Maintaining a well-functioning plumbing system can save you a considerable amount of money in the long run while minimizing uncalled-for interruptions to your day-to-day life. From preventing leaks to conserving water, here are a few plumbing tips that will not only keep your pipes in top shape but also help you cut down on costly repairs.
1. Upgrade to water-efficient fixtures.
Older fixtures, such as toilets, showerheads, and faucets, may use more water than necessary. Consider upgrading to water-efficient models, which can significantly reduce your water consumption and lower your utility bills. Look for fixtures with the WaterSense label, indicating they meet water efficiency and performance criteria.
2. Insulate your pipes.
During colder months, uninsulated pipes are susceptible to freezing, which can lead to burst pipes and costly repairs. Insulate exposed pipes, especially those in unheated areas like basements and crawl spaces, to prevent freezing. This simple step can save you from the hassle and expense of dealing with burst pipes.
3. Monitor water pressure.
Excessive water pressure can strain your plumbing system and lead to leaks or burst pipes. Invest in a water pressure gauge to monitor the pressure in your pipes. If it exceeds recommended levels (usually between 40-60 psi), consider installing a pressure regulator. Maintaining proper water pressure can extend the life of your plumbing fixtures and reduce the risk of costly repairs.
4. Turn off your water when you’re away for extended periods of time.
When leaving your home for an extended period, such as a vacation, turn off the main water supply. This simple precaution can prevent potential leaks or burst pipes while you’re away. It’s a small step that can save you from coming home to water damage and the associated repair costs.
5. Know the location of your shut-off valves.
In case of a plumbing emergency, knowing the location of shut-off valves can help minimize damage. Locate the main shut-off valve for your water supply and individual shut-off valves for toilets, sinks, and appliances. Being able to quickly turn off the water can prevent flooding and reduce the extent of damage, saving you money on repairs.
6. Check your water meter for hidden leaks.
Hidden water leaks can waste a surprising amount of water and spike up your water bill. Just 1 drop of water per minute adds up to 34 gallons of water per year. This is a good test to do when you’re getting ready to leave for a weekend trip or a vacation when you’re household will be using no water. Before leaving check your water meter and note the reading. When you return, the reading should be exactly the same, since no water has been used. If the reading is higher – your plumbing system is leaking, wasting money down the drain.
7. Maintain your drain system.
Keeping your drain system in good shape will help prevent costly damage and repairs. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Look for signs of leaks, corrosion, or any unusual noises coming from your pipes. Be sure to inspect visible pipes in your home, such as those under sinks and behind appliances.
- Address any leaks promptly by replacing worn-out washers or calling a plumber to fix more complex issues. Early detection can save you from major repairs and water damage expenses.
- Prevent clogs by being mindful of what goes down your drains. Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items, such as wipes and sanitary products, down toilets.
- Use drain catchers in sinks and showers to trap hair and debris, reducing the risk of clogs.
Even with preventive measures, it’s essential to clean your drains regularly. Over time, debris and residue will accumulate, leading to slow drains and potential clogs. Following a good maintenance plan will ensure your plumbing system is working efficiently all year long.
By implementing these plumbing tips, you can maintain a well-functioning system, reduce water consumption, and save money on potential repairs. Regular inspections, timely repairs, and water-efficient upgrades contribute to the longevity of your plumbing and the overall sustainability of your home. Remember, a little proactive maintenance goes a long way in keeping your plumbing system in top condition while keeping your wallet intact.