Owning a home is incredibly rewarding, but it comes with a lot of responsibilities – including taking care of your pipes. We know that pipe maintenance is probably not at the top of your to-do list, but ignoring your pipes can lead to a number of plumbing problems. To help ensure this does not happen, SafeWise investigated the biggest threats to your pipes and put together this list of maintenance tips.
Here is our advice on how to avoid daily pipe problems.
Below, we outlined six of the most common pipe problems. Keep in mind that damp cabinets, water stains, and other seemingly less threatening problems can be signs of much bigger problems. If you notice problems like these, find out what is causing them and make necessary repairs immediately. Contact a professional plumber when necessary.
Prevention: SafeWise recommends hiring a plumber to inspect your home plumbing every year. They will look for leaky pipes and corrosion, which can cause your pipes to leak. Your plumber can also assess whether the water pipes that supply appliances – such as your hot water tank and washing machine – need to be replaced. High water pressure is a common cause of leaky pipes, so ask your plumber to check your home’s water pressure and adjust it as needed.
Prevention: Residues such as hair, dirt and small toys can block your pipes and lead to clogged or slow drains. Drain cleaner can help remove some obstacles, but if you use it regularly, it can damage your pipes. Location of a drain filter in all the sinks and tubs of your home is an easy and inexpensive way to avoid this problem. If you continue to experience clogged or slow drains, call your plumber.
Threat: Dispose of waste disposal
Prevention: A waste disposal is not a trash can, but many homeowners treat it as one. To avoid the unpleasant experience of a safe disposal, trash is slowly introduced into it while running cold water. It is also important that you are careful about what goes into the disposal. Starchy foods, fats and eggshells can clog your tubes and result in a hilly disposal – so always throw them in the compost or rubbish bin.
Prevention: Frozen pipes are more than a disadvantage – they can burst and cause thousands of dollars in damage. Before starting cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by covering those that may be exposed to freezing temperatures with insulation sleeves or insulation wrapping. Keep cabinet doors open in extremely cold weather so that hot air circulates around the pipes. You will also want a faucet to drip and make sure that the temperature of your home does not fall below 55 ° F. Even homeowners in mild climates should be careful to prepare their pipes for cold weather as freezing can occur anywhere.
Prevention: Sewage sewerage is a nightmare to tackle. Fortunately, preventative maintenance can help you avoid this problem. If you have a septic tank, empty it according to plan. How often you need it pumped depends on several factors, including how many people live in your home and the size of the tank. According to the EPA, most septic tanks are pumped to households every three to five years.1 If your home’s main sewage line is connected to a municipal line, clean it at least every few years.
6. Threat: blasting system
Prevention: The pipes inside your home are not the only ones that need maintenance. Lawn sprinkler systems, also known as irrigation systems, also require TLC. When you stop using your irrigation system for the season, clear the water lines and turn off the system. If you do not do this, water can freeze in the pipes and eventually burst – leaving you with astronomical water and repair bills. Also, if water from the pipes leaks into the foundation of your home and freezes, it can cause cracks and lead to even more problems.
How to minimize the damage of a household flood
Following our pipe maintenance tips will help reduce the risk of situations that could cause your home to flood, such as a crowded sink or a broken pipe. But SafeWise wants you to be prepared if you ever face any of these problems. After all, flooding can cause serious damage to your home: it not only destroys your floors and walls, but also leads to the growth of harmful mold.
Here are three things you can do to minimize the damage caused by a household flood:
Locate the main water valve
Knowing how to turn off the water for your home can mean the difference between a small cleanup job and a thoroughbred flood. Before an emergency on the water takes place, find your home’s main water valve and practice shutting it down. Store tools you may need right next to the valve or somewhere nearby.
Install an automatic shut-off valve
For extra protection, buy an automatic shut-off valve as Leaksmart. This battery-powered valve immediately stops the water to your home when a flood sensor is activated. Installing an automated shut-off valve can be difficult, so we recommend hiring a plumber for the job.
Add sensors to your home security system
Many home security providers offer water detection and temperature alarm sensors that are integrated into their home security systems. If water is detected where it should not be, or if the temperature in your home drops to the point where your pipes can be compromised, the security company will be notified and alert you via email or text message. Adding these products to your home security system is a simple and effective way to avoid a household flood.
From taking steps to prevent your pipes from freezing, to having them inspected annually, it can be protective of your pipes against the most common threats when you are proactive.
Related pages on SafeWise
1. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, how to care for your septic system