10 plumbing tricks everyone should know
1. Know where the shutoff valves are
Find out where the main shut-off valves are located. Your home may have a main shutoff valve inside or outside. These valves shut off the water supply to your home.
2. Know where your pipes are
If you are planning any DIY projects, make sure you know where the pipes are located in your home. You may have pipes in your walls, floor, or ceiling. Accidentally driving a nail into one of your pipes can cause a leak, water damage, and a host of other problems.
3. Be careful what you throw away
In general, when you think of flushing, you think of toilet paper. There are actually several items that owners throw away, including baby wipes and paper towels. Generally speaking, you should avoid throwing out anything other than toilet paper. Even thick baby wipes can get into pipes and create a clog.
4. Don’t wash garbage down the drain
Most of us have washed a plate and seen small pieces of food or debris floating down the drain. This can be devastating to the plumbing in your home. Food scraps, coffee grounds, oil, and starchy foods can clog kitchen pipes and lead to plumbing problems. If you have a garbage disposal, check the manual to know for sure what types of food can be disposed of that way.
5. Invest in a plunger
Not all plungers are the same. In fact, some inexpensive models just don’t have what it takes to clear a clogged drain. If you’re buying a plunger, go for a high-quality model that can push the water down and clear clogs easily. It’s an investment that your home plumbing system will thank you for.
6. Don’t forget the void
For particularly tough drain clogs, like a child’s toy or comb, don’t forget your vacuum. You can use a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to effectively remove the object from the drain. If you have a model with a long hose and an elongated end, even better!
7. Never ignore a leak
If your faucet is dripping, dripping, dripping constantly, avoid the temptation to ignore it. That is literally the sound of your money flowing down the drain. A leaky faucet can waste up to eight gallons of water each day it leaks. That can quickly add up to your water bill.
Don’t forget about your toilet too. If you hear what sounds like your toilet “runs” or leaks, you could be wasting up to 200 gallons of water per day. That can add significantly to your next water bill.
Small leaks may not seem like a priority, but they can quickly become large and cause incredibly costly damage to your home.
8. Do not over-tighten the accessories
Are you installing a new pipe or drain? Be careful not to over-tighten the accessories. This is one of the most common DIY plumbing mistakes homeowners make. Manual adjustment is usually adequate to prevent pipes from leaking. If you are using a pipe wrench to tighten a fitting, be careful not to strip the thread.
9. Keep plumber’s tape handy
The plumber tape is the best friend of homeowners (and plumbers). The plumbing tape is specially designed to fit threads and prevent leakage at fittings and joints. White plumber’s tape is standard (yellow is for gas lines). To DIY a fitting or gasket, wrap the threads with the plumber’s tape at least twice.
10. Periodically check for leaks
After any plumbing project, or routinely on faucets or toilets that you don’t use as often, check for leaks. Run water through the system and check under cabinets or sinks to make sure there are no signs of a leak.
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