5 Ways to Avoid a Plumbing Disaster

By Brandon Smith, guest contributor

A simple preventative maintenance program can go a long way in keeping a home’s plumbing system at its best condition. Some people think that maintaining the structure of shower drains, pipes, toilets, etc. is tedious and expensive. However, it is more practical to spend a little money on preventive measures rather than hire a contractor to repair or replace your entire plumbing system.

These tips can stop you from paying for plumbing damages that could have been easily avoided:

1. Regular inspection of the water heating system: A water heater for residential purposes can last a decade with proper care. Since this appliance is used on a daily basis, it is crucial to have it checked at least once a month for possible problems. Lower the setting of temperature to 115 degrees F. You can do this by adjusting the dial knob or the thermostat behind the electric water heater. Doing this will prevent the apparatus from overheating.

Always look out for signs that something might be wrong with your water heating system. Immediately check the temperature and pressure of the appliance in case you cannot hear a gurgling sound. This could mean that no water is being released to the drain tube. In this case, replacement may be necessary to keep every one in the house safe.

2. Upgrading of hoses and fixtures: Home owners should consider replacing rubber hoses with metallic ones. This also applies to other plumbing fixtures such as waterline raisers, valves, and pipes.  In general, modern residential structures tend to have a more complex plumbing system. This is due to additional appliances that older types of house do not have such as automatic fire sprinklers and wet bars. The easiest way to look for problematic signs is to walk throughout the house and inspect the walls, floors, and ceilings.

Cracks on wooden ceilings are often a sign of trapped moisture and leaking water. Although it is also possible that this is due to weak construction methods, it would be best for the home owner to immediately replace old rubber hoses with ones made from copper or stainless steel. Metallic materials are proven to withstand extreme weather conditions and can also last for up to 15 years.

3. Maintenance of sink drain: The sink drain in your kitchen and bathroom is prone to getting clogged with anything that can slow down its draining process. Food particles, hair strands, and other debris can find its way to the sink drain and cause serious problems. Drain cleaning can help prevent this from happening. Save yourself from calling an emergency plumber by making sure your kitchen is always clean. Pouring of cooking oil and fatty fluids into the sink should be avoided. Clogs will start to build up if you keep on throwing your leftover cooking oil down your sink drain.

In your bathroom, install a sink trap so that hair and soap particles will not be able to pass through the pipes. This must be installed before the water in the bathroom floor starts to drain slowly. The sink trap will collect and catch debris that can potentially cause clogging. Hence, plumbing repair will not be necessary.

4. Checking of main water shut-off valve: It is very important for home owners to know the exact location of the main shutoff valve. You can easily find this next to where your water meter is installed. This is usually located at the front of your house. This valve allows you to immediately stop the supply of water flow in times of emergency.

Because of its important function, both tenant and property owners should routinely inspect if it is working correctly and that no signs of leakage are showing up. During winter, the freezing condition can harden the handle so check it once every two weeks to see if you can still turn it clockwise. Take note also that local codes also require that main water shutoff valves are easily accessible.

5. Regular tune-up: Property owners should hire a master plumber at least once a year to inspect the entire plumbing system for possible problems. Only a highly skilled technician can fix complicated damages that ordinary people will not be able to identify. A clogged drain and a damaged septic tank are two examples of issues that you will not be able to fix yourself as this requires advanced knowledge in plumbing. Contractors will test the general details of your plumbing system and based on their findings, they will suggest applicable repairs and fixes. What matters most is that you have a preventative measure to avoid a plumbing disaster.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brandon Smith, a blogger in the home improvement and plumbing industry.  He is currently writing for Lucke Plumbing, a heating and plumbing services company.

Blog Contributor

This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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  1. Maria Hughes

    Here is some helpful information for homeowners.

  2. Vanessa Vendera

    It’s good you mentioned not to pour oil, grease down the drain from cooking. I already knew not to do that but a lot of people don’t realize the damage it can create.

  3. Very good points of information avoid leakage and disaster in Plumbing system. We should follow these points focused in this blog. People normally thinks that no need to waste money in repairing plumbing system but we should concern about our plumbing system.

  4. This is a great source of information and tips on how to avoid a pumbing disaster. Broken pipes, clogged sink or toilet can definitely be a problem and can cause a fortune when doing repairs that’s why it is important to prevent these things from happening. It is much better to avoid a plumbing disaster rather than spending money on repairs.

  5. Are there some ways to check the house’s plumbing condition?

  6. Hello Everyone,

    Informative post. These tips can stop you from paying for plumbing damages. It is more practical to spend a little money on preventive measures rather than hire a contractor to repair or replace your entire plumbing system. Thanks to sharing it…

  7. Some problems can be avoided, many nightmares are inevitable, especially if you have old or poorly installed plumbing. Even so, there are steps you can take to either head off problems before they begin or minimize the chaos once it starts to unfold.

  8. If you are working on a sink in the kitchen, it will be wise to remove the basket strainer first. If you have double or triple-bowl washbasins, you also have to put duct tape on the other drains.

  9. Before starting any plumbing project be sure to turn off the main water supply. Water damage can be one of the most expensive things to repair.

  10. In the kitchen, avoid putting any grease or other food waste down the drain. Only use the garbage disposal for things that it can safely break up and run the faucet at the same time as you grind the food. This will ensure that it completely breaks down whatever you place inside before it is flushed through. Grease in particular is a major problem in pipes as it coats the lining and other items can stick to it.

  11. These are some great tips to avoid a plumbing disaster. I keep reading your posts and I really found it helpful

  12. Thanks for the information regarding various plumbing problems like broken pipes, clogged sink or toilet and how we can rectify all such problems by doing some repairs. These information are really helpful and will continue reading your blog.

  13. Great article – we just made a page about some of the most common plumbing emergencies. You can view it @ http://www.morningnoonandnightplumbing.com/plumbing/emergency-plumbing/

    Thank YOU!
    Morning Noon Night Plumbing & Sewer

  14. We also just wrote a blog post on tips to keep your home safe during the winter – you can read it @ http://www.morningnoonandnightplumbing.com/keep-home-safe-winter/.

    Thank you, Morning Noon Night Plumbing & Sewer

  15. Good tip with knowing where the main water shut-off valve is. It is amazing the number of homeowners who do not know where this is located.

  16. Great informative post with some important tips to remember! Good for all home and business owners

  17. I can vouch for the water heater replacement advice. I replace at least 5 a week because they are not maintained properly.

  18. This article is so interesting. Great tips for our plumbing issues at home.

  19. Good quality of information on industry and products.

  20. Great article – very useful. Thank YOU!!

    We recommend the same advice @ http://www.nobleplumbingandsewer.com/.

  21. Great article! We wrote about this as well @ https://www.thyplumber.com/plumbing/burst-pipe-repair/

  22. From the kitchenavoid placing any dirt or alternative food waste down the drain. Simply use the garbage disposal for items it can safely divide and operate the faucet at precisely the exact same time as you grind the food. This will guarantee that it totally breaks down everything you put inside before it’s flushed through. Grease particularly is a significant issue in pipes since it coats the liner and other things can adhere to it.