Water is important to all life forms, but it can be the bane of the frustrated homeowner who has to deal with plumbing problems. Fewer issues, minus a natural disaster, may cause so much damage to a home like a serious plumbing issue. Fortunately, homeowners can take a lot of steps to prevent plumbing nightmares and to minimize the effects when they occur.
Use the sounds you hear from your pipes to help you to determine what they problem is. Certain sounds mean the water pressure is too high. Other sounds can signify loose pipes or slight clogs from calcium or iron build up. Listening to your pipes can save you a lot of money hunting down the problem.
To avoid clogs, pay attention to what you flush. Sanitary napkins, thick toilet paper and baby wipes should never be flushed. These items can expand and cause a clog, or get caught on a pipe. Instead, dispose of them in a sanitary way that does not involve flushing them down the toilet.
Act quickly if your pipes freeze! Shut off the water and open the faucet, enabling it to drain when it thaws. Starting with the faucet, and working your way to the iced-up area, aim a propane torch or hairdryer at the pipe – this will quickly defrost it. You could also wrap the pipe in a heating pad or aim a heat lamp at it, but this will take quite some time. A last resort is to wrap the pipe in rags and pour boiling water over it.
Do not fall for the idea that liquid grease can be easily washed down the drain with hot water. While the grease may flow past the initial drain with the water, it does not take much of a temperature change as it moves through your pipes to alter from liquid to solid. The repeat habit of dumping grease in the sink is a sure-fire way to ensure a hard-to-reach clog forming in the future.
Routinely check your appliance connections and faucets around the house for any kind of obvious leaks or nearby signs of moisture. Not only do even the smallest leaks lead to a large waste of water and money, they also can lead to damage to your home or even the development of harmful molds.
Make sure you clean out overflow holes in your kitchen and bathroom sinks on a regular basis. These holes are intended to act as an emergency fail-safe to prevent spillage from a full sink, but if they are clogged they can’t do their job. You can clean out an overflow hole using the same techniques you would for a clogged drain.
Do not put your hand in the garbage disposal to remove a clog. This can be potentially harmful. Always use tongs to get out whatever is stuck in the disposal. Using tongs is much safer, and you will make sure your hand does not get cut on the disposer’s sharp blades.
Good education and preparation are the key to avoiding plumbing woes. By learning more about plumbing, a homeowner can make the right decisions and reduce the chance of plumbing problems. It is best for one to do one’s research and try fixing one’s plumbing issues before things get worse.