Simple Plumbing Maintenance That Can Save You Big Money

Every home is different, as is every homeowner. There are a few things, however, that seem universal. Whether you live in Bountiful or not, no one wants to have pipes and water systems in ones home or surrounding area damaged, broken, or even outright burst. Below are listed a few different regular maintenance steps you can do regularly to help cut down on unexpected plumbing problems. Some of this maintenance does require a plumber, but they are still simple regular things that will help you save money as they can help prevent plumbing disasters.

Have the Pipes Inspected

Several factors affect whether a pipe is likely to burst or break. The older the pipes are, the more worn they are and the more likely to have problems. This is especially true of old water mains and sewer pipes. In Bountiful the homes go back to at least the 1800’s, so getting the pipes checked regularly is important. Your Plumber Bountiful can easily do a video inspection of the pipes inside your house, or even outside sewer lines and water lines. This inspection helps diagnose current problems like blockages, obstructions, junk. It also can help diagnose problems that are likely to occur soon by finding things like thinning in pipes that can lead to big bursting pipes, leaks, or other problems. One such common yet unexpected problems Your Plumber Bountifuls’ video inspection helps to diagnose is tree roots blocking up the inside of the pipes or crushing the pipes or water lines from the outside. The roots of trees and bushes can grow into the tiny openings in pipes and when the roots grow bigger they can distort the shape of the pipe (which can lead to breaking the pipe), and they can widen the cracks or crevices they originally grew through as well. Although your plumber can also help with broken or burst pipes, it is a lot cheaper to prevent a problem than to clean up afterwards. Burst or broken pipes can end up costing thousands of dollars to repair, and that doesn’t even include the sometimes smelly cleanup!

Water Heater Inspections

 

Water heaters are an important and wonderful part of our indoor plumbing. Although Bountiful, and the rest of Utah are a desert, it can get very cold in winter. Who wants to take a cold shower or bath in winter? Or to have to heat the water by the potful on the stove if they don’t have to? Not only are they useful, but they can create a huge mess that causes lots of damage when they break down. What kind of damage can a water heater do?

Water heaters can actually overheat, or get too much pressure if the water heater burner does not shut off.. This can actually cause a water heater to explode, becoming a rocket. Granted that is an extreme case, but it is a documented phenomenon. Both Fox News and Mythbusters have covered “rocket water heaters”, along with other sources. The most common, and less extreme results of water heater failure include spraying or running hot water, which can dissolve drywall, break electronics, dissolve or otherwise ruin paper items, damage flooring and ceiling, burn people and pets, or anything else that may be on the floor in the path of the water.Getting a water heater inspection from your plumber once a year can really cut back on the chance of that happening. Your plumber can also flush out some of the sediment and gunk that naturally builds up inside a water heater over time, which prolongs the life of your water heater and saves you money. How does a water heater inspection save you money? The more sediment that builds up in your water heater, the harder the water heater has to work to keep the actual water hot. The harder the water heater has to work, the more electricity or gas it uses, which then increases the bill for those utilities.

Insulate Exposed Outside Piping

 

Some homes have pipes outside that are not underground. This is usually the case in a mobile home or trailer, but sometimes happens with other types of homes as well. In Bountiful the cold of winter is especially harsh on exposed pipes which have no protection against the elements. When pipes are not insulated, the water inside them often freezes. When the water freezes, it expands quickly and often leads to broken or at least very damaged pipes. Since the water can thaw and refreeze often during days in winter when it is warmer and then colder at night, burst pipes become much more of a problem. Of course your plumber can help fix damaged pipes, valves, and water meters, but it will cost more than simple prevention.
Fortunately this problem is easily solved both inside Bountiful and outside of it. Most local hardware stores sell a simple pipe insulation that has a slit on one side. You simply cut the insulation to the length you desire, slip it around the exposed pipe, and then tape it in place. Some people use other methods to insulate their pipes, but this one is fairly simple and cost-effective. If you live in an area that gets especially cold at night (in winter or otherwise), you should add a “heat tape” underneath the insulation on the pipes. Heat tape is a long, flexible tape with a heating element inside. The actual tape runs under the insulation, and then you simply plug in the other end into an outlet when needed. Be sure to disconnect the heat tape when the weather is warm enough, though. The insulation can be left on year-round without harming the pipes. Your plumber can handle this simple fix if you don’t want to, but it doesn’t require an expert.

 

Sump Pump Testing

 

Usually most people don’t think about a sump pump until they need it to work. In areas that get regular flooding, many homes have a sump pump installed. Unfortunately if you don’t test it regularly, you won’t know it needs replacing before you need it to work. Happily, however, testing a sump pump is relatively easy. Just pour some water into the basin and see if it works. It it doesn’t get rid of the water, then you need a new sump pump. Having your plumber in Bountiful install a new sump pump before a disaster strikes is much less expensive than paying for all the repairs a flood can cause to your home, belongings, and stress.

Check for water leaks, blockages, or slow drains.

It is important to check your plumbing for leaks regularly. A simple sight-smell inspection inside your house every couple months and a more indepth leak check once a year is a good way to quickly catch, or even prevent problems. Most leaks, when caught early, are a relatively painless to have your plumber fix, as opposed to all the damage a big leak, break, or burst can cause.

Usually it is obvious if a drain is having trouble, but just in case you aren’t sure, the easiest testing method is to pour a bunch of water into a drain and see if it drains quickly. If it doesn’t drain quickly, there is a blockage or clog. A gurgling sound can also signal there is a problem with your drainage system. Blocked or clogged drains are another simple fix your plumber can help you with, the earlier they are caught the better. Another simple step your plumber can help you with is regularly cleaning out the traps in the pipes under the sink, as well as the garbage disposal. Regularly cleaning the disposal by running frozen white vinegar cubes through it also helps to keep your disposal clean.

Find and Check water shut off valves

 

Shut off valves are another thing we don’t tend to think about until we need it. If there is a big problem with your plumbing, you will want to turn the valves to off to prevent more damage to your home and water loss. A couple times a year it is a good idea to make sure the shut off valves are still working. It is also important to know where the shutoff valves are in case of emergency. If you can’t find them anywhere or the shutoff valves don’t work for some reason, contact your plumber to have the problem fixed. It’s a good idea to have shut off valves several places in your house, such as under the sinks and by the water heater. The most important part is that you can easily access the shutoff valves in case of an emergency. Your plumber can help find, or install shut off valves as needed.

Check your water pressure regularly

 

Even though most homes have a water pressure regulator, it is still important to use a test gauge to make sure you don’t have water pressure that is either too low or too high. If the water pressure is too low, it can make some appliances stop working, and if it is too high it can cause water supply lines to break. Checking how much pressure is coming through is an easy and inexpensive way to make sure you don’t end up having to replace water lines in your home, or repair fixtures like faucets or valves. A good water pressure is usually in the ranges of 40 – 65 psi. If you don’t want to do the check yourself, your plumber is a good resource to help with this regular check. If you discover that you do have water pressure that is too high or low, your plumber can help you fix the problem. Sometimes this means replacing or removing the water regulator, or even installing one for the first time.