Best tips for keeping your home’s plumbing in great shape
Very few homeowners wake up every morning thinking, “I really should take proactive action and get that water pressure regulator installed.” Let’s face it: plumbing upkeep is often out-of-sight and out-of-mind. After all, homeowners already have extensive maintenance and upkeep lists—owning a home means spending weekends doing chores. Should you really add more to that checklist?
Actually, the answer is yes. In this article, we’re going to make the case that you should move those plumbing maintenance items to the top of your to-do list. Here our best tips for maintaining your pipes, water heater, faucets, fixtures, and appliances.
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Soften your water for reduced wear-and-tear
Hard water can be a major headache for homeowners. If you live in a part of the country where municipal water sources are considered “hard” or “very hard,” it makes sense to take proactive steps to protect your pipes, appliances, faucets, fixtures, and more. The negative effects of hard water range from nuisances like water spots on dishes to serious, home-threatening issues such as scale buildup inside of your pipes over time.
Proactive homeowners might want to take a look at having a whole-home water softener installed. These systems soften hard water as it comes into your home, preventing scale buildup inside of your pipes and water heater.
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Water heater trouble can come back to bite you
Most American homes have a standard (or “tank”) gas or electric water heater. These systems provide hot water for your home by heating a set amount of water and then storing it in its tank until needed in your home at the faucet.
While these water heaters are by far the most common type on the market, they do have some downsides. Most notably, they only last about 8-12 years. If you want your home’s water heater to live longer and run better, it’s important that you take care of the system. Here is a checklist that will help you to get a professional and certified plumber.
First, enlist the help of a plumber in your area to drain the water heater. This helps remove any sediment buildup that could either damage the tank or reduce your overall hot water capacity. While they’re at your home, have them check the system’s temperature and pressure relief valves—when a water heater tank burst occurs, it’s typically caused by either too high of water temperature or a faulty relief valve.
Somewhere near the halfway point of your water heater’s lifespan, have a plumber assist you with replacing the tank’s anode rod. This rod sits inside the tank and attracts corrosion away from the tank walls. However, this means that eventually it will be “spent” and need to be replaced. Swapping out anode rods can greatly extend the lifespan of your water heater.
Take pressure off of your pipes
High water pressure can lead to a number of problems for your home’s plumbing, both in the short- and long-term. Use a pressure gauge to measure your home’s water pressure: if yours reads about 60 PSI, you are probably putting too much pressure on the inside of your pipes. Even higher pressure levels (such as 80 PSI or higher) means that your pipes, faucets, water heater, dishwasher, and washing machine all are experiencing additional wear-and-tear.
The best long-term solution is to find a local plumber to install what is known as a pressure-reducing valve, or a pressure regulator valve. This device lowers the water pressure of water coming into your home and your pipes.
Avoid procrastinating when it comes to plumbing repairs
When it comes to your home’s plumbing, time is often the one thing homeowners take for granted. They make the mistake of assuming that the plumbing problem can wait until tomorrow. In the busiest times of the year, they justifiably push long-term improvements and proactive measures to the backburner. However, any time you do this, you’re taking a risk. The outcome could be a pipe that, twenty years from now, is filled with scale and needs to be replaced. Or, it could be a water heater tank burst tomorrow.
Staying on top of your home’s plumbing needs is just as important as any other home maintenance need or project. This infographic from the team at Southern Air in Louisiana can help you outline your home’s maintenance needs and stay on top of seasonal plumbing tasks:
Miss Kathy Peterson