Our professional plumbers have put together a do-it-yourself list of helpful (and easy-to-do) tips to keep your home’s plumbing systems running efficiently and reliably for you and your family year round.
Avoid harmful, costly leaks
This tip is important, because even the smallest leak from a faucet or outside hose bib can cost you hundreds of dollars in water bills and gallons of fresh water wasted – not to mention the repair cost of the water that gets into your floors, walls, or foundation!
Pay attention to your toilet – a common leak is when the toilet chain hangs, leaving the flapper open and water flowing. If you hear your toilet continuing to run longer than it should, open the tank and adjust the chain tension to stop the flow!
Keep an eye on your hot water heater
Over time, sediment can build up at the bottom of your traditional tank water heater. This can limit the effectiveness of your heater by acting as an insulator between the water and the heating core. A professional should check your system every year. A plumber will:
- Check your drain valve for signs of leakage
- Check anode rods for corrosion
- Inspect the burner (for gas heaters)
A healthy burner flame will be blue with yellow tips. If the flame appears mostly yellow, or you can see a layer of carbon build-up, the flue may be clogged.
When a water heater begins to leak, this indicates a problem with the housing that is probably beyond repair. Most tanks will last from 15 to 20 years; if you have an older model, a new, efficient unit will probably pay for itself in just a few years through fuel savings alone!
Make sure your washing machine is in good condition
Rubber supply lines in older model washing machines tend to wear, corrode, and burst. Avoid a costly mess! Change the rubber supply lines for stainless braided steel hoses and protect your home.
Check your sump pump before that big storm
If there is severe weather on the horizon, an easy tip to protect your home is to make sure you check your sump pump and make sure it’s in working order. Keep an eye out for sand build-up or other debris in the sump pit – this can jam the pump and burn out the motor.
Make sure your pump’s discharge pipe isn’t clogged. You can do this by hooking a garden hose to the connection point. If water runs through to the other end, the pipe is alright. You might want to consider purchasing a battery-operated back-up unit if your sump pump has been overloaded in the past.
Keep your gutters clear
Keep your rain gutters and downspouts clear of leaves and other debris. Water that overflows from blocked gutters can collect around the foundation of your home and seep into basements and crawl spaces.