Modern plumbing is much more sophisticated than it was at any time in the past, but it still relies on a few basic principles, namely pipes, pressure, and valves. When anything happens to one of these components, problems can develop.
If these problems aren’t recognized, they can quickly escalate into much larger problems eventually requiring costly repairs and potentially expensive labor costs as well. With that in mind, a few simple maintenance checks should be included as part of your household inspection routine, so that little plumbing problems can be caught and rectified before they become big problems.
Routine Checking & Maintenance
It’s a good idea to make a habit of checking around the house for impending plumbing failures. Signs to look for are dripping refrigerators, damp cabinets, moisture in ceilings, rocking toilets, and leaking faucets. Not only are these signs of potentially larger problems, but the moisture being released can also encourage the growth of mildew or mold, thus raising health issues.
Know Where Your Shutoff Valves Are
If plumbing fails anywhere in your home, you should be aware of the location of the shutoff valve for any appliance served by that piping. This is especially important when shutoff valves are in relatively less accessible places, or in dark areas where light does not penetrate.
It’s a good idea to have a flashlight on hand right next to these hard-to-reach places, so emergencies can be dealt with promptly. In the event of larger problems, you should also be aware of the location of the main shutoff valve which feeds water to the entire household.
Address the Smaller Problems
A few basic plumbing tools will help you cope with small emergencies in the home. Make sure you have on hand a plunger for overflowing toilets and a pipe wrench and sewer snake to deal with clogged drains and dripping faucets. There are numerous how-to books and online videos available, which illustrate basic plumbing techniques.
It is very important that pipes in your home be routinely checked and eyeballed for leaks anywhere along their lengths, and especially at junctions or valves where piping has been joined. Winter weather calls for extra diligence, and ideally pipes should be insulated to avoid the possibility of having them frozen. Garages and basements are especially vulnerable to freezing pipes if they are unheated.
If your pipes do freeze, the most prudent first step is to shut off the main water supply to the home. Next take a hairdryer and blow it over the affected area so that any frozen water will melt and flow will be restored. When water trickles out one end of the pipe, you’ll know that the pipe is no longer frozen.
Even with routine checking, a good preventive measure would be to schedule a professional video plumbing inspection. This kind of inspection will identify any areas clogged by debris, or any areas that have sustained damage and are in need of repair. Contact your local plumbing professional to arrange a video plumbing inspection.
Make sure your pipes are performing up to par for the long haul by getting in touch with the Pittsburgh plumbers at Mister Sewer. For over 25 years, Mister Sewer has provided their exceptional plumbing services to homeowners through the Pittsburgh area with courteous service and speedy repairs to minimize costs and headaches along the way. Keep your pipes clear and running freely all year round with a little help from Mister Sewer.