Toilet Problems, How To Use a Plunger, Great DIY plumbing projects, Plumbing maintenance

A Little Plumbing Maintenance Will Go a Long Way

Imagine if we never changed our oil or tuned up our cars. The same goes for our home’s plumbing system, which has more moving parts than you might realize. Think about how often we flush our toilets daily, or consider the water heater that’s constantly in use. We have a network of pipes always under pressure and compression and shut-off valves that remain open until something goes wrong.

Another easily overlooked aspect is the washing machine hoses, which need regular checks and changes. Our laundry standpipe can cause unpleasant odors in the laundry room if not cleaned properly. And let’s not forget the sewer line, tirelessly removing wastewater year after year. By understanding what plumbing maintenance entails, we can prevent major issues and keep our home’s plumbing running smoothly, just like regular maintenance keeps our cars on the road.

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Let’s Start with Our Water Heater Maintenance

Maintaining your water heater is important for providing a reliable hot water supply. Upkeep will also extend the appliance’s lifespan. Regular plumbing maintenance includes flushing the tank annually to remove sediment buildup, which can hinder efficiency and cause the heater to work harder than necessary. Inspecting the anode rod every few years and replacing it when it’s heavily corroded can prevent tank rust and prolong its life. It’s also important to check the temperature and pressure relief valve to make sure it’s functioning properly, as this is a key safety feature.

By adjusting the thermostat to a safe and efficient temperature, generally around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you can prevent scalding while optimizing energy use. Regularly inspecting for leaks or corrosion around the tank and its connections can catch minor issues before they become major problems. Through these simple maintenance steps, you can keep your water heater in top condition while avoiding unexpected breakdowns.

Inspect Your Shut-Off Valves Twice a Year

Inspecting shut-off and compression valves at least twice a year is necessary for maintaining a smoothly operating plumbing system. During these inspections, check for any signs of leaks, corrosion, or wear and tear. Most plumbing experts say a compression valve’s lifespan is 8-10 years.

Applying a couple of drops of oil to the valve can keep it lubricated so it operates smoothly when needed. Make sure you turn the valve on and off to allow lubricant to seep in. This simple step helps prevent the valves from seizing up due to rust or mineral buildup, making it easier to turn them off in an emergency or during routine maintenance. Regular inspection and lubrication will extend the life of these valves and reassure you that your plumbing system is in good working order.

Check Shut Off Valves is Part Of Plumbing Maintenance

Check Your Water Pressure 2-4 Times a Year

High water pressure in your home can lead to a range of plumbing problems and increased wear and tear on your system. At the same time, it might seem beneficial to have strong water flow; however, excessively high pressure can strain pipes, joints, and fixtures, causing leaks and bursts over time. This constant stress can also reduce the lifespan of appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters.

Additionally, high water pressure increases the risk of water hammer—a loud, banging noise in the pipes that occurs when water flow is suddenly stopped. This phenomenon can further damage your plumbing system. To mitigate these issues, installing a pressure regulator and regularly monitoring water pressure can help maintain it safely, typically between 40 and 60 psi, ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your home’s plumbing.

Checking your water pressure is as simple as attaching a water pressure gauge to your outdoor water spigot and turning it on all the way. You can purchase a water pressure gauge at your local home center or online for less than ten dollars.

Water pressure Check is Part of Residential Plumbing Maintenance

Often Overlooked Changing Laundry Machine Hoses is Part of Home Plumbing Maintenance

Changing your laundry machine hose is a critical yet often overlooked maintenance task that can prevent serious water damage and costly repairs. Due to constant water pressure and aging materials, hoses can become brittle, cracked, or worn out over time. A deteriorating hose is more likely to burst, potentially flooding your laundry room and causing extensive damage to flooring, walls, and nearby appliances.

Regularly inspect and replace the hoses, ideally every five years or sooner if signs of wear are present, guaranteeing a secure and leak-free connection. Opting for high-quality, reinforced hoses can provide added durability. By staying proactive with this simple maintenance task, you can avoid the inconvenience and expense of water damage.

As Part of Your Plumbing Maintenance Check for Water Leaks Once Every Three to Four Months

Locating water leaks is crucial for conserving water, reducing utility bills, and preventing property damage. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), household leaks can waste nearly 10,000 gallons of water annually, with ten percent of homes having leaks that waste 90 gallons or more daily. Common leaks include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves, which are often easy to fix and can save homeowners as much as 10% on their water bills.

Beyond the financial savings, promptly addressing leaks helps to preserve valuable water resources and reduce the strain on local water treatment facilities. Additionally, fixing leaks prevents the growth of mold and mildew, which can pose health risks, and protects your home’s structural integrity. Regularly inspecting your home for leaks and addressing them immediately can contribute to a more sustainable environment.

How to Check For a Water Leak

  1. Turn off the water to your home.
  2. Locate the water meter; it usually sits near the street.
  3. Remove the lid and clean the glass so you can get a clear visual.
  4. There are two leak flow indicator dials: a spinning circle and a triangle.
  5. With all your water turned off, check and see if the flow indicators are spinning. If they’re spinning, you have a leak.
  6. Don’t stop! Find the valve box housing your shut-off valve to the landscaping and turn it off.
  7. If your flow indicator dial stops when you turn it off, the leak is in the landscaping. However, if it persists, the leak is in your home.

Leak checks are all part of responsible plumbing maintenance.

energy efficient plumbing fixtures

Make a Camera Inspection Part of Your Annual Plumbing Maintenance

If you live in an older home, it’s important to stay vigilant about the condition of your sewer line. Aging infrastructure can be more susceptible to issues like blockages, cracks, and tree root intrusion. If you haven’t encountered any problems, consider scheduling a camera inspection once every two years. This proactive approach lets you detect potential issues early, preventing minor concerns from escalating into major repairs.

However, if you’ve experienced sewer line problems in the past, it’s wise to increase the frequency of these inspections to once a year. Regular annual inspections can help identify recurring issues, allowing for timely interventions and reducing the risk of unexpected and costly sewer backups. Using a high-resolution camera, professionals can thoroughly examine the inside of your sewer lines, pinpointing trouble spots. This detailed view helps plan targeted maintenance and repairs, securing the longevity and reliability of your sewer system.

By investing in regular camera inspections, you protect your home from potential damage while providing the assurance you need by knowing that your sewer line is being closely monitored and maintained. This small, preventative measure can save you time, money, and stress in the long run, making it a smart choice.

A Passion For Plumbing, Sewer Drain Camera Inspection

Slow Moving Bathroom Drains Should be at the Top of the List

Preventing slow-moving bathroom drains is always better than repairing them, so make it part of your regular plumbing maintenance. To keep your drains flowing freely, start by being mindful of what goes down them. Your slow-moving bathroom drain is caused by bathroom products such as toothpaste, soap scum, hair gels, and more. These products mix with hair and form a bacteria called biofilm.

Some claim that baking soda and vinegar used as monthly maintenance can keep pipes clear. A weekly kettle of hot water also works. However, there are products designed for drain maintenance to keep your drains clean and clear. Also, installing drain screens can effectively catch these materials in your shower before entering your pipes.

Visual Inspection is Part of Your Plumbing Maintenance

Lastly, conduct a visual inspection by examining all visible pipes for signs of leaks, corrosion, or damage. Check under sinks for signs of hard water deposits or moisture, including mold. Additionally, check your downstairs ceilings for any signs of staining.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

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I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
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Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
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