Whether you rent or own a house, maintaining the place where you live is one of the responsibilities of being a homeowner. Pipe maintenance is among the things you have to do to fully enjoy the comfort of your home. Maintaining pipes yourself can be tricky and difficult if you do not know what you are doing. But it is worth the hassle because if you do it long enough, you’ll become confident enough in diagnosing your plumbing issues which saves you some money in return.
Not all plumbing situations need the service of a plumber. Although you may not want to do major repairs like fixing a leak under the water pipes of your home, knowing how to do preventive measures and having a little knowledge of emergency plumbing has its benefits.
However, if you have no experience whatsoever, then it is best to seek advice from the appropriate people in the industry.
Without further ado, here are 4 easy plumbing hacks every homeowner should know, including simple tips you can follow:
Hack # 1 Fixing a leaking pipe
Hearing that dripping sound can be annoying, especially at night. Well, the sound serves as an indication that you have to fix that leak because a leaking pipe can lead to serious problems such as water damage to your sink. Depending on the severity of the leak, you can perform DIY to temporarily fix it and call your plumber to see if there are any additional problems.
Leaking pipes under the sink
To perform the DIY, you need some tools and materials such as silicone self-sealing tape, also known as a plumber’s tape.
- Turn off the water flow
- Place a container that can fill the water dripping from the pipe connection you need to repair
- Disconnect the pipe connection by loosening the thread using a pipe wrench
- Apply the silicone tape in a clockwise direction around the thread
- After securing the tape around the thread, reconnect the pipes in the same fashion.
Doing this might only temporarily fix your leaking sink however it can save you some time to save some budget for a plumber to permanently fix your sink problem.
This method also applies to pipes that get loose over time.
If you are wondering why your huge water bill and water usage doesn’t match even though you notice no leaks in your plumbing, then you probably have a leak lying somewhere in your house. To confirm this assumption, turn off all the faucets and observe your water meter for a few hours. If the meter goes up without you using any water, then call your plumber because you probably have an internal pipe leak.
Another commonplace for leaks is your toilet. If you suspect that your toilet might be leaking, try the food coloring experiment. Put a few drops of a distinguishable color of food coloring in your toilet tank and leave it be for a few minutes. If you notice the coloration of the water in the bowl after the waiting period, then it’s safe to assume that you’ve got a leak in your tank.
Hack # 2 Unclogging your drain
Always be careful about what you flush in your drains. If you notice that your normal water build-up in your toilet gets higher, then you might have a clogged drain problem. A good preventive measure is to have are mesh screens or strainer in your sink and bathroom drain. Installing these can catch unwanted material like hairs and bits of food that can clog your drains. Strainers are designed to be removable and can be easily cleaned.
Avoid flushing down oil, grease, fish bones, and bits of food because it can build up in your pipeline and can cause a clog, or in some cases pipe damage.
In case you have a clogged sink, following these steps can help you solve your problem.
- Mix cup of baking soda with half a cup of vinegar
- Pour the solution down the clogged drain and wait for at least 5 minutes
- After at least 5 minutes, pour one cup of boiling water down the drain
- Use a plunger and repeat the process if it is not fully unblocked
The mixture of baking soda and vinegar will help loosen the buildup of food and debris clogging the drain pipe. If there is still a blockage, you can disassemble the drain pipe and manually clean the debris causing the clog.
Your plunger is your best friend in this situation.
If you do not have a plunger, try this quick fix:
- Turn off the water source of the toilet by either removing the valve found on the toilet tank and disconnecting the valve chain or directly removing the valve found at the back of the toilet
- Pour a cup or two of boiling water down the toilet
- If it doesn’t work, try adding a little soap to the hot water
This only works if the clogging material is human waste or toilet paper. If this method doesn’t work, buy a plunger, and in case plunging your clog doesn’t also work, call your plumber immediately because chances are the problem is out of your hands.
Hack # 3 Have a regular plumbing maintenance
Doing weekly maintenance is best for every homeowner. Keeping your home’s plumbing system in good condition is important for keeping clean water flowing and waste flushed out. With the proper maintenance of your pipes, you can prevent future plumbing problems and save on your water bill.
- Check for leaks under your sink. You know there is a leak if there are signs of moisture such as water puddles, watermarks, mold growth, and a musty odor
- Test your sink and shower drain. If bubbles appear while water drains, it is a sign of a slow drain because of the build-up of debris in your drainage. A full swirling water action is the indication of having a good drain.
- Check your faucets. If water comes out of the handles or valves, then you might need to repair the leak by either replacing the faucet or securing the thread using a plumber’s tape.
- Always clean the lint traps after using your washing machine.
To prevent future pipe issues, here are some plumbing maintenance tips you should know!
- To prevent clogged drains, never flush grease, oil, bits of food, and anything that doesn’t belong in a drain
- Install a mesh or strainer for separation of debris in drain water and easy disposal
- If you have a trash compactor installed, avoid disposal of fibrous fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, and eggshells because they are difficult to grind and may cause clogging or damage to your compactor.
- Reduce the use of bath oils and install hair screens in your shower drain to keep water draining freely
- Never flush garbage down your toilet. Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed because other things can create a clog in your toilet drain pipe
- To prevent overworking your plumbing system, take a 10-minute break between showers to maintain optimum water pressure and reduce stress on your home’s plumbing system.
- Avoid using chemical clog removers because they might cause corrosion in the internal of your pipes, causing you more harm than benefit.
Paying attention to signs and maintaining sewage lines might help you avoid a plumbing disaster. If you are experiencing slow drains, sewage backups every time you flush your toilet and notice sewage gas odor, immediately call your plumber because this situation can be dangerous. Grease buildup, tree roots, debris blockage, foreign objects, and collapsed sewer lines are some of the main factors causing sewage problems.
Hack # 4 Know where to look
In case of emergency pipe bursts or other pipe problems, you must know where to look and what to do. Knowing the places to look for in case of a plumbing problem is the first step in addressing the issue.
Arming yourself with basic plumbing knowledge can either save your home from further pipe damage or help you prevent them in the first place. If you have done your part and don’t know what to do, never hesitate to ask for advice from a professional plumber so that they can properly diagnose your pipe problem.
Whether you are too busy or not, learning about your plumbing and having the knowledge of pipe maintenance is essential for every homeowner. Every device or any material object you own needs regular maintenance.
Maintaining your home’s plumbing system is just as important as taking care of your car. Because if you ignore simple little problems, chances are those problems will escalate while leaving you helpless in unexpected hours.
Applying the plumbing hacks above can help you fix or prevent plumbing problems without having the costly service of your plumber. However, there is so much you can do as a homeowner in maintaining your pipes and it’s better to call in professionals than risk damage in your plumbing that can increase additional costs.