Styled, Staged & Sold

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5 Ways to Avoid a Plumbing Disaster

By Brandon Smith, guest contributor

A simple preventative maintenance program can go a long way in keeping a home’s plumbing system at its best condition. Some people think that maintaining the structure of shower drains, pipes, toilets, etc. is tedious and expensive. However, it is more practical to spend a little money on preventive measures rather than hire a contractor to repair or replace your entire plumbing system.

These tips can stop you from paying for plumbing damages that could have been easily avoided:

1. Regular inspection of the water heating system: A water heater for residential purposes can last a decade with proper care. Since this appliance is used on a daily basis, it is crucial to have it checked at least once a month for possible problems. Lower the setting of temperature to 115 degrees F. You can do this by adjusting the dial knob or the thermostat behind the electric water heater. Doing this will prevent the apparatus from overheating.

Always look out for signs that something might be wrong with your water heating system. Immediately check the temperature and pressure of the appliance in case you cannot hear a gurgling sound. This could mean that no water is being released to the drain tube. In this case, replacement may be necessary to keep every one in the house safe.

2. Upgrading of hoses and fixtures: Home owners should consider replacing rubber hoses with metallic ones. This also applies to other plumbing fixtures such as waterline raisers, valves, and pipes.  In general, modern residential structures tend to have a more complex plumbing system. This is due to additional appliances that older types of house do not have such as automatic fire sprinklers and wet bars. The easiest way to look for problematic signs is to walk throughout the house and inspect the walls, floors, and ceilings.

Cracks on wooden ceilings are often a sign of trapped moisture and leaking water. Although it is also possible that this is due to weak construction methods, it would be best for the home owner to immediately replace old rubber hoses with ones made from copper or stainless steel. Metallic materials are proven to withstand extreme weather conditions and can also last for up to 15 years.

3. Maintenance of sink drain: The sink drain in your kitchen and bathroom is prone to getting clogged with anything that can slow down its draining process. Food particles, hair strands, and other debris can find its way to the sink drain and cause serious problems. Drain cleaning can help prevent this from happening. Save yourself from calling an emergency plumber by making sure your kitchen is always clean. Pouring of cooking oil and fatty fluids into the sink should be avoided. Clogs will start to build up if you keep on throwing your leftover cooking oil down your sink drain.

In your bathroom, install a sink trap so that hair and soap particles will not be able to pass through the pipes. This must be installed before the water in the bathroom floor starts to drain slowly. The sink trap will collect and catch debris that can potentially cause clogging. Hence, plumbing repair will not be necessary.

4. Checking of main water shut-off valve: It is very important for home owners to know the exact location of the main shutoff valve. You can easily find this next to where your water meter is installed. This is usually located at the front of your house. This valve allows you to immediately stop the supply of water flow in times of emergency.

Because of its important function, both tenant and property owners should routinely inspect if it is working correctly and that no signs of leakage are showing up. During winter, the freezing condition can harden the handle so check it once every two weeks to see if you can still turn it clockwise. Take note also that local codes also require that main water shutoff valves are easily accessible.

5. Regular tune-up: Property owners should hire a master plumber at least once a year to inspect the entire plumbing system for possible problems. Only a highly skilled technician can fix complicated damages that ordinary people will not be able to identify. A clogged drain and a damaged septic tank are two examples of issues that you will not be able to fix yourself as this requires advanced knowledge in plumbing. Contractors will test the general details of your plumbing system and based on their findings, they will suggest applicable repairs and fixes. What matters most is that you have a preventative measure to avoid a plumbing disaster.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brandon Smith, a blogger in the home improvement and plumbing industry.  He is currently writing for Lucke Plumbing, a heating and plumbing services company.


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