YOUR HOME IS YOUR CASTLE AND INVESTMENT. Like anyone, you want your investment to be protected and for it to receive the utmost care.
Plumbing is a part of a home that you may spend very little time thinking about. For most homeowners, if water is coming through the pipes, it’s the right temperature, and it’s clean, it isn’t something they ever think about. But a little bit of preventative maintenance and inspection throughout the year can prevent the costly plumbing calls when you have no choice but to think about – and pay for – plumbing repair and maintenance.
Here are four things you can do to keep your home’s plumbing in top shape and catch issues early on when they’re relatively easy to fix.
A BIT OF PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE CAN PREVENT COSTLY PLUMBING CALLS
MAINTENANCE TIP 1: WINTER SHUT OFF
If you are a first-time homeowner, you may be wondering what you need to do to take care of your pipes – particularly if you live in a cold-weather climate.
The main thing you can do is to shut off your outdoor faucets once the growing season ends. Shut the faucet off at the shutoff valve (at your PEX manifold for newer homes or on the pipe for older homes). Open your faucet up to release any additional water so that the pipe does not freeze or crack. You must make sure to drain the pipe!
In addition, don’t leave hoses attached. Drain them, remove them, and bring them into storage. Again, if you don’t drain the hoses and they are in a garage or shed that is not insulated or heated, they also could crack.
MAINTENANCE TIP 2: Check for Faucet Leaks
A leaky faucet or plumbing fixture can add a huge expense to your water bill resulting in multiple gallons of water being wasted a day. The good news is that it is not difficult to make sure everything is in top shape! While you’re using the shower, check to make sure it’s not leaking from places it shouldn’t. Listen for a toilet running when it should not, signaling that there’s a possible leak either in the tank or that there’s a worn out washer and it’s leaking onto your floor and under the toilet. Make sure your sink faucets aren’t dripping and that there are no leaks under your sinks and in your sink cabinets.
Completing these quick inspection items can save you hundreds of dollars on your water bill.
MAINTENANCE TIP 3: WATER HEATER INSPECTION/DRAIN
A water heater that does not heat properly is not only inconvenient, but it can cause additional expense to your electric or gas bill when it has to work harder to heat the water in the tank. Hire a qualified and licensed plumber to inspect your water heater and, if necessary, to drain sediment from the bottom of the tank. JW Plumbing recommends doing this yearly to ensure that you always have hot water at your disposal and any issues are recognized early.
Of course, if you have a tankless hot water heater, many of these maintenance steps become unnecessary!
MAINTENANCE TIP 4: Inspect Your Sump Pump
For homes with basements, a working sump pump is the difference between a nice, dry, livable space and a nightmare flood.
Keep your sump pump in working order by checking and testing it bi-yearly. Clean your sump pit from any dirt, gravel, and mud using a shop vac. This will keep your sump pump clean from debris.
Make sure to test your sump pump. You can do this by filling your sump pit with enough water to trigger the pump to turn on. You don’t want to find out that your sump pump doesn’t trigger when you need it the most!
If your sump pump regularly runs, or if you commonly have power outages, get a backup system. Most battery systems will keep your sump running for 8 – 12 hours. Water powered sump pumps use your home’s water pressure to create a suction to pump water from your sump pit. (Note: Water powered sump pumps cannot be used if you are on a well.)
These easy plumbing maintenance steps can go a long way to prevent long-term and high-cost issues in your home. Do these steps seasonally and you will keep your home’s plumbing running smoothly for many years to come!