Useful Plumbing Tips for Homes

Plumbing repairs can be an unwanted, unexpected and costly repairs that can go up to five figures to solve a single problem. The worst part is that proper plumbing is a necessity, and it is difficult to avoid these costs when plumbing problems occur. This is why we have come up with a few useful plumbing tips for homes that will help you avoid expensive plumbing repairs by preventing plumbing problems in the first place.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Know Your Water Main & Valve

This is by far the first and most important thing you can do to avoid significant water damage in case of a leak or burst pipe. When something happens to your plumbing that you cannot control, the first step is to shut off your water supply.

The water main is the access point for water in your home. It is typically in your basement, near your water heater. Find the shut off valve, or lever, on your water main and know how to use it. This will help avoid any uncertainty in case of an emergency and prevent water damage and costly repairs.

Every adult living in your home should know where the water main is and how to control it as the first step in plumbing disaster scenarios.

2. Avoid Oil & Grease in Drains

Typically, you might often dispose your used oils or grease down the drain in your kitchen. While this may seem ideal, it is in no way good for your drain, or the environment. Oil and grease down the drain can cool down, solidify and accumulate over time to easily clog your drain.

This is also because grease and oil are semi-viscous and therefore have a tendency to stick to pipe walls. Not only do they stick to the walls of your drainpipe, but they also help other solid particles join the party. A grease/oil clogged drain can cause significant damage that may heavily cost you in repairs later.

Do not dispose grease or oils in the drain and wait for them to solidify. Instead, get rid of them in your compost disposal. The best practice is to recycle the grease/oils because that will help the environment by perhaps using your grease and oils for biodiesel, an alternate energy source.

Here is a free recycle finder that will help you find your nearest recycling facility.

3. Use a Drain Strainer

Prevention is always better than cure and with most plumbing problems being clogged-drain-related, it is best to prevent clogging in the first place. Using a drain strainer in sinks and showers will help you collect and dispose most of the soap, dirt and hair residue before it pours down the drain.

This will prevent unwanted clogging for a longer period of time. A simple practice that works well.

4. Fix Slow Drains Before They Clog

A slow drain is a sure sign that there is some clogging behind it. While a single slow drain is common and you can fix it yourself, if multiple drains are slow, then it is a job for a plumber. This is because multiple slow drains are typically caused by clogging down the pipes that only a professional should handle.

If, however, you experience a single slow drain, it is best to act proactively and fix the drain before it becomes a clogged drain. You can start to fix it by pouring half a cup of table salt in the drain, then half a cup of baking soda and then half a cup of vinegar and leave the drain for around 15 minutes.

During this time, prepare a few liters of boiling water to pour in the drain for a few minutes. Once complete, check for difference in the speed, if it is improving, repeat the process until the drain is functioning smoothly.

Another approach is to use a drain snake to clean the clog by plunging it up and down to catch all the buildup, pull it up and throw it away. When these attempts fail, the last option is to use a heavy metal wire and wriggle the buildup further down the pipe to fix the slow drain.

Always remember to check other drains for flow speed before trying anything and call a plumber if the problem is widespread. Never use chemical drain cleaners – they may seem like a quick fix but they only make things worse by damaging your pipes.

5. Avoid Freezing Pipes & Eventual Bursts

A frozen pipe can easily burst and cost you repairs worth five figures. You want to avoid them during winters to spare you the costs of repairs. Here are a few things you can do to avoid pipes freezing in the first place.

  • Keep your home temperature around 65 degrees or higher at all times to avoid your home temperature contributing to pipes freezing
  • Keep outdoor faucets covered and disconnect all garden hoses after use
  • If you leave for an extended period during winters, leave your home at 60 degrees or more, you may pay extra for the heating but you will save significantly more on frozen pipe repairs

A pro tip is to insulate your outside wall plumbing lines to avoid frozen pipes.

6. Check for Leaks

Leaks can occur all around your home and while they may be visible at times, there can be a surprising number of invisible water leaks that often go unnoticed. Check for spots of discoloration or peeling wallpaper on your walls and ceilings and damp spots on floors.

Often a musty, mildew smell in your crawl spaces, attic or basement is a common sign of mold buildup, which is often the result of invisible leaks. Make sure you keep checking for these smells or mold buildups to avoid costly water damage.

You can even get a professional plumber to detect leaks in your home and address them immediately.

Conclusion

The most common plumbing problems are avoidable and the abovementioned useful plumbing tips for homes can help save you a lot of time and money on unwanted plumbing repairs by prevention. These are simple steps that anyone can follow and there is no reason to not practice them regularly.

More importantly, what may seem like a small plumbing problem at first can quickly turn into a costly one, which is why it is better to avoid them at all times. It can save you thousands of dollars and hours of downtime.

At Top of The Line Plumbing, we are highly experienced professionals providing all sorts of plumbing solutions and dedicated to helping you prevent costly repairs in the first place. We strive for excellence in plumbing and customer service.

If you ever need a professional plumber for leak detection, drain cleaning, pipe repairs or any sort of plumbing problems, we highly recommend that you contact us directly by calling 904.647.1221.