While you are doing all of your yearly spring cleaning and home maintenance, why not do a quick inspection of your plumbing, as well? All too often homeowners find that they have a plumbing problem once it’s too, late leading to extremely high repair bills. There are plenty of precautions that you, as a homeowner, could be doing to ensure your plumbing is in good working order.
Here are few steps that you can take to avoid costly plumbing and restoration repairs:
- Ensure that all tubs and bathroom sinks have strainers installed to prevent hair and other debris from clogging your drain lines. If they appear old and worn or are not installed your local hardware shop should have plenty of options. They are easily placed over drains and cost less than $5.00. Here are some from Home Depot.
- Check commodes for hidden leaks. Leaking toilets cost homeowners hundreds of dollars every year. Toilets are easily checked for leaks by adding 5-6 drops of food coloring to the tank. If you see any coloration in the bowl within about 30 minutes, then you have a leak. You should also check along the tank and bowl for any leaks or cracks. If the toilet has any movement at all, the bolts at the bottom of the toilet should be tightened; just be sure not to tighten them too much. If the bolts are tight and you still have any kind of movement you may have a bigger problem that you should have a professional investigate promptly.
- Flush each toilet to ensure they are flushing properly. If the handle has to be held down for a good flush or jiggled to stop the water from running, you should look into replacing the old worn toilet tank parts. This is also in inexpensive fix that will surely lead to savings every month on your utility bill.
- Inspect shower heads for mineral deposits. Soaking a clogged shower head in vinegar over night should solve your problem. Most shower heads can easily be unscrewed from the shower arm and placed in a bowl over night. If you are unable to remove the shower head, fill a plastic Ziploc baggie with enough vinegar to cover the area needing cleaned and place it over the shower head secured with a rubber band over night. After allowing it to soak in the vinegar gently scrub it with an old toothbrush to remove any additional deposits. You should be left with a clean unobstructed shower head.
- Water heaters should be drained once a year to flush away corrosion that causes sediment. Sediment will lead to reduced efficiency effectively shortening the life expectancy of your the water heater. If you feel confident, hook a hose to the drain on the water heater and drain several gallons of water out. This should cause the flush and removal of the sediment at the bottom of the water heater. Most manufacturer’s websites have specific instructions on handling your water heater, check the label for make and model.
- Check the overall condition and surroundings of your water heater. If your heater is more than 15 years old, consider replacement. Check the area surrounding the water heater to be sure there are no flammables stored near your water heater. Check the temperature setting, it should be no higher than 120 degrees to prevent scalding. Old water heaters and those that have a high temperature setting use much more energy leading to higher monthly energy bills.
- Check supply hoses connected to your dishwasher, washing machine, and/or ice maker for bulges and leaks. Hoses that are over 10 years old or are showing signs of weakness should be replaced before they spring a leak and cause water damage to your home. If you are replacing them consider using stainless steel hoses wherever possible, they are much more reliable and less prone to springing a leak.
- Check outside hose bibs for leaks that may developed over the winter months. If you notice a leak inside your home when the hose bib is on, it could definitely be the hose bib. One way to check for unseen leaks on your hose bib, simply cut it on and hold your thumb or hand over the opening. If you do not feel any pressure then you may have leak going to the hose bib. If there are no leaks you should feel pressure from the running water.
- If you are comfortable getting on your roof, check for birds nests in your vent pipes. All homes have vent pipes coming from the roof to provide adequate flow of your drainage system. Vent pipes that are blocked can lead to backups and a constant foul smell in your home.
- If your home is on a crawl space, check the water and sewage lines under your home. Wait for a day that the ground should be dry and inspect for pooling or wet spots indicating a water line leaking. If you notice a sewer smell under your home you probably have some type of sewage leak that can lead to thousands of dollars in repair and restoration if not remedied quickly.
If you find that you are in need of a plumbing professional in the course of your inspection, give R. A. Styron a call. We offer a full plumbing service with top notch plumbing technicians that can handle any plumbing problem you may be experiencing. Give us a call today at 757-420-5488 or visit our website to schedule your appointment.