Although water is the main source of life, in plumbing it can be the most detrimental and frustrate every homeowner. Fewer issues, minus a natural disaster, may cause so much damage to a home like a serious plumbing issue. However, there are many ways homeowners can protect themselves from these issues and create plans for minimizing these issues when they do arise.
Act quickly if your pipes freeze! Shut off the water and open the faucet, enabling it to drain when it thaws. Starting with the faucet, and working your way to the iced-up area, aim a propane torch or hairdryer at the pipe – this will quickly defrost it. You could also wrap the pipe in a heating pad or aim a heat lamp at it, but this will take quite some time. A last resort is to wrap the pipe in rags and pour boiling water over it.
Use your garbage disposal with the cold water running so that you can preserve the blades of the disposal. Using hot water makes grease more liquid and can cause problems, including clogs. Make sure to clean blades by putting in a little dish detergent and run cold water at the same time.
While it may seem like a seemingly harmless thing to do, never run potato peels through your garbage disposal. The chemical make up of this seemingly harmless food allows the potato to turn into a thick, viscous substance that can wreak havoc on the disposal itself, with the potential to render it completely useless.
Do not forget to check the temperature of the water heater in your house, especially if you are planning to leave for an extended period of time. You should keep the temperature no higher than 120 degrees, which will help to reduce energy use and prevent your system from burning out.
Many people wonder where the fruit flies are coming from. Each plumbing fixture has a self-sealed reserve that holds about two cups of water. If those pipes are broken or do not seal off, then odors and residue can cause fruit flies. It is recommended before anything to clean your pipes using bleach. If the flies come back, contact a professional.
One way to avoid a common plumbing problem is to make sure never to flush anything but human waste and toilet paper down a toilet. Other things made of paper like tissues, paper towels, and the like do not dissolve the same way toilet paper does and can get stuck.
If you have a foul odor coming from your garbage disposal, this is due to food debris buildup. You need to put ice cubes, orange peels, and lemon peels into the disposal and run for about 30 seconds. Next, run some liquid dish soap through the disposal. This should take care of the problem if there is not a substantial blocking buildup.
Never hire a plumber that is not licensed, insured and bonded. If the plumbing company cannot provide you with reference numbers for their credentials, move on quickly. It is a common question and it should be a no-brainer for them to provide them to you. If they have issues with you asking, take that as a big red flag.
When searching for a good plumber you should always check references. It is easy to just go with the lowest price, but you have to do your research and make sure the plumber has a good reputation with the people they have done work for in the past so you do not get a bad plumber.
If you have a crack in your toilet tank, you can sometimes fix this with an epoxy resin. However, it is very difficult to keep up with this type of maintenance, and the best bet may be contacting the supplier and ordering a new tank to be installed in your bathroom. Nevertheless, keeping some epoxy resin on hand for emergencies is a good idea.
When getting an estimate from a contractor on a job, make sure to ask how long the written estimate is good for. For big jobs you usually want to get estimates from a few different plumbers. Knowing how long your estimate is valid will help you know what your time limit is for making a decision on who to hire.
If you own property where the temperature gets below freezing for an extended amount of time each year, you should make sure that pipes located in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and garages, are insulated. Pipes that are exposed to the outside elements or those that are prone to freezing, should be protected by heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables to prevent them from freezing.
Governmental regulations sometimes prevent plumbers from actively providing maintenance to copper piping. If you have a calcium buildup in your copper piping, you are going to need to take care of this yourself. You have to get rid of all the water and add vinegar which eats away the calcium buildup out of copper pipes.
If you are the kind of person who travels a great deal, then remember that different countries may have very different kinds of plumbing systems available. If you are not sure of how things work in the region where you experience problems, then you should either do research or avoid fixing the problem yourself.
Keep a grease vat in your kitchen to pour all used cooking grease into. Grease is a big reason that kitchen drains slow and eventually, stop up. Even the harshest drain cleaning products, tend to not be a match for a heavy grease clog. The grease you save in the vat can be formed into balls and rolled in bird seed for wonderful winter bird feeders.
In order to stay away from plumbing problems, you should make sure you are knowledgeable about the basics and prepared for the worst. The homeowner who learns a little bit about plumbing is more likely to make wise decisions and avoid dangerous plumbing situations. A homeowner who knows something about plumbing can often fix issues before they become major crises.