Keep Your Home in Top Shape: Six Simple Plumbing How Tos

Simple Plumbing
Every home has plumbing issues every once in awhile. Left uncorrected, some can lead to problems that require expensive plumbing repairs. Others are hazards that can lead to personal harm of adults, children and pets. Some problems lead to waste and high water bills. Here are six things to check or fix with home plumbing.

1.      Drain Flushing

Gadgets that promise clean drains by attaching them to garden hoses and inserting them into drains usually do not work well. It takes professional hydrojetting to clear problem drains. However, some hot water poured down a kitchen or bathroom sink can clear out soap and grease buildup that is causing slow drains.

2.      Shut Off Outdoor Faucets During Winter Months

If there is a threat of temperatures dropping to freezing or below, shut off the outdoor faucets from the valve inside the house. Then, open the outdoor faucet for a moment to drain a little of the residual water in the pipe. Do not leave the faucet valve open. This is the safest route even for so-called frost-proof faucets.

3.      Remove Scale on Faucets and Shower Heads

The cleaning chemical department of grocery and department stores carry lime scale and rust removers that work very well to clean the spouts of faucets and shower heads. Follow the manufacturer directions. Faucet ends and shower heads are usually easy to remove by hand or by using an adjustable wrench. Immersion in the lime scale and rust remover can bring new life back to shower heads and also remove hard water deposits that form at the end of faucets and on faucet screens. Rinse thoroughly before use.

4.      Fix Toilets Fast

A leaky flapper valve or sticking flush handle can waste hundreds of gallons in a single day! Toilets are simple appliances with internal parts that are easily replaceable by the average do-it-yourself type of homeowner. Most toilet part replacements come with detailed instructions, which makes fixing a leaky toilet an easy project to do.

5.      Be Careful of the Garden Hose

Never let any person or pet drink water from a garden hose unless it is marked for potable water use. Many plastic and rubber garden hoses leach toxic substances into the water running through them. This is especially true for water that sits in a garden hose on a hot day. For garden hoses that are used to spray water that will come in contact with a person or pet, choose one rated for potable water use.

6.      Turn Down the Water Heater

Not only does it save money on fuel costs for heating water, turning down the temperature on the hot water tank can also prevent dangerous scalds. Hot water from any faucet should never exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 Celsius). Burns are caused by the temperature of the water, length of exposure and sensitivity of the individual. Babies, the elderly and those with illnesses or taking certain medications may be more at risk.

Not every plumbing maintenance chore, safety procedure or ecologically friendly choice requires the intervention of a professional plumber. There are plenty of things regular homeowners can do to keep the plumbing in the home in tip top operational shape.

Information credited to Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating, plumber in Langley.

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56 thoughts on “Keep Your Home in Top Shape: Six Simple Plumbing How Tos

  1. These are useful tips which one must follow to avoid calling plumbers for minor things. These things are easy to implement and also saves your money.

  2. I love your tips, specially no. 2 “Shut Off Outdoor Faucets During Winter Months”. I never thought of this before but it made sense. At first I was thinking the reason behind this is that water might be frozen inside the plumbing of the faucets and might weaken the pipes, but I guess I was wrong.

  3. I had no idea that a small problem with the toilet could waste hundreds of gallons in a single day. This is a huge wake up call. I think one of my weaknesses is procrastination. Now that I know how urgent these types of repairs are, I will be less likely to put it off. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I learned that the hard way. We had our water meter man knock on the door and ask if we knew of any leaks in our plumbing because our water bill was going to be triple what a normal family pays – they actually inspected and that annoying toilet that ran all the time? Yep, the culprit! Needless to say we replaced the toilet the very next day!

      1. Wow, that is really good of the water company to come and let you know there was a problem. I think that is the hardest part about leaks, they are so hard to catch early on. Thanks for sharing your story, I will keep an eye out.

  4. When real problems occur on your plumbing, it is better to call some real professionals rather than trying to fix it for yourself which may cause more problems.

  5. One of the first advantages of drain cleaning is that you limit the occurrences of clogged drains. Depending on the location of the clogged drain, there are a number of substances that can clog your pipes and render them useless. Hair, objects, cooking oil, mineral build up and food are all common causes of clogged drains.

  6. I agree that it’s a good idea to fix toilets fast. I feel like toilets can go out at any time and so the second you notice it not flushing right is probably a good time to call a plumber. My least favorite things to fix in the house is toilets so if a problem with them can be prevented, I think it’s worth going through the effort of doing so.

  7. Inspect the grease trap’s parts once the lid is removed. You will be removing and replacing parts during cleaning, and you need to know where the components are located and how to install them to put them back in properly. For better results, it may help to draw a diagram of the trap’s interior so that you can refer to during the re-installation process.

  8. Hi Erica.

    I’d keep the comment short.

    These are some really useful tips. Thanks for the post. People should follow these tips to avoid calling plumbers for little things..

    Keep posting good stuff.

    Thanks
    John

  9. I agree that garden hose water can be dangerous to drink. I remember drinking from garden hose at multiple different friend’s houses. That was just the thing to do on a hot summer’s day in small towns. Looking back, I feel very fortunate not to have gotten sick from doing so.

  10. I hadn’t heard of any products that use garden houses to clean out drains, but it’s a good thing to know not to use them. I’ll usually use some baking soda and vinegar, followed by boiling water, when I’m cleaning out a drain. It’s not professional-level cleaning, but if you do it regularly, it can keep your drains problem-free. Thanks for the tips!

  11. Plumbing is a challenging task, therefore if one wants the said job, he must undergo proper training. Plumbing includes the installation and the maintenance of different pipes, fittings, fixtures, valves, tanks and still a lot more.

