Plumbing: it’s not exactly a sexy topic, but when something breaks, things get urgent fast. If you own a home, check out these plumbing tips to help keep things running smoothly.
1. Don’t wait until something breaks.
Plumbing is one of those things we kind of take for granted unless something goes wrong. We expect our toilets to flush. We expect our sinks to drain. And a lot of times, when we do have a plumbing problem, it’s something that could have been prevented if we’d caught it just a tad earlier. So when you’re planning your routine house maintenance, don’t forget to include routine maintenance on all of the biggies: your water heater
2. Know the lay of the land.
If you’ve got a plumbing emergency, you need to know how to respond quickly. When you move into a home (or now, if you’ve never done it before), you’ll want to make sure you know where the main water supply line is located, where the main water cut-off valve is and how it operates, the location of the main sewer line and clean outs, and the location of the water supply valve for sinks, toilets and major appliances. You never know when you’ll need to switch something off in a hurry.
3. If you’re not using strainers, start… Like, now.
Tons of common household plumbing problems happen because homeowners don’t have strainers on their sinks, tubs and showers, meaning gross stuff like hair, chunks of food, and other residue can clog up your drains. Invest in strainers for your sinks, tubs and showers (they’re not expensive!) and make sure you clean them at least once per week to prevent drain buildup. While you’re at it, take time once per week to run hot water down your sinks to help make sure the drains remain free flowing. It’ll help clear out gunk your strainer couldn’t catch.
4. Stay on top of dishwasher maintenance.
We know, we know—it might seem redundant to rinse off dishes before you put them in your dishwasher. But doing that keeps food particles from clogging it up (they’ll all be caught in the strainer in your kitchen sink, right?) and can save you tons of time down the road. In addition to rinsing your dishes, run a cleaner through it once a month to keep things spotless. If you ever notice water building up inside of your dishwasher, that’s your sign to call a repairman—immediately, before the problem gets worse.
5. Get your kids in on plumbing maintenance.
Gum doesn’t go in the sink. Baby wipes don’t go in the toilet. (And for that matter, neither do food… or keys… or cell phones.) Toilets and open drains can be enticing places for children of all ages to toss all kinds of random things, so it’s vital that you invest in safety gear to keep them away from as many drains as possible (and, well, teach them not to toss Barbie into the garbage disposal).