You’ve purchased a new home? Congratulations! You’ve joined the ranks of homeowners, who reap the benefits of owning their own homes, along with the drawback of having to keep it in good repair, often on a budget. Some things you’ll need to call in a professional, but when it comes to ordinary maintenance and repair chores, you’ll be surprised at how much you can do on your own. With plumbing, knowing a few simple tips and tricks can often save you money by allowing you to take care of some common issues on your own.
- Know your shutoff valves. First, determine where your main water shutoff valve is located, so that you can turn off the water in the case of a flood, leak, or other water malfunction. It’s important to know how to turn this off quickly because a water emergency can quickly cause major damage to your home. Every family member old enough to turn this valve off should know where it is. You’ll also want to know, and teach your family members, where the shutoff valves for each toilet, sink, and appliance are located.
- Learn how to clear a slow drain. First, check for any obstruction. In the bathroom, this is probably hair, while in the kitchen it’s often food debris. Once you’ve cleared the obstruction, try pouring in some baking soda, then vinegar, then boiling water. If this doesn’t work, you might use a small plunger or a hand snake to clear a clog that you may not be able to see. Never use a liquid cleaner to clear your drain, because this can ruin your pipes.
- Prevent slow drains so you don’t have to clear them. Don’t dump grease or oil down your kitchen sink, or allow food debris to go down the drain. Use a strainer in the shower and tub to catch hair and other things that can cause clogs before they head down the drain.
- Keep your d washing machine hoses in good repair. These will need to be replaced every three to five years, because bad hoses can lead to floods in the laundry room and adjoining areas.
- Know your water heater. Is it a standard model or a tankless water heater? How old is it, and is it in good condition? Familiarize yourself with your water heater’s warranty, and plan to drain it about once a year.
- Learn to clean and maintain your fixtures. You can clean a showerhead by soaking it in vinegar, either by attaching a plastic bag full of vinegar to it with a rubber band and letting it sit overnight, or by taking it apart and soaking the pieces in vinegar. Vinegar will remove deposits from faucets, too. If a faucet is leaking, turn off the water supply, take off the handle, unscrew the flange, remove the tap bonnet and spindle, and replace any worn out parts. The o ring, washer, and jumper valve are all pieces that tend to wear out, so if you’re in doubt, take the worn pieces to the hardware store for advice.
- Understand your toilet. Keep your toilet free from clogs by only flushing human waste and toilet paper, and teach your kids to only use a small amount of paper. If you’re unclear about whether or not something is flushable, like a feminine hygiene product or a wipe, leave it in a bowl of water for an hour. If it doesn’t disintegrate, don’t flush it. If you do end up with a clog, wait until the water level has gone down as far as possible before plunging, then flush with a bucket of water to control the amount of water in the bowl.
If you’re facing a plumbing problem that’s more than you can handle on your own, we can help. At Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating, we’ve been taking care of business owners and homeowners in Seattle for over 20 years, and we can meet all your heating, cooling and plumbing needs. Our team is well equipped to repair and service every part of your plumbing, including sewer lines, water heaters, leaky faucets, clogged sinks, and more. Family owned and operated, we provide superior service at affordable prices because our customers are our top priority. For help with your plumbing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call (206) 350-0079 or contact us through our website.