Hot and cold running water is one of the classic definitions of luxury in our society, but somehow we find it all too easy to take our pipes for granted.
The plumbing in your home was probably installed about the same time the house was built, meaning that older homes are likely to have more plumbing problems than most. However, whether your home is old or new, there are always a few preventative plumbing tricks that any homeowner can implement to keep your pipes behaving properly.
So while you've heard of wrapping them in the winter and checking for leaks, here are five plumbing maintenance tips you may not have heard before.
Have you ever put your thumb over the end of a garden hose? The way the water sprays around is a result of water pressure, which can be surprisingly powerful.
If the water pressure is too high in your home, it could actually start bursting pipes rather than waiting patiently for you to turn on the tap. Home water pressure in general needs to be between 40 and 50 psi.
Now, if you're up around 60, it's time to turn it down for the safety of your pipes. To do so, grab a socket wrench and locate your water main. The pressure can be adjusted by turning the screw carefully.
The next issue to address is the temperature of your water heater. Admittedly, hot water is not bad for your pipes but it could scald you (or a guest or relative). Also, a water heater set too high is killer on your power bill.
Your water heater should have a visible thermostat that you will be able to adjust. The ideal temperature for a water heater is 120 F, though some manufacturers export their units set to 140 F instead which is dangerously hot and unnecessarily power draining.
Make sure to test the temperature with a separate thermometer about half an hour after resetting the thermostat to ensure that the water is at or slightly above 120.
The quality of the water that runs through your pipes is incredibly important. More to the point, what is in the water matters because it has the potential to build up inside or damage any pipes the water passes through.
Hard water is particularly dangerous because the 'scale' – that white stuff you have to scrub off the sinks and shower walls – also builds up on the inside of pipes causing them to clog and take damage.
Now, hard water does the same thing to washing machines, dishwashers, and coffee pots so it's well worth your while to install a water softener if your taps run hard water.
Chemical drain cleaners are often very effective at eating away whatever is clogging your pipes, but they're also pretty good at eating away pipes as well.
If you're constantly pouring Draino or one of its contemporaries down your pipes, you may be replacing your plumbing system sooner than you think. Instead, go with the old school method with half a cup of salt followed by boiling water.
Not solving the problem? Then try plunging (even a sink). And if that does not work, call a professional with a snake.
Finally, you won't need to unclog your drains much if you protect them from clogging contaminants. Drain screens are a little bit 'icky' to clean sometimes, but they make a huge difference.
So, put a small drain screen on your shower and sink drains to ensure things like hair and bits of bathroom debris don't wind up stuck in your pipes.
Many different factors ranging from the municipal water supply to the local faucets can contribute to the health of your plumbing. Yet, the biggest influence is how you use the plumbing you've got. While these updates are something most people handle for their own homes, it can quickly become a hassle optimizing the plumbing for numerous or distant rental properties. Let HomeTeam Property Management help keep your investment property pipes in top condition.
For expert property management services, contact us today!