Your plumbing system is a necessary component of your home, which is why it’s important to take good care of it. Although most of these systems of pipes are built to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use, the daily burden of consistent water circulation — as well as fat, oil, food scraps, dirt, and debris — can still break it down over time, particularly if you don’t perform regular repairs and maintenance.
When problems are left unattended, it can result in expensive and time-consuming repairs. You can avoid this by taking several precautionary measures to maintain its functionality. These simple fixes ensure that you can extend your plumbing system’s lifespan for as long as possible.
Soften your water
Hard water can leave an excess amount of sediment build-up on your pipes, water heater, and appliances, which will cause them to break down much quicker. Hard water is water that has a high concentration of magnesium, calcium, and minerals. These sediments can build up in your plumbing system, which causes clogs, corrosion, and mineral deposits. Installing a water softener will eliminate these deposits from the water and prevent them from destroying your plumbing system and appliances, thus prolonging its life span.
Turn off outdoor faucets during the winter.
Water that freezes inside pipes can make them susceptible to bursting. It’s important to remember to turn off outdoor faucets and shut off the water supply when the temperature gets colder to avoid this dilemma.
Use your garbage disposal responsibly.
Garbage disposals are one of the easiest things to damage because of how misunderstood it is. As a general rule, fibrous food like broccoli, bananas, and celery, as well as eggshells, bones, and shellfish, should never be thrown into the garbage disposal as this will severely impair the functions of its motor blades. Furthermore, you can maintain the performance and efficacy of motor blades by putting ice cubes or pouring cold water down the disposal regularly, as well as clearing out any remaining debris with a disposable brush.
Protect shower and tub drains
Don’t let hair, dirt, and debris enter and clog up your pipes. You can prevent this by covering your shower and tub drains with a screen cover.
Take care of your toilets.
Avoid flushing solid objects down your toilets, such as diapers, wet wipes, sanitary napkins, and tissue paper. Throw them in the trash instead. These can accumulate in your pipes and cause them to clog up and even burst in some cases. In a clogged toilet, always use a plunger rather than chemical drain products to clear the blockage up. Chemicals can corrode and weaken pipes after long-term use.
Schedule regular preventative maintenance
Hire a professional plumber to thoroughly survey your plumbing system to see if any issues need repairing. They can also perform a short tune-up to make sure everything is in good working order. If you notice any small leaks happening, you should also immediately call a professional to fix it and not wait until it worsens.
Teach yourself the basics of plumbing
You don’t need to know the ins and outs of your plumbing system, but it pays to be at least familiar with the basic configuration of your pipes. This allows you to quickly identify any problem areas, how to take care of them, and when to call a professional. It’s instrumental in teaching yourself to immediately identify any signs of corrosion, leaks, and mineral deposit build-up.
Regulate your water pressure
Your water pressure should be regulated to stay within 40 and 85 psi. Higher pressure will strain the plumbing system and make its pipes more susceptible to breaking down or bursting. If you notice that your water pressure is weaker than usual, it may be a case of mineral deposit build-up in the faucet aerator. All you have to do to fix it is remove the aerators and flush them out with vinegar to eliminate buildup.
Don’t forget to check on your water heater.
Always check your water heater for noticeable signs of corrosion or leaks. If you do see any of these, then you should immediately call a professional to remedy the problem — it may be a sign of a deteriorating unit or that it needs to be cleaned. To prolong your water heater’s life, always keep the temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 49 °C) and protect the unit from moisture and the cold with a fitted topper.