Unless you happen to be a professional plumber, bookmark these handy tips to not only save on your water bill every month, but also on unplanned plumbing issues.
1. Get to understand your water main
Your main is the first access point for water going into your home. This is typically located near the hot-water heater. On the main you’ll see a shut-off valve (either a lever or wheel). This valve will completely stop the flow of water into your home once you close it. If you ever need to do a serious plumbing project, or if you have a leak or burst pipe, to shut off the main is the first step you should take.
2. Find out how to clear clogged drains
At some point, you will have to face a clogged drain. When taking showers, we lose hair and it builds up over time. Your first instinct when confronted with a clog could be to use a liquid drain cleaner, which is a big mistake. Why? Because the chemicals in Liquid Plumber and other similar products can harm your plumbing infrastructure. If your sink or tub keeps backing up, get a snake or similar tool which will pull out any debris blocking your pipes.
3. Keep tabs on the water pressure
This is such a crucial a part for healthy plumbing – similar to us getting our vital signs taken whenever we visit the doctor, you ought to be monitoring your homes’ water pressure as often as possible. You can buy a simple, easy-to-use pressure gauge for cheap at any hardware store. If you would like a more accurate, modern solution, install a sensible home water monitoring system. That way you’ll stay on top of your water pressure, track water usage and detect leaks.
4. Have a working pressure reducing valve
If you are experiencing high water pressure in your home, you will have to bring it down to a safe level. You can do so by installing (or replacing) your pressure reducing valve, or PRV. PRVs are a must have in most homes and depend upon a municipal water system. That’s because municipal water companies need to pump water at high pressures to serve fire hydrants, high-elevation homes and high-rise buildings. They often deliver water at over 100 psi, while your home and all of your plumbing fixtures, are designed for pressure within the 50-60 psi range.
5. Take good care of the toilet
Start by ensuring that you only flush toilet paper and your own waste. Things like cotton swabs, paper towels, baby wipes and such can easily cause clogs. If you don’t already own a plunger, pick one up from your nearest hardware store.
6. Respect the garbage disposal system
Garbage disposals are amazing tools to have in any home but they can’t handle everything. Be wary of pouring any oils, fats, or grease down the drain. It will solidify when they cool down and cause build-up in your pipes.
7. Clean out your gutters as often as is needed
Gutters aren’t technically a part of your plumbing, however, they’re important for keeping water out of your home. Clogged gutters can cause water to pool on the roof, compromising the structure and eventually letting the water in. As a home-owner, water damage is one of the main things you want to avoid at any cost. Have them regularly cleaned out – early spring and late summer.
8. Protect pipes from the cold
Water damage resulting from frozen pipe bursts can easily lead to an unwanted repair bill. If you are living in an area where it gets very cold in winter, consider winterizing the pipes. Make sure that your house is insulated properly and that any fixtures and exterior pipes have some kind of cold weather protection.
Pipe bursts frequently happen when people are not at home for an extended period of time and the thermostat’s setting is too low.
9. Know when to replace the hot-water heater
Water heaters have a certain lifespan. When yours are entering the double-digits, it’s probably time for a replacement. There is enough water in the heater to cause some serious damage should the tank spring a leak. While replacing your water heater, it is a good idea to replace the suction pump too.
10. Always search for signs of water leaks
A water leak can happen at any place in your home. Sometimes it is easy to see, but you’d be surprised at how often small water leaks fly under the radar. Spots of discoloration on walls and ceilings are usually a tell-tale sign of a water leak.
11. Fix dripping taps
Dripping taps are very annoying. They also waste plenty of precious water. Even a drop or two every minute adds up to thousands of litres in a year’s time, not to mention the extra money you will have to pay for a higher water bill. Dripping faucets are usually caused by two things; water pressure is too high, or there is a faulty component within the fixture. If you’ve got a working PRV, chances are very good that it is the latter.
Not every plumbing problem has a simple DIY solution. Having someone on speed-dial with which you are on a first name basis will make life easier a lot easier should you end up with a plumbing disaster, especially at night.
Ant projects is proud to be a 24/7 standby handyman service in case the unthinkable happens.