To a T almost every plumbing company would agree ‘don’t hesitate to call us’. Yes, the plumbing company will bill you with a service charge. However, this beats the alternative when your attempt to fix the pipe yourself causes a major problem. Why take a chance when a professional can fix the problem in 20 minutes?
There’s an adage that homeowners should always follow when it comes to plumbing repairs in their home – when in doubt you’ll probably cause a drought. In other words, ‘tinkering’ with pipes usually leaves you without water or worse, water everywhere. That being said, follow these expert plumber tips that will make minor plumbing issues manageable and possibly help you get more in touch with your inner plumber.
Use Your Garbage Disposal Wisely
Garbage disposal issues are one of the main reasons that homeowners are forced to call in a plumbing company, but they are also one of the most easily preventable. Besides the obvious of not trying to flush steak bones down the hatch, there are some maintenance tips such as running cold water while you grind and using the disposal regularly that keep it in good condition. There are things you should avoid such as running hot water in the disposal, flushing grease or potato peels, and bleach or drain cleaner that can harm blades.
Winterize Your House
In the harsh winters, your home’s plumbing is perhaps the most vulnerable of anything on your property. Because of this the plumbing company recommends a thorough winterizing of the pipes and fixtures to prevent catastrophic damage in the most crucial of elements. If the home is seasonal like a Spring or Summer cabin, the water supply should be shut off, and the pipes drained. Additionally exterior faucets need to have the water supply turned off to them, and the hoses removed. Any exposed pipes on the outside of the house should be insulated with pipe wrap and insulating tape and on extremely cold days, allow the faucets run water at a slow drip to prevent the pipes from freezing.
Attack Slow Drains Properly
It’s only a matter of time, especially in sinks with garbage disposals, that blockages will cause the sink to drain slower than usual. Blockages are also common in bathroom sinks where hair collects and prevents the water from flowing like normal. In the bathroom tools such as the Zip-It can be used to quickly free and pull out any hair that may be causing the problems. The good thing about a slow drain is that there’s still some flow access and not a complete blockage so freeing up the clog is easier. A snake tool will wrench its way down the pipes in an attempt to dislodge the cluster otherwise a homemade concoction of baking soda and vinegar will create a fizzing action that can dissolve the blockage. One last way to free the slow drain before calling a plumbing company is using a sink plunger to create a vacuum to remove the clog.
Know About Sink Backups
A complete drain blockage prevents water from going anywhere and back up. These are more difficult to attack than a slow drain because it involves a larger piece of debris causing the clog. Slow drains are a nuisance because they take away the functionality of the sink and the backed up water is a cesspool of stench and unattractiveness. Sometimes a snake can be used to free the blockage but many times a plumbing company will have to remove the T trap underneath the sink. It may be better to call a plumbing company so they can give you an exact diagnosis of what is causing the water to back up, perhaps doing preventative maintenance that will avoid a catastrophe in the future.
Run Appliances at Night
A great way to prevent pressure issues or a lack of water temperature is to run the dishwasher and washing machine at night or off-peak times. Not only does this prevent any issues from multiple appliances trying to access the same water supply, it also saves money on utility bills – a no-brainer.
Test Accessories Often
Many of the utilities associated with the plumbing in a home aren’t paid attention to until they have a major issue. A regular inspection cycle can help prevent the damage from occurring or at least minimize the repercussions from them.
For instance, by regularly inspecting connections around a washing machine, you can replace or fix corroded, loose or rotted connections before running the washing machine. Otherwise, you risk a full water load rushing onto the floor, causing thousands of dollars of damage. Sump pumps can also be tested by pouring water into the pit, which should cause the pump to kick in. If a few buckets of water still don’t register the pump then a preemptive call to the plumbing company could be very cost-effective. You can test toilet bowls for leaks by adding food coloring to the tank, effectively saving money on utilities and preventing large damage if fixed.
Know Where Your Water Shutoff Is
One of the main helpful tips that every plumbing company recommends is for homeowners to know where their shutoff valves are. Despite all the preventative measures, there’s always a possibility for a plumbing emergency and knowing how to shut off the water in seconds can be the difference between complete loss and minimal nuisance. There are shutoffs to each room/fixture, and there is also a main shutoff; it’s wise to be familiar with all.
Of course, when you are installing new pipes or fixtures, it makes sense to call a plumbing company. In these instances, it’s better to be safe than sorry, no matter what the cost may be. Other than that, being adept in these seven most basic plumbing fixes will give you the upper hand in preparing and repairing your pipes.