    Professional plumbers can give appropriate advice on what water pipes is the best to use, especially when your water wipe is already old.

  12. As a homeowner, it is very likely that you want to cut costs with home maintenance whenever and wherever you can. This mindset affects most homeowners at some point, but plumbing problems when they occur are no laughing matter. If you have a problem with your plumbing or you suspect that you may, consider that hiring a professional Plumbing company is a much better and safer option than attempting to fix it yourself.

    1. If you have a wet & dry shop vacuum, it can become a terrific tool to unclog drains. First, set it to vacuum liquids. Cover up the vent to prevent a mess. Then, create the tightest seal you can over the drain. You may want to get creative and adapt an old plunger head for this purpose. With the vacuum turned on its highest setting, it can be powerful enough to draw the clog up the pipe and into the vacuum bag. It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a shot.

  13. The advice to never let people or pets drink from a garden hose was really important to keep in mind. I have two dogs who love to play in the water from the hose, so keeping them safe when doing so is really important. I wouldn’t have thought to turn down the water heater, but this sounds like it has a lot of benefits both safety and cost-wise.

    1. The septic tank is designed so that methane and hydrogen sulfide, as well as water vapor and carbon dioxide, can escape from the septic tank through a stink-pipe, or vent, attached to the outside of the residence.  The stink-pipe prevents the gases from building up in the tank and from causing an unpleasant odor around the tank.  

      1. Drain cleaning is often considered a simple task, but it might not be so always. With plenty of drain cleaning commercial agents available at any store today, very few work effectively to provide long term drain cleanliness and maintenance.

    1. If you are looking for someone to install your grease trap, make sure you get someone with experience. Make sure to ask how long the person preforming the installation has been in the business. Another important aspect is to find out if other restaurants have found the grease traps that they have had installed worked out well for them in the long run. Don’t forget cost either, make sure non of the reviews say that they felt ripped off by the installation company.

  14. These are really essential tips. We need to understand that some small problems can be solved ourselves rather than calling a professional.
    But we should take care of that if we are not able to do it ourselves, we should surely consult an expert rather than damaging your assets.
    Thanks for posting buddy..!!!

  15. It’s a good idea to empty the outdoor valves before the winter season to prevent freezing pipes like you mentioned. A frozen pipe could cause a lot of damage, which could lead to costly repairs. It would also be a good idea to check all the pipes to make sure that there are no issues such as a leak in the pipes leading to the sewers.

  16. These are certainly great tips, I think it goes without saying that taking preventive action is the best way to avoid unnecessary damages. Nevertheless, things are not always within our control. I had the unfortunate task of having to deal with mold that was caused by a leaking pipe in our master bathroom. It was very bad, to the point that our health was impacted by it. Kind of scary to be honest, for that reason I started a small blog regarding dangers associated to mold.

  17. Inspect the grease trap’s parts once the lid is removed. You will be removing and replacing parts during cleaning, and you need to know where the components are located and how to install them to put them back in properly. For better results, it may help to draw a diagram of the trap’s interior so that you can refer to during the re-installation process.

  18. Plumbers who have been in business any length of time can and will give you references. If they cannot, or will not, then consider looking elsewhere. Talking with past customers is one of the best ways to accurately gage the quality of the plumber’s work.

  19. Hi Buddy,
    I found your post very useful and I like the way you explain each and every point in this post.
    You share great tips in this post which will definitely helps people.
    You should inspect your toilet and if there are any signs of cracks or any possible source of leakage then it might be the time to call a plumber. And it is very important to use good material when there is any problem related to plumbing.
    Thanks for sharing these great tips with us.
    Keep sharing more post like this 🙂
    Warm Regards
    Kenneth A. Wharton

  20. Many people don’t understand that private septic systems offer many advantages over public sewer systems. Septic systems provide simple, effective onsite wastewater treatment, as compared to sending waste to a public wastewater treatment plan.

    1. Tips don’t get any easier than this. Put the kettle on or use the stove or microwave if you don’t own a kettle and boil up as much water as it will hold. Now pour it slowly down the drain in two to three stages, allowing the hot water to work for a several seconds in between each pour. This is usually the easiest and quickest way to unclog a drain.

  21. If you have a wet & dry shop vacuum, it can become a terrific tool to unclog drains. First, set it to vacuum liquids. Cover up the vent to prevent a mess. Then, create the tightest seal you can over the drain. You may want to get creative and adapt an old plunger head for this purpose. With the vacuum turned on its highest setting, it can be powerful enough to draw the clog up the pipe and into the vacuum bag. It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a shot.

  22. Many industries function smoothly by constantly dumping the waste, toxic chemicals, biodegradable products frequently in the drains. But soon this result in clogging of drains thus preventing the water flow from the pipes and disrupting the entire system. It can really play havoc to work and its efficiency! The foul stink gradually occurs which further prevails the entire system by creating a disaster if not treated immediately.

  23. Plumbers who have been in business any length of time can and will give you references. If they cannot, or will not, then consider looking elsewhere. Talking with past customers is one of the best ways to accurately gage the quality of the plumber’s work.

  24. Hi
    Great Post!
    I have a clogged drain, but the clog seems far enough down the pipe that I can’t remove it with my little “zip it” tool. And apparently we are out of Drano. We’re a little broke until payday, so does anyone have any ideas for a DIY drain clog remover?
    As a homeowner, it is very likely that you want to cut costs with home maintenance whenever and wherever you can. This mindset affects most homeowners at some point, but plumbing problems when they occur are no laughing matter. If you have a problem with your plumbing or you suspect that you may, consider that hiring a professional Plumbing company is a much better and safer option than attempting to fix it yourself.
    I really like your post! These tips looks very helpful. Keep sharing!

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