In our last blog post, we looked at some bathroom and kitchen plumbing maintenance tips homeowners could use to detect and prevent any plumbing problems before they become major issues. In this follow-up blog post, we will look at other areas – inside and outside – of the home that can use a little maintenance TLC as well.
Plumbing Maintenance Tips
Now that we have had a good look at plumbing maintenance for the bathroom and kitchen, let’s review some tips for the basement, laundry room and outside areas of the home. A brief caveat, however, before we begin. If you are uncomfortable with any of the steps detailed in this (or any) blog post, or have little to no experience with plumbing, we highly recommend you consult with a professional plumber or plumbing service before undertaking any home plumbing project.
Plumbing Maintenance Tips: Laundry Room
Most homeowners do not think of their laundry room, washers and dryers as being part of their home’s plumbing system. Nothing could be further from the truth however, as it is, indeed, an integral part. Like any other aspect of your home, your washing machine and dryer need maintenance as well.
Perhaps the best tip we can give you is this: never run your washing machine unless you have a full load. This not only saves you money and is good for the planet, but also reduces wear and tear on your machine, water lines and drainage pipes.
At the change of each season, we also suggest checking any hoses attached to your machines. Look for any cracks, holes, leaks and so forth. If you find any, replace them. We recommend use stainless steel braided hoses over traditional rubber hoses.
While you are at it, check that your hose and drains have strainers. Just like the one we suggested you install in your shower, these will help to filter out any unwanted materials and go a long way toward preventing clogged pipes.
Finally, if you own an older model washing machine or dryer, look into purchasing a new, Energy Star model. While there may be an initial investment, the units will pay for themselves in the long run, as they reduce water and energy waste – not to mention most modern units clean more efficiently and tend to save homeowners time.
Plumbing Maintenance Tips: Water Heaters
For water heaters, we have two simple tips that will save you money and help reduce energy waste in your home. They also will prolong the life of your water heater, which equates to big bucks in your pocket!
For starters, most manufacturers set the default temperature of a water heater to 140 degrees. This high of a temperature is unnecessary and results in heat loss (energy waste) and causes water heaters to break down prematurely. If your water heater is set to 140 degrees, change it to 120 degrees instead – you won’t notice any difference, outside of the lower utility bills that is!
Our other water heater maintenance tip is this: drain several gallons from the unit (or hire a professional if you do not know how). We suggest doing this at the change of the season. It helps reduce built-up sediment that collects in the water heater and damages it over time.
Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Outside the Home
Though you may not realize it, your drains and gutters also are part of your plumbing system. If they get clogged up with leaves and errant debris, they can cause serious problems for your home. Clean them regularly or hire a pro to do it for you.
Another area to consider is your outdoor faucets and hose bibs. Inspect these at the change of season (or more often) and look for any signs of a leak, crack, or poor water pressure. If you detect any of these, call a plumbing service right away – especially if you live in an area prone to colder weather.