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When it comes to owning a home, there’s a lot of work involved. Keeping up with maintenance is the only way to keep your South Richmond, VA, home in pristine condition year after year. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the money to hire a plumber or HVAC technician to come to their home for regular maintenance, leaving crucial parts of the home at risk. If you want to make sure you’re taking the best care of your plumbing system, so you don’t have to pay for expensive plumbing repairs year after year, here are some tips to help you out.
Proper Drain Usage
Perhaps the most important thing to understand when it comes to keeping your plumbing system in good shape is the importance of using your drains the right way. Drains are designed to carry wastewater away from your home, not to be used as trash cans when you want to get rid of waste. Unfortunately, plumbers have to deal with clogged drains caused by everything from fats and greases to makeup products.
As far as your kitchen sink goes, avoid putting food down the drain at all costs. If you do have to put some food down the drain, avoid things like coffee grounds, eggshells, fatty foods and bones, as these can cause clogs.
Keeping your toilet clean is as simple as only flushing toilet paper down there. While there are wet wipes that are marketed as flushable, any plumber will tell you that they simply don’t break down in toilets.
Another important thing to understand when it comes to your drains is how to clean them. For a lot of people, cleaning a drain means reaching for a bottle of Drano or something similar. These chemical-based drain cleaners can actually cause serious damage to pipes, so they aren’t recommended. Instead, you should use enzyme-based cleaners which break down clogs in your pipes without breaking down the pipes themselves.
Another important thing to keep in mind when it comes to preventing plumbing problems is the hardness of your water. While soft water is relatively clean and doesn’t have much of an effect on things, hard water can leave a mineral buildup on fixtures and appliances that can cause a wide a range of problems. In some cases, the lifespan of a fixture or appliance may be shortened by several years if your water is hard enough.
The good news about hard water is that there is a solution. For starters, you can install water softening devices on any fixtures that tend to have a problem with hard water. This is a good route to take if you have a hard water problem, but one that isn’t so severe that it’s causing problems throughout your home.
If you have a bad hard water problem, your best route may be having a plumber install a whole-home water softening system in your South Richmond, VA, home. These systems soften all the water that comes into your home, which prevents mineral buildups from causing problems with pipes, appliances and fixtures. The only downside to these comprehensive water softening systems is that they’re a little more expensive and require more effort to install.
Prepare Pipes for Winter
Ask any plumber what the main cause of severe water damage is and they’ll tell you it’s burst pipes. A pipe bursting might seem a little unlikely, but that’s not the case if your pipes aren’t properly prepared for winter. When water inside a pipe freezes, it can expand and crack the pipe. When this water thaws out again, you’re left with a cracked pipe that spews tons of water and leads to an expensive call to a plumber.
The one good part about making sure your pipes are ready for winter is that it’s a fairly easy job. The pipes that are most at risk of freezing are those in exterior walls, separate structures such as garages, or poorly insulated areas. Often times, simply insulating the area a little better is enough to prevent pipes from freezing. Depending on how cold the pipes are getting, however, you might need to have a plumber install heat tape to keep pipes from freezing.
Watch Your Water Bill
Spotting plumbing problems early on is tough if you aren’t a professional plumber. The good news is, there’s one thing you can keep an eye on to help you find problems before they become too severe: your water bill. While it’s normal for water bills to fluctuate as the seasons and your water usage change, but those fluctuations should be somewhat minor. If there’s a big increase, chances are you’ve got a plumbing problem.
High water bills are often caused by running toilets, which is the ideal situation. While a running toilet can be very expensive, they’re usually pretty easy to fix without spending a fortune.
Sometimes, however, high water bills are caused by a leak in your plumbing system. This is the less desirable outcome, especially if that leak has been dumping water into your crawlspace for months now. In any case, it’s important to have a plumber take a look at your home to figure out what’s causing that increase in your water bill.
A Little Help
As a homeowner, it’s important to understand what you need to do to take care of your home. When it comes to your plumbing system, that means treating drains and fixtures right and keeping an eye on things, so you know when it’s time to get professional help.
If you’re dedicated to keeping your South Richmond, VA, home’s plumbing system in excellent shape, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain is here to help. Whether you need a plumber to stop a leak or install a water softener in your home, we’re here to help. Next time you have a plumbing problem you need help with, give bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of Richmond a call today!