Your plumbing system is a fundamental part of your home. You and your family rely on water for almost everything. You need to cook, shower, use the toilet, clean the house, water your plants, etc. However, the plumbing system breaks from time to time from wear and tear and other issues.
When everything is going right, it’s possible to forget about the plumbing system. Also, when only minor fixes are required, you might be tempted to wait it out or make temporary fixes. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that US households are responsible for wasting almost 1 trillion gallons of water every year from leaks that could’ve been easily fixed.
Often, the leaks lead to considerable damages in other parts of the home, resulting in more urgent and expensive fixes. In addition, you may be paying higher water bills that could’ve been lower if the plumbing system was fixed. Fortunately, incidents concerning the plumbing system can be reduced or eliminated altogether with proper routine maintenance. This helps to note potential problems in the system or remedy them before the damage becomes extensive.
So, what things do you need in your home plumbing checklist? Take a look at the ultimate checklist below to find out. However, it’s advisable to have a qualified plumber who inspects, recommends, and carries out routine maintenance or fixes for your home. If you don’t have one, you can look it up in the local plumbers directory and find a licensed plumber in your area.
The Ultimate Plumbing Maintenance Checklist For Homeowners
The kitchen area holds heavy plumbing fixtures and has heavy water usage. It’s recommended that you inspect and fix your kitchen plumbing bi-annually
- Sink drains: Your kitchen sink is heavily used, making the sink strainer prone to leakage. Look at the P-trap and strainer as the water drains, and see if either needs tightening or replacement. If the sink is draining too slowly, it could be starting to build clog in the P-trap. You can disassemble and clean it out. Cleaning your sink with a mixture of water, vinegar, and baking soda can break down the buildup, allowing the drain to work correctly.
- Faucets: Leaking kitchen faucets are a common plumbing issue and can lead to massive water wastage if not fixed. Water leaks can also cause a lot of damage to the cabinet floors, causing the growth of mildew, rot, and warping.
- Refrigerator: Ensure that the water line has the approved copper tubing, and has operational shut-off valves and filler cartridges.
- Dishwasher: Check beneath the dishwasher for leakages on the pan or supply line, damaging the cabinets or the floor.
If you live in Indianapolis and are looking for a professional plumber, you can find the best plumbers Indianapolis by searching the plumbers’ directory.
A home can’t do without a bathroom, and it’s the most commonly used room in the house. This makes it the most likely place for plumbing issues.
- Faucets: The faucets that require the most attention in the bathroom are the shower, tub, and sink faucets, and you need to check them regularly. Fix dripping faucets and replace cartridges or washers. Check for water damage on the supply lines in the walls for shower and tub drains as they can be problematic since they’re hidden. You’ll most likely notice dampness or water damage below the pipes. Always be keen on how the faucets run the water. Low water pressure or water flowing out in an irregular spray