For many homeowners, most plumbing issues warrant a call to the plumber for emergency assistance. While plunging a clogged toilet and cleaning superficial buildup out of the drain may be easy enough for most people to tackle on their own, anything more significant may seem intimidating to do. The reality is that you may be able to address several other common plumbing issues on your own without professional assistance. You also may be able to take several preventative steps to better care for your pipes and plumbing features, and your maintenance effort may help you to limit the number of emergency plumbing issues that develop going forward.
Avoid Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
Clogs are one of the more common plumbing issues that people may have. In fact, you may have to deal with at least one or two clogs in your pipes each year. A typical way to deal with clogs in the sink, bathtub or other areas is to pour a bottle of chemical drain cleaner down the pipe. The chemical works to decompose the material that is blocking the pipe so that it can wash completely through the pipe and out of the home. While these drain cleaning products are effective at doing their job, they can also cause significant deterioration of the pipe materials. With periodic use over the years, your pipes may fail because of the use of drain cleaners. Snaking and hydro jetting are safer ways to clear away clogs.
Learn How to Fix Minor Leaks
A major leak that creates a stream of water flowing into the home requires a call to the plumber for emergency service. While a plumber can also be called to fix a minor leak, many people may be able to fix some minor leaks on their own. For example, a common cause of a minor leak around the faucet knobs or a slow drip from the faucet is a loose screw. Simply tightening the screw that holds the faucet knob in place may resolve the problem quickly.
Service the Hot Water Heater Regularly
Tank hot water heaters are easy to overlook because most are installed in a water closet in a remote area of the home. Because of this, hot water heater maintenance needs are often overlooked. Annual maintenance on a tank hot water heater is essential for the heater’s longevity. One of several tasks that will be completed with hot water heater maintenance service involves draining the tank and flushing away all sediment. This sediment could accumulate in large quantities if it is not removed. This can impact water quality and odor, pipe condition and many other factors that otherwise could have been avoided.
Adjust the Hot Water Heater Setting
If you are looking for a way to save money on energy costs, a simple adjustment to the hot water heater can be effective. In many homes, the hot water heater setting may comfortably be lowered down to approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit without negatively impacting the availability of hot water that the home’s occupants may regularly need.
Know What Not to Put Down the Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposal issues are also unfortunately common and can often be avoided. Some people believe that the garbage disposal can or should be able to grind up all food scraps, but this is not the case. Things like banana and potato peels, hard fruit rinds, meet bones and more should not be tossed into the garbage disposal. Instead, they should be placed directly in a trash can or added to your compost bin. You can, however, run ice or lemon rinds into the garbage disposal periodically to clean the blades and eliminate unpleasant odors.
While you understandably may need to call a plumber for maintenance and repair work at least a few times each year, many minor issues can be addressed by you through easy steps. Likewise, many minor and major repair issues may be avoided altogether when you learn how to maintain your pipes. Each of these tips may help you to better care for your pipes and plumbing features going forward, but remember to call a plumber if you are not confident in your abilities to do the work yourself.