Handy Plumbing Tips
From leaky faucets to stopped drains, plumbing problems of all kinds are a nuisance. Actually, they’re worse than that as they can cause some serious structural damage over time. Anyone can pour some drain cleaner down a drain and hope for the best, but what about issues needing a more complex solution? Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to ease or completely fix some of the most common plumbing issues. Don’t forget, though, that sometimes knowing when to call in the pros is the handiest skill of all.
Like most problems in life, the best solution is prevention. It’s true that no plumbing system will hold up forever, but there are things you can do to minimize issues. Likely the most obvious preventative step is to check all faucets and shower heads on a regular basis, but there’s more you can do.
Drains should be a priority. No one wants a backed up sink, after all. Every month or two, you should be treating your drains with either a drain-cleaning product or a homemade mixture of water and vinegar. Always be careful about what goes down your drains, as well. For example, you should avoid pouring grease in your sink at all costs.
You should also ensure that your water pressure is kept at a safe level. You can test it with a pressure gauge (you can get one at any home improvement store) and if needed, install a pressure regulator. In addition, you definitely need to be checking your water heater once every six months or so. This involves checking for any leaks, checking the condition of the rods, and draining/cleaning the tank to remove sediment. This is one of the most important jobs you can perform yourself, due to the high risk and cost of water heater damage.
Let’s say you’ve inspected your home and found something like a leak or running toilet, and you want to fix it yourself. That’s great — provided you know what you’re getting into. Most clogs and leaks can be repaired with new washers or pipe fittings. For anything more complex, you’re probably better off calling in a professional plumber. To make things even easier, consider bringing the defective parts with you to the hardware store to ensure you’re buying the right equipment for your repairs.
Once you’re ready to begin your repairs, don’t forget to turn off the water main as well as any power if you’re working on something electric, like some water heaters. It’s also probably a good idea to dress the part. Even with the proper tools and know-how, DIY projects are likely to get messy.
Make the Call
At some point, you’re going to run into a problem that’s too big to handle yourself, and that’s fine. There’s no shame in even the handiest of people calling in the pros now and again, especially if the project calls for new installations or construction.
A professional leak detection will be much more thorough and accurate than inspections you can do on your own, and there are a variety of tools to discover even the tiniest of leaks from snake head cameras to infrared scanning. A professional plumber will also be able to handle a variety of situations, foreseen or not, from installations to outdoor plumbing solutions. Just make sure you’re hiring a reputable service.
Look for things like free service calls, guaranteed parts and labor, and 24 hour service. It won’t do you any good to be overcharged or left out to dry in an emergency, after all. Whether you’re doing personal inspections, braving a project yourself, or calling in the pros, it’s imperative for your home and your safety to keep your plumbing system in prime shape.