warping of the exposed pipes, and the formation of water drops on the outside of the piping.
For hidden pipes, check for the following:
- Water stains on the walls or ceiling
- Mould or mildew growth, and
- Formation of water pools on the floor near the appliances or areas that may be leaking.
If you detect the presence of a leak, contact a licensed plumber for any repairs.
Fit a Strainer to Your Kitchen Sink
Food scraps are a kitchen sink’s worst enemy. People scrape off their plates down the drain hole after dinner. They assume that any food debris washes away easily through the drainage system or garbage disposal. What usually happens, though, is that the food waste gets caught in the pipes and builds up.
That build-up prevents water from flowing freely through your plumbing system, causing either a blockage or a significant drop in water pressure. It can also drive up your water bills and energy costs as your kitchen plumbing uses more energy to reach its normal pressure level. That’s when plungers or drain cleaners (preferably not a chemical drain cleaner) come into play to resolve the issue.
However, by installing a simple strainer in your kitchen sink, you can catch most of the food particles that get washed or scraped off the plate before you rinse them off. Just be sure to clean it regularly, and empty any of the caught food waste into the bin.
Similarly, you can also buy hair catchers for shower drains that stop hair from causing blockages in the shower drain.
Dispose of Cooking Oils, Fats and Greases in the Bin
Dab hands in the kitchen likely use some form of oil, grease or fat during the cooking process. You might even think it’d be safe to dispose of your used cooking oil down the drain.
That’s the last thing you should do. Cooking oil congeals and solidifies when it cools in your plumbing. Combined with any food debris that gets washed down the drain, and you have a sure-fire blockage that requires expert plumbing services to fix the problem.
The best way to avoid this plumbing problem is to pour any used cooking oil into a disposable container. Seal it up and throw it into the bin.
Clean Your Gutters Twice a Year
Keeping your roof gutters clean is one of the most effective ways to avoid unnecessary water damage to your home. Clogged gutters can cause any accumulated rainwater to overflow into your home. Should that happen during heavy storm activity, or even on a calm day at work, the damage can be merciless.
Your gutters should only need a twice-yearly clean at the very least to continue doing right by you. It might be at the beginning of summer and winter. You might opt for the beginning and end of daylight saving. Either way, choosing easily memorable times for gutter and drain cleaning will help you remember to get the job done.
Of course, if you’re uncomfortable working up a ladder, experienced plumbers can perform the task as part of their plumbing services.
Take Control of Your Plumbing Maintenance
When it comes to your home’s various plumbing needs, keeping to a regular inspection and maintenance schedule is the most effective way to keep up an efficient plumbing system.
The following plumbing maintenance tips are just some of the ways you can keep everything, from your drains and taps to your hot water system, in perfect working order:
- Checking for leaks in your plumbing systems
- Installing a kitchen sink strainer
- Keeping your kitchen sink free of used cooking oils
- Cleaning your gutters and drains at least twice a year
- Replacing the washers in your taps if they’re leaking or won’t shut off
By implementing these simple maintenance tips for home plumbing systems, you can avoid the need for professional plumbing services. Meaning you can put that money towards the things that matter most to you!