Even though you might not be a professional plumber, your home is full of plumbing that needs to be taken care of. While you could always hire an expert to maintain your pipes for you, there are things you can do on your own to avoid some startling bills.
One of the best ways to avoid costly water damage in your home is to understand where the pipes are in your home, how they’re all connected, and how to maintain them throughout the year.
Homeowners who ignore the necessary protocol for plumbing maintenance could experience serious water damage that could take months to repair. By taking care of maintenance tasks consistently, you increase your chances of a damage-free home for years to come.
Consider these plumbing maintenance tips to keep your home safe and dry:
1. Know Where the Shut Off Valve Is
If there is ever a leak in your home, the first place you should go is wherever your main shut-off valve is. This valve will stop water from coming into the house and will cut off whatever leak you’re having.
It is important that everyone in your home knows where this valve is, and how to use it.
2.Install Appliance Valves
When you turn off the main water valve, you’re blocking water from the entire house. That means no showers, no toilets, and no running water in the kitchen! Luckily, appliance valves can help with this.
If you have one appliance, in particular, that’s leaking, having an appliance valve can turn the water feed off. However, you won’t be forced to turn off the water to the rest of the house, so everyone else can go about their business without a problem.
3.Insulate Your Pipes
Pipes that are exposed to a fluctuation in temperatures can freeze over and run the risk of exploding. When this happens, your home quickly goes from a dry, cozy place, to a giant swimming pool.
Avoid serious damage to your home by insulating your pipes. This will help to protect the pipes from freezing, and will give you peace of mind even when you’re not at home.
Insulate any pipes that are close to the outside, as well as pipes that are in garages, crawl spaces and basements. The tubes you can purchase are affordable and fairly easy to install. It might be extra work now, but it’s worth it to avoid all of the damage the water could do to your home and possessions.
4.Bring in Outdoor Pipes
Avoid any potential freezing pipes and leaks by bringing in all of the pipes that lead directly to the outside. This is especially true in the colder months when outdoor hoses are left outside and force leaks inside.
Remove the hose from the spigot entirely, and leave it indoors for the winter. You can also install a frost-free bib on all of your spigots for added protection.
5.Don’t Hang Anything Off Pipes
It might seem convenient, but no type of plumbing should ever be used as storage for your summer clothes or laundry. Hanging anything off the pipes can cause the connections and fasteners to loosen, increasing the chances that leaks breakthrough.
It would be especially horrible if a leak started with all of your possessions hanging from it!
6.Utilize a Flow Sensor
This contraption is super handy, and you can find high-end ones for less than $100. A flow sensor keeps track of the flow in your pipes and recognizes if something has changed.
In the event that the mechanism senses a leak or burst, it will immediately turn off the flow to that area of the piping. In these kinds of situations, you can avoid serious damage even if you weren’t going to be home to catch the leak for a long time.
Any kind of service or tool that provides leak detection in pipes can be a great investment to keep your home safe.
7.Jump On Problems
Even if you notice the tiniest drip of water coming from a sink, that means you’ve got a leak. Not only are you losing water that you’re not using, but the leak could also become more serious as time goes on.
With that being said, it’s important that you act on potential leaks as soon as you see them. It’s never a good idea to underestimate the power of a small leak, and this makes solutions far faster and less expensive before they worsen.
8.Know Your Pipes
Knowing as much as you can about your plumbing is important to keep it maintained. You should know what your pipes are made of; the answer usually lies in the age of your home.
Older homes built before 1970 may be made of galvanized iron, which is prone to rusting and corroding over time. If you see any brown coloring in your water, this might be happening in your house. If there are issues with corroding and leaking, a plumbing specialist will need to come in and replace the plumbing.
Even if you’re not the handy person in your household, there is still a great reason to understand how the plumbing works in your household, and how to react in the case of leaks or floods.
All of these tips are easy to complete, and they won’t cost an arm and a leg. Especially if you live in a location where winters are harsh, these maintenance tips are must-do’s to keep your home dry in every season.
In most cases, knowing where the shut-off valve is, and how to use it, is the most important aspect of protecting your home from water damage. In 2019, water damage bills averaged anywhere from $1,143-$4,422, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Thanks to Tom Masters for information in this post