Most of us have experienced an emergency plumbing repair at some point. A bad water leak, flooded basement, burst pipes, sewage backups. These are just a few of the plumbing emergencies that can crop up at any time, and each of them are very unpleasant and costly!
Fortunately, with a bit of basic preventive maintenance, many plumbing issues can be avoided. Check out these tips for preventing a costly emergency plumbing repair in your home:
#1 – Always Fix Small Leaks Immediately
Typically, a small leak will become a big leak. Tackling it early on is the best preventative maintenance you can do where your plumbing is concerned. Not only will ignoring your leak increase your water bill or tap your well’s reserves, but it puts unnecessary stress on your plumbing system. If you can’t track down where a leak is originating, call in a professional immediately. Mysterious leaks could be causing a lot of wood rot and other damage behind the scenes. Sometimes a scheduled visit from a licensed plumber for a small repair can save you thousands down the road.
#2 – Avoid Clogs, Don’t Treat Them
Take measures to prevent clogs in the first place by watching what you put down the drain intentionally, and what you allow to go down the drain through the course of daily habits. Items such as hair (especially hair!) and glue residues, for example, cause tangled messes that are a surefire way to cause a clog. When you do experience a clog, do not use harsh chemical drain cleaners! While they may work in the short-term, these chemicals corrode your pipes over time, creating major plumbing problems. Try snake tools and cleaning out traps and screens first.
#3 – Drains ARE NOT Trashcans
Plumbing drains are not designed to handle whatever will fit down them, even if you have a garbage disposal. Many foods, such as coffee grounds, vegetable peels, eggshells, and anything greasy, can cause serious damage over time to your plumbing. Never put bones, hard shells or non-food items down the drain, and never dump or flush harsh chemicals down the drain.
#4 – Protect Your Pipes
We are no strangers to harsh, cold winters here in Maine, so taking every precaution to prevent frozen pipes is a must. Schedule some weekend time to add insulation around your pipes in the basement, and add insulation to wall areas behind pipes on outside walls. When temperatures are really cold, run water through your pipes regularly to prevent freezing, and keep cabinet doors under sinks open to allow some heat to get in there. These are both good preventative measures for avoiding frozen pipes. If you have an outdoor water spigot, be sure to shut it off and drain it each fall, or install a frost-proof outdoor faucet unit.
#5 – Care for Your Toilet
A common bad habit is to flush things that are not meant to be flushed. Just because it fits doesn’t mean you should flush it! Baby wipes, feminine products, paper towels, along with buckets of dirty wash water, should never be flushed. These items do not breakdown and can clog pipes further down your system, and create a serious plumbing situation. Also, make sure your toilet and its parts are tightly secured, the commode bottom to the floor, and the tank to the seat. Nothing should rock or shift when using the fixture.
#6 – Keep an Eye on Your Water Heater
A burst water heater will pump hundreds of gallons of water into your home in just minutes! Make a habit to keep an eye on your water heater for any signs of leaks. While wrapping a hotwater heater with insulation is a common practice to conserve energy, it not only voids your warranty, but hides leaks and other issues until it’s too late.
#7 – Know Where Your Water Shutoff Is
While this tip is not technically one for how to avoid a plumbing emergency, it is definitely one for how to prevent the emergency from creating more damage. When an emergency hits, turn off the water source to the problem immediately. Your toilet has a shutoff at the base of the commode, and your main water valve is located somewhere near where your water supply comes in the building. These are valuable locations to be aware of before disaster strikes!
#8 – Call a Professional
If you are unsure about any plumbing issue you spot in your home, or you don’t feel comfortable working on your own plumbing, call in a pro! Plumbers are licensed professionals who have been highly trained to install and repair plumbing pipes and fixtures.
At 207 Plumbing & Heating, we are here to solve your plumbing problems 24/7 with fast, professional, and affordable service! Please call us with your plumbing questions and repair needs – before they become an emergency plumbing repair!