The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that installation of efficient plumbing fixtures and their proper maintenance could help Americans cut on water consumption by a whopping 35% or more. Plumbing issues, however, are not always easily detectable which makes preventive maintenance a vital facet in keeping your system in peak condition.
Here’s why preventive maintenance is important;
- Pipes and valves are prone to wear and tear after prolonged use resulting in leaks. On-going leaks cause dampness which is a breeding ground for mold and mildew which affects the home’s air quality. Mold and mildew also predispose the home’s occupants to health hazards such as allergic reactions and deterioration of respiratory conditions such as asthma. Preventive maintenance can help detect leaks and repair them before they develop into a serious problem.
- The continuous pressure within the pipes could lead to a total failure of your plumbing system causing you to incur significant costs. Having your plumbing system checked regularly by a professional could help prolong its lifespan.
- Preventive maintenance helps you save money on your water bills as you can prevent costly repairs, costs arising from water damages, as well as high costs due to undetected leaks.
- Severe water leaks could cause damage to your property due to malfunctions which could lead to a flooded household. Such leaks also undermine the structure of your home as they could cause a foundation shift that could crack or collapse. This is especially the case in houses built more than 30 years ago and whose foundations were mostly made of concrete slabs.
Fall is an ideal time to have your plumbing system checked as winter is not far off. Having it checked now gives you sufficient time to take care of any issues in preparation for the colder months. Here’s a list your plumbing maintenance tips this fall:
1. Disconnect any outdoor water hoses
Summer gives you the freedom of keeping your garden hose in your yard for easy reach. If your garden hose is connected to the faucet during the winter, the water inside it could freeze and expand. This has detrimental effects not only on the hose, but it could also cause the connected faucet to freeze and break. Disconnect the garden hose and drain it of any water within and store it appropriately.
2. Drain outdoor faucets
Breakages on the outdoor faucets as a result of water freezing therein could result in costly repairs on your plumbing system once the winter is over. Drain the water from your outdoor faucets by shutting off the pipe that supplies water to that particular area. Should you be uncertain of which valve controls the flow of water to outdoor faucets, ask a plumber to help.
3. Inspect and clean your gutters
Gutters are one aspect that could make or break your home’s wellbeing. Clogged gutters are major causes of leaking roofs and water damages to the home’s interior and exterior. They are also a breeding ground for rodents, pests, and mold. Should the leaves and other debris be left unattended, water won’t be able to drain as well. The temperature drop during the winter causes this water to freeze leading to roof seeps.
The frozen water and debris could cause the gutters to sag due to their weight. This could result in the hardware which secures the gutters to the roof pulling away or in severe cases, collapsing altogether.
Gutter cleaning is a simple DIY, however, ensure you have protective gloves and a comfortable ladder. Alternatively, you could have professionals do the cleaning.
4. Insulate your pipes
Water pipes are more susceptible to freezing during the winter, hence the need to insulate them. This can be done by either lagging or by using heat tape. The former is made of foam material and is wrapped around your pipes. Besides insulating it also reinforces your pipes.
An electric tape is wrapped around the pipe and is plugged into an electric socket when you intend to heat up your pipe. It has a thermostat that controls the heat. Keep in mind that the thinner the pipes, the thicker the insulating material should be.
5. Inspect your sump pump
Just as with any other system, the sump pump is susceptible to malfunctions, but unlike the rest, its issues cannot easily be detected until it’s too late. Ideally, a sump pump should last for at least 3 to 5 years.
Common signs of sump pump failures include unusual sounds when it is running or if it runs longer or shorter than it normally does. In case you notice such, it is time to have it replaced. Have a technician inspect your sump pump this fall. Keep it appropriately insulated and the area around it clean in preparation for the winter.
6. Check your water heater
Fall is an ideal time to check your water heater before the winter chills kick in. During summer, debris and dirt may find its way to your water heater system reducing its efficiency. Scheduling maintenance not only helps you avoid costly repairs but also extends the lifetime of your water heater.
If you prefer to shut down the water heater during the winter or you plan to travel, drain it completely to prevent flooding. It is recommended that you flush the water in the heater every year to get rid of any sediment build up. This helps prolong the life of the tank as well as the heating element. Check the valves and the pipes for signs of leakages. Replace the filters and ensure that the internal components are working efficiently.
7. Seal gaps
This refers to the areas where the plumbing pipes enter your home. Over time, gaps develop between the pipes and the walls. These gaps could freeze your pipes leading to costly repairs or replacements.
8. Have your septic system inspected
Routine inspection of your septic system during the fall will allow you to rest easy once the winter sets in. Routine inspection ensures any issues are detected early before they escalate. The area around the septic tank should be kept free of litter. Fall and winter could put your septic system under considerable strain especially if appropriate garbage disposal practices are not observed. Avoid flushing of items such as napkins, tampons, and other litter.
Elevate the comfort of your living space this fall by taking care of any plumbing hitches. As your trusted local plumbing experts, we want to help you and your family enjoy all the beautiful weather and fun activities that fall can bring. If you notice any plumbing issues that you need assistnace with, contact our friendly and knowledgeable team online today or give us a call at 707-263-1629!