It usually takes a burst pipe or a clogged drain before we pay any attention, and thankfully we have a nice selection of plumbing professionals to choose from when things go awry. Although it is always smart to be prepared for emergencies, these emergencies tend to be expensive to repair. Emergencies by nature are unpredictable, and often the best way to deal with them is prevention.
The professionals at Orange Coast Plumbing have come up with a comprehensive to-do list for keeping your pipes in good condition. This list will not solve your plumbing problems, but it can certainly put you in a better position to prevent or weather them. The better care you take of your pipes, the longer they last. And although plumbing professionals are sometimes adept at repiping buildings of all kinds for a low rate, the fact is that repiping is often expensive. So to help you avoid plumbing emergencies – and the high cost and disruption they cause to your daily life – here are a few tips to help keep your pipework in the best possible condition.
1. Reduce Your Water Pressure
For some, high water pressure feels like a luxury. Sinks fill faster, toilets refill quickly, and a high pressure shower feels great and invigorating. However, too high a pressure can cause a strain on your pipes and joints, and damage some appliances. The ideal water pressure for your home is between 40 to 85 psi. Most appliances are designed to work within these limits and having too high a water pressure may invalidate some warranties.
You can check your water pressure yourself by using a low cost pressure gauge available for a few dollars from hardware stores. If your pressure is too high, your plumber can install a pressure reducing valve. This valve has a diaphragm which absorbs the pressure of the water entering your house, causing the water flowing into your home to come in at a normal pressure. This option will cost far less than an emergency plumber visit to fix burst pipes.
2. Reduce the Hardness of Your Water
You can check the hardness of your water by contacting your water supplier or visiting the EPA website. All water suppliers must submit a water quality report every year, and this is available for you to check the hardness of your water. If the result for your water is above 140 ppm (parts per million), you have hard water. Another sign of hard water is a mineral buildup on your faucets or shower head.
The only way to counteract hard water is to soften it. In the past, the only way to soften water was to use a sodium softener. This must be installed by a plumber, as it involves cutting pipes. There are, however, alternatives to the sodium water softener. Electronic water softeners use electric pulses to dissolve the particles. There is no need to cut the pipes to install these systems. In addition to being a viable DIY project, they do not add any sodium to your water. An electronic device is usually much less expensive than a sodium water softener, and can be just as effective at reducing hard water damage to your pipes and faucets.
3. Avoid Drain Cleaning Chemicals
When you have a blocked pipe, it can be tempting to pour a chemical cleaner down the drain to clear the blockage. While this may enable the water to drain away, it is only a short term fix and can actually damage the pipes. Chemical drain cleaners often don’t remove the entire clog. In such cases, the drain will clog back up relatively quickly. Harsh chemicals can also erode your pipes each time they are used.
The best alternative is to use a snake. Your plumber will be happy to snake your drains for you, or you can buy a domestic snake from your plumbing supply store and do the job yourself. The best way to avoid clogs is to be careful what you put down the sink in the first place. Grease may be a liquid when it is poured down the drain, but it will solidify and build up on the inside of your pipes. Pour grease into a container and dispose of it with your garbage. Prevent food from entering your drains by fixing a screen over the sink outlet. Also, showers can clog up with the accumulation of hair and soap. You can use screens to avoid these issues as well.
4. Winterize Your Pipes
In the colder parts of your house, make sure that all pipes and faucets are insulated. This includes unheated garages and under-house crawl spaces. Hardware stores sell pipe insulation that is specifically designed to insulate pipes quickly and easily. Once you have insulated your pipes, check them once a year before winter sets in to make sure that your insolation is still properly attached.
Another useful tip is to leave one tap dripping. This moving water – though moving slowly – is much harder to freeze. One tap dripping slightly should be enough.
5. Regularly Check Your Outside Drain Pipes
The main sewer line is something that homeowners often overlook. Your sewer line takes the waste from your house to the municipal line or septic tank. Over time, plant roots can penetrate your sewer pipe, which eventually results in a blockage. A regular video inspection is the most effective way to ensure that your pipes have not been breached. If they have, your plumber can easily remove the intrusion with a hydro-jet, or recommend other options. If you have a septic tank, you should have it cleaned out every 5 years or so rather than wait until it becomes blocked.
You can do many of these jobs yourself. If you would rather use a professional plumber, consider: the cost of performing most small maintenance tasks will be less than the cost of repairing a leaking pipe. Leaking pipes carry with them a myriad of related problems, each of which has its own cost in money and convenience. Make routine maintenance of your plumbing part of your household chores. That way you will not be caught off-guard with a plumbing emergency, and will enjoy healthy plumbing for a long time.
Company Name: Orange Coast Plumbing
Contact Person: John Flynn
Address:21162 Banff Lane
City: Huntington Beach
Country: United States