Whether purchasing a box of cereal or a boat, we all want to save money. And a great way to save big bucks on plumbing is to minimize the calls to your plumber. This means get in there and do some preventative maintenance.
Let's start with the most typical plumbing problem – clogged drain. Many homes have at least one or two of these that clog every once in a while. A major reason for the blockage is grease. Over the years, this gunky substance tends to build up until it forms an impenetrable barrier. The good news is that there are several commercial remedies on the market. Find out which products flex major muscle when it comes to drain cleaning. You should also be aware that sometimes pouring boiling, sudsy water down a clogged drain will do the trick.
Hair can be another cause of clogged drain. Typically the loose strands get trapped in a screen or drain cover. No worries here. It's easy enough to remove hair from the screen – well before it infiltrates your pipe.
And speaking of pipes, you'll want to make sure none of yours ever freezes. Frozen pipes can often be a very expensive proposition. This problem can be prevented simply by making sure all pipes are in heated areas. If not, they should be adequately insulated.
Be especially on guard in the autumn, when temperatures begin sliding downward. A good preventative measure is turning off the indoor cutoff valve near the faucet, and opening the outdoor faucet. Don't have a cutoff valve? You should seriously think about getting one. Remember, all water remaining in pipes subject to sub-zero conditions will turn to ice.
Take Care of Your Toilet
If you tallied up the average number of hours a person spends using the toilet, the amount would equal about three years. Obviously, you'll want to keep this often-used fixture in top working order. Here are a few ways to achieve this.
First of all, remember that your toilet consumes more water than any other in-home fixture. And you can bet it'll be using a lot more than necessary if it's leaking. Unfortunately, toilet leaks aren't always obvious. A good way to check for internal leaks is to drop food coloring into the tank. Later, check the bowl water. If it has some added color, it's clear you have a leaky tank. A leak may indicate a need to replace the tank ball or flapper. As a rule of thumb, conduct this color test a minimum of once a year.
If you're toilet is in slow-flush mode, it might be on the verge of backing up and overflowing. Partial clogs, sediment buildup, and tank malfunctions typically are the underlying causes. As any commercial plumbing service will tell you, it's a really good idea to perform routine checks on your toilet to detect problems early.
Be especially careful with household cleaners. These have been known to cause some major toilet malfunctions. Leading the list of cleaning culprits are those drop-in cleaner tabs. When these are nearly dissolved, the residue will be flushed into the bowl and ultimately get stuck in the port holes. These openings are indispensable for proper flushing. But don't expect an instant solution. Cleaning the residue requires some intense effort. Without the assistance of a home/residential plumbing professional, you might be waiting many months for the substance to completely dissolve.
One other clog-risk comes in the form of sanitary items. Absolutely avoid flushing these down the toilet. A far safer and more eco-friendly option is disposing them in bio-degradable bags.