The best way to maintain the plumbing in your home is to prevent problems before they happen. If a problem does happen, it best to fix it before it gets worse and leads to further damage that can be costly. Problems such as a simple faucet leak can lead to wood damage under the sink when you’re not looking or least expecting it.
Small occurrences happen quite often which homeowners ignore thinking it is not a big deal. With plumbing repair, as in many aspects of life, the small things do matter and add up. Here is a list of a few small things that you can do and be aware of before they turn into a more serious issue. Some of these tasks can be done on a bi-annual basis or as necessary.
1. Clean faucet aerators – This may seem like it isn’t really necessary, however these small features on a faucet really do control the flow of water in your sinks in both the kitchen and bathroom. By cleaning aerators in the shower and sinks – it will free them of clogs caused by deposits from built up minerals. The deposits take time to build up so the amount seen depends on whether the water is hard or soft in your area. This could be a task done every six months or once per year depending on your local water quality.
2. Fix faucet leaks – Here is one minor problem that can lead to a major one. Main kitchen faucets often have a dishwasher overflow drain called an air gap. This small piece is where water from the dishwasher flows often from the sink shelf into the sink itself with water leftover from a dishwasher (depending on how your home plumbing is set up). This small piece is key to having clean dishes however what often happens is that it wears on the sealant between your sink and countertops.
Once this happens, a slow leak happens down the back of your sink (often undetected) until there is damage to the wood underneath your sink and now you have a construction problem and not just one for the plumbing. The way to prevent this is to do regular checks – quarterly is best, after your dishwasher has been on to see if any water is leaking below the sink. If it is, and you catch the leak in time before it damages the wood, it is an easy fix. This is also good to do in bathrooms that get a lot of use.
3. Garbage disposal leaks – While you are down there checking for leaks under the kitchen sink, it is a good time to check for garbage disposal leakage as well. These types of leaks are less common in newer homes, however, it can easily occur if something goes down the drain that is not meant to be there and strain is put on the disposal system. What happens is that the disposal starts to crack and over time leaks. It is easy to detect even with your hands covered with clear plastic bags to see if water or other drainage shows or feels damp.
4. Bathtub and shower clogs cause slow drainage – When clogs occur in the drains of bathtubs and showers it is best to solve the problem right away for both cleanliness and home repair prevention. Often hair is the most common build-up in those particular drains so it is usually easy for a plumber to remove with a drain snake. By letting the clog continue, it leaves tubs or shower floors full of germs from the drain and it can be a very unsanitary and toxic situation even if it does not appear to be.
Stagnant water built up from the drain is full of other debris and harmful particles that are from the drain and pipe within the dirty water surrounding your feet from a clogged drain. Using a drain clog liquid solution from the local grocery or drug store can be an easy fix but those solutions are not only strong and toxic to breathe or get on your skin, but they wear down the pipes and cause a much larger problem over time.
The solution is to use strainers on the drain that catch hair and also on the kitchen sink (non-garbage disposal side) that catches food particles that also clog drains over time. If you do have a clog that an at-home drain snake can’t fix then a plumber is likely needed.
There are many other tips and tricks to maintaining your home plumbing system. These are just a few common tips to common occurrences that you can prevent.