Homeownership is rewarding, but it comes with unique responsibilities. One is the need to perform regular plumbing maintenance to prevent future headaches, costly damages, and inconvenient plumbing emergencies.
Every tap, pipe, and drain in your house contributes to the overall plumbing system—a network that is as complex as it is vital. A minor leak today could snowball into a major problem tomorrow if not addressed promptly. By following this plumbing maintenance checklist, you can keep your fixtures, pipes, and drains in good working order for the long run.
Kitchen and Bathroom Sink Maintenance
- Check for leaks: Examine the cabinet under the sink with a flashlight. Look for wet spots, mold, or a musty odor that could indicate a hidden leak.
- Clean the drain: Make a habit of cleaning the drain regularly to avoid clogs. Steer clear of drain-cleaning chemicals and instead opt for natural methods like flushing the drain with near-boiling water or using baking soda and vinegar.
- Prevent future clogs: Consider installing a mesh strainer to catch food particles in the kitchen sink and hair in the bathroom sink. Also, avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain, which hardens as it cools and causes blockages over time.
- Check the faucet: Periodically inspect the spouts and handles. A drippy faucet may signal that a washer or seal needs replacement, while a squeaky handle may require some lubricant. If the aerator is clogged with chalky white residue, detach it from the faucet and soak it in vinegar overnight to restore a steady water flow.
Toilet Plumbing Maintenance
Toilets are one of the best parts of indoor plumbing. Maintain those in your home to make sure they stay in excellent working condition. Consider the following maintenance tasks:
- Check for cracks: Examine the toilet bowl and tank for hairline cracks. While they might seem harmless now, tiny cracks could lead to significant leaks in the future.
- Look for standing water: Inspect the area around the toilet base. If it’s wet or the floor feels spongy, you might have a leak requiring immediate attention.
- Test for toilet tank leaks: A leaky toilet tank may cause “phantom flushes” where the toilet runs for no apparent reason. To detect less obvious leaks, add a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the color appears in the bowl within 10 to 15 minutes, you have a leak. Fixing this is usually as simple as replacing the flapper valve.
- Inspect the flush mechanism: Ensure the toilet flushes properly. If you have to jiggle the handle or the water runs longer than usual, the flapper or fill valve might need to be repaired or replaced.
Water Heater Maintenance
Your water heater deserves special attention in your plumbing maintenance routine. Here are some tips to keep it working properly:
- Flush the tank: Sediment accumulates at the bottom of the tank over time, reducing efficiency. Flushing the system once a year maintains performance and extends your water heater’s lifespan.
- Check the pressure relief valve: This safety device prevents excess pressure buildup. To test it, lift the lever slightly. If water discharges and the lever snaps back into place, it’s working fine. If not, it’s time to call in the professionals.
- Test for leaks and corrosion: Look for puddles or visible rust on your water heater. Early detection can save you from costly catastrophic tank failure.
Garbage Disposal Maintenance
A well-maintained garbage disposal is a valuable asset in your kitchen. Here’s how to keep it running smoothly:
- Clean the disposal regularly: To prevent unpleasant odors, grind a handful of white vinegar ice cubes, a squirt of dish soap, and a slice of lemon every few weeks. You can also use a specially designed brush to remove hard-to-reach deposits.
- Use the device properly: Only put small scraps of biodegradable food items in the garbage disposal while running a steady stream of cold water.
- Know how to reset the unit: If the garage disposal stops working, press the reset button on the bottom of the unit. If the impellers are jammed, insert a hex wrench into the corresponding hole to give it a push-start.
General Plumbing Maintenance
No plumbing maintenance checklist is complete without these general tips:
- Watch for leaks: Always keep an eye out for signs of plumbing leaks, such as water stains on walls or ceilings, lingering musty odors, and sounds of water running when all the taps are off.
- Test the sump pump: If you have a basement sump pump, test it before rainy weather arrives. Do this by pouring water into the sump pit to make sure the device turns on and pumps the water out properly.
- Locate water shut-off valves: Every fixture and appliance should have a dedicated shut-off valve on the wall behind it. Test these periodically to ensure they work. Then, find your home’s main water shut-off valve so you can act fast in an emergency.
- Know the ideal water pressure: Your home’s water pressure should be between 40 and 85 pounds per square inch (psi). If water merely trickles from your fixtures, or you hear banging and clanging in the pipes, contact a plumber for help.
The Role of Professional Plumbing Maintenance
Now that you’re armed with this plumbing maintenance checklist, it’s time to act. While many tasks are DIY-friendly, sometimes you need a plumber. This professional can perform preventative maintenance, handle complex repair work, and give you peace of mind, knowing your plumbing system is in good hands.
Allen Service proudly provides plumbing maintenance, repair, and installation in Fort Collins. With more than 60 years of experience, you can trust our dedicated team to deliver comprehensive, customer-focused solutions that keep your pipes and drains flowing smoothly. We’re here to make your life easier, so call us at 970-484-4841 today to request the plumbing services you need.