Plumbing TipsAn ounce of prevention will go a long way toward keeping your home's plumbing in top working order - and you'll avoid costly repairs!
Faucets and Sinks
Septic Tank Maintenance
- To help prevent clogs, fit all your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly.
- Do not rinse fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs.
- Avoid using caustic liquid drain openers (like Drano or Liquid Plumber) on a drain that is completely clogged. The caustic ingredients are trapped in your pipes, and it can severely damage them. If you can't snake the drain yourself, contact a professional to do so.
Faucets and Sinks
- Even small drips can waste thousands of gallons of water, as much as 150 gallons a day! Be sure to check under sinks for moisture or small leaks. And always repair leaky faucets right away to avoid paying for wasted water, and also to avoid water damage to your fixtures and pipes.
- Remove and clean your faucet aerators annually to ensure an even flow of water.
- Make sure overflow holes on tubs and vanity are clear and open to prevent water damage to floors and ceilings.
- If you have sewer gas smell in your home, especially in the bathrooms and areas that are not used very often, pour water down the drains. It is very possible the water which is normally in your traps has evaporated allowing gases to pass up through the drain.
- If your garbage disposal is not working first try pressing the reset button on the bottom of the unit. Second, after unplugging the disposal try using the hex wrench which should have been included with your disposal. Turn the impeller by inserting the wrench into the opening at the bottom center of your unit and rotate the wrench each direction to free any jams.
Septic Tank Maintenance
- Don't Overload the Septic Tank and Drainfield
- Check faucets and toilets for leaks. Make repairs if necessary.
- Use aerators on faucets and flow-reducer nozzles on showers to help minimize water consumption.
- Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it.
- Use low water level settings for small loads of laundry.
- The Toilet Isn't a Garbage Disposal
- Never flush coffee grounds or filters, paper towels, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, facial tissues, cat litter, or cigarettes. These items can clog your septic tank in less time than you might imagine.
- Use Garbage Disposals Wisely
- A garbage disposal can double the amount of solids added to a septic tank.
- Choose a top-of-the-line disposal that grinds food into tiny particles that are easier for a septic system to digest.
- Minimize Heavy Duty Cleaners
- Overuse of powerful cleaners kills beneficial bacteria in the septic tank, so solids won't break down as well.
- Grease can clog the septic drainfield, making it impossible for soil to absorb liquids. If that happens, you'll need a new drainfield.
- Keep Trees Away from the Septic System
- Avoid root damage by keeping trees at least 100 feet from the septic system.
- Trees with aggressive roots, such as willows, should be even farther from the system.
- Toilet leaks can be wasteful and expensive. At least once a year, check your toilet for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is colored red, water is seeping through from the tank. If it is leaking, you should repair it immediately.
- Before doing any maintenance on your water heater yourself, be sure to shut off the power and or gas, and read your owner's manual.
- At least once every three months, drain water from the tank. Over time sediment builds at the bottom of the heater, which can hamper performance, and draining a gallon or so helps remove the sediment.
- You should also periodically inspect your water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips. If it's mostly yellow, or if it's sooty under there, your flue may be clogged, which is a dangerous situation. Contact a professional to check it out.
- At least once every two years, have your water heater inspected by a service technician. He or she will also check the drain valve for signs of leakage, and the anode rods for corrosion.