One of our favorite quotes, “There’s no such thing as a little bit of water,” especially when it comes to plumbing problems. Here are some things that professional plumbers do that you can also do to keep things running smoothly in your home.
Put Food Waste into the Trash or Compost Bin
Grease, fibrous vegetables like celery and eggshells can wreak havoc on your plumbing systems if you put them in your disposal. Contrary to popular belief, your garbage disposal is not designed to break down things like coffee grounds, broccoli, and meat. These items will cause your disposal to overwork and eventually fail. They will also build up on your pipes and cause blockages that will require using a plunger or calling a plumber.
Worth remembering is that what you put into your plumbing system will end up in the main sewer system and can cause issues there too. Those repair costs are paid with your tax dollars.
Scrape your plates into a garbage can or compost bin, and pour your grease into an empty can to go into the trash.
Flush Your Water Heater Regularly
Professional plumbers recommend flushing your water heater once a year to remove sediment that builds up at the bottom of the tank. This sediment can damage the appliance requiring repair or replacement. If you have hard water, as most Virginians do, it is especially important to do this.
Invest in a No-Frills Plunger
There are a lot of fancy plungers on the market that can set you back between $20 - $30, yet don’t do the job any better than the $8 version your grandparents used and don’t make the job any more pleasant. The concept is the same for all plungers: to create suction that will pull a clog out of position. The “old reliable” version works just fine.
Wear Safety Goggles Whenever Doing Any Plumbing
If you are using a plunger and it is “forcing” air or water into a confined space, you never know what will happen. If you are replacing a washer and haven't turned the water off properly, a strong blast of water could hit your face. Protect your eyes.
Use a Strainer to Catch Hair
When hair combines with oil or soapy residue in your pipes, you will be using your plunger more frequently. It is better to trap the hair before it has the chance to go down the drain.
Use a Chemical Free Pipe Cleaner Monthly
Zep Drain Defense, Bio-Clean, and Green Gobbler are just some of the enzyme- based build-up removers you can use once a month to keep your pipes flowing and prevent clogs. They are simple to use and do not damage pipes. They work by using activated enzymes to consume built-up particles in your pipes that then get flushed out of your system.
Chemical pipe cleaners can damage pipes and result in costly repairs. Utilizing a natural solution benefits your pipes and the environment.
Check Your Water Pressure Annually
Low water pressure means long wait times for your washer to fill, and high water pressure can result in burst pipes and damage to your water-using appliances. Think worn-out gaskets and pressure on valves.
Healthy water pressure is 80 PSI. You can pick up a water pressure test gauge at a hardware store, secure it to your hose or faucet, turn on the water, and wait for a reading to register.
If your pressure is too high, you’ll need to bring a plumber to determine the cause and make the repair, or you can do so yourself.
If you have low water pressure, you can ask your plumber about installing a water pressure booster pump.
Stay on Top of Changing Out Your Water Filters
Whether you have a system to soften all of the water coming into your home, or only have a filter on your ice maker/refrigerator, it is important to change these out on schedule. A clogged water filter will make appliances less efficient and can, in time, damage them.
As a helpful FYI, there are site specific water filters that you can use in your home, such as the AquaBliss shower head filter, that can make hard water softer and your shower or bath more enjoyable. These filters are cartridges you can replace as needed.
Install a Water Damage Mitigation Device
We have been offering our members the Flo by Moen device at a significantly reduced price because water damage is our number one claim category. Utilizing one not only saves you the stress and cost of repairing damage from a leak or burst pipe, but it benefits the society as a whole by keeping claim costs down.
Whether you use the Flo device or one from another manufacturer, the benefits of having a unit that can monitor your water usage and, utilizing AI technology, shut off your water main if a leak or unusual use occurs is to your advantage. Every time you leave your home, you’ll know it is protected from one of the most common yet preventable causes of damage.
If you are a member of the Society and are still on the fence about purchasing the Flo by Moen Device, we encourage you to take the leap! You can learn more and buy your device at www.meetflo.com/MASOV. Be sure to have your HO3 policy number available for checking out. Only Mutual Assurance Society members qualify for the discounted rate with installation.
Sources: RD, Buzzfeed