Being a good homeowner, or even a savvy renter, is all about understanding how your home works. If you want to get the best performance and call for the fewest repairs, all you have to do is master your maintenance and know how to identify a serious problem when it crops up. This is particularly important if you want to minimize your household plumbing problems.
To help you get amazing performance from your plumbing and keep even old pipes in good condition, we’ve put together a handy list of ten things every homeowner should know about their home’s plumbing.
Know Where to Find…
1) Your Water Main
Your water main is where water flows into your house from the municipal water supply. Or, if you have a well, the main valve where the pumped well water connects to the house. Know where this is, how the shut-off valve works, and make sure you can use it in a pinch. At the very least, you may need to show a plumber where it is one day.
2) Your Sewer Clean-Out Valve
The same goes for your sewer clean-out valve. Should you ever experience a clog so deep under the house that no amount of plunging or S-trap deconstruction will ever break it up, your plumber may need to open that clean-out valve to, well, clean it out.
Know How To…
3) Shut Off the Water to Sinks, Toilets, and Appliances
Every sink, toilet, shower, and water-running appliance has a connection to the plumbing and a shut-off valve so you can work on them locally without causing a flood. Explore your house and find each and every one. Usually, they will be behind the appliance or hidden inside some nearby cabinetry. Make sure you can shut these off if necessary.
4) Replace Your Sink Aerators
Sink aerators do three things. They save water, they soften water, and they lightly filter water. They also get filthy and eventually wear out. Know how to replace an aerator for each sink faucet. It’s about as easy as swapping bottle tops, so don’t worry.
5) Unclog Your Toilets, Sinks, and Shower Drains
Clogs happen. So you’ll want a few plungers, Zip-its, and vinegar in the house just in case. Know how to tackle every kind of clog, from traditional toilet clogs to kitchen sink clogs. On that note, know how to open an S-Trap to find lost items as well.
6) Repair a Running Toilet
A running toilet is a serious problem. It’s not just a waste of water; it’s also loud and can make your toilet hard to flush at the right time. Know how to replace each surprisingly simple part of the internal toilet tank array. After turning off the water, of course.
7) Un-Jam the Garbage Disposal
Got a fork, rind, or something worse jammed in the garbage disposal? Check the model; you probably have the kind that can be un-jammed with an alan-wrench-looking tool that will twist the blades back and forth until they release whatever was caught.
8) Recognize and Fix Hard Water Problems
Hard water can be as minor as white spots on your stemware or as serious as constant drain clogs and appliance break-downs. It’s just minerals in the water and breaks up with vinegar, but know how to identify and solve hard water when your house runs it through the taps.
Master the Maintenance For…
9) Drains to Prevent Clogs
Know what not to put down the drain. Know how to use drain traps and screens. Know that cooking grease and eggshells down the garbage disposal are not a good idea, and know how to run fizzing vinegar down the drain in a pinch.
10) Water-Based Appliances
Get familiar with any appliance in your home that runs water. The washer, the dishwasher, the ice-maker in your fridge- all of it. Know where the water comes from, how to shut it off, and how to do basic maintenance if there’s a problem.
Taking care of the plumbing in your home is a lot easier than most people realize. By understanding how water runs into, through, and out of your home, you can quickly master a surprising amount of plumbing maintenance. For more helpful tips or assistance dealing with a serious plumbing problem that takes more than elbow grease and a shut-off valve to solve, contact us today!