Most people don’t really think about their water supply and sewage system unless there’s a problem. The pipes are hidden in the wall or under the floor and it’s impossible to visually inspect their state, which is exactly why proper plumbing maintenance should be given the right amount of attention.
In doing so, you can prolong the life of your pipes, prevent major accidents and expensive repairs, but you need to know exactly what should be done and how often. So, let’s take a look at some of the things you should do if you wish to keep your pipes as clean and functional as possible for years.
Don’t use chemical drain-cleaning products
The most common plumbing problem are clogged drains. Grease, detergents, food, waste and hair cause drains to clog. What you shouldn’t do in such situation is use chemical products to clear them, since they erode cast-iron drainpipes and often don’t remove the clog. This, in turn, means you’ll continue using chemical products and further erode the pipes.
For less serious clogs you can go to a local hardware store and buy your own snake and try cleaning the drains yourself. If that doesn’t work, you’d be best advised to ask for help. Professionals, such as these North Shore’s experts for blocked drains, use a plumbing snake to unclog drains, sewer and storm water pipes without causing any damage to them.
Prevent future clogging
In case of clogs, the backed-up water adds pressure to the wastepipes, thus shortening their lifespan. That’s why you need to be careful what you let go down your drains. Don’t let food scraps get into your kitchen drains, remove hair before it ends up in your bathroom drain and try to make sure that you don’t throw anything down your drains that might cause clogging.
You can also install screens over drains in showers and tubs and occasionally remove what hair you can to prevent build-ups. Food leftovers should be thrown into the trash and liquid grease should not be poured down the drain, but rather into a sealable container that’ll be put in the garbage once it cools. Grease is liquid only when it’s hot and once it cools it solidifies and creates deposits on the pipe walls.
Reduce the pressure
Although most of us enjoy having a strong water pressure, we need to be aware that it stresses you pipes, which increases the likelihood of a leak. That drastically shortens the life of your plumbing, since pipe joints, faucets and valves work harder. Even if you have a low-flow showerhead installed, it won’t affect pressure in the pipes, but only the amount of water coming out of the showerhead.
Keep sewer lines and septic tank clear
If there’s a municipal sewer, you should hire a plumber to clean the main sewage on a regular basis. Hiring an expert is vital, since they can also remove tree roots that eventually always work their way into the pipes, which creates significant sewage backups.
On the other hand, if you have a septic system, your tank needs to be pumped out usually every three to five years, but that varies depending on the number of people living in the house and how much water you use.
It’s vital that you know where your home’s main water shut-off valve is, because you need to react quickly in case there is a leak. Also, all hoses should be removed from outdoor spigots during winter months, because water might freeze and crack the pipes and consequently cause a flood. Having said that, you might want to consider adding pipe insulation to the plumbing in cold parts of the house, such as basements and garages to avoid frozen pipes and shorten the wait for hot water. Finally, you need to deal with any issues immediately, since even a small leak can make pipes corrode more quickly and cause great and expensive damage.
Prevention is definitely the best and cheapest way of extending the lifespan of your pipes, which means you’ll spend less on repairs and will be able to postpone the inevitable instalment of new pipes. As you can see, the actions you need to take are not that difficult or expensive and they are always worth taking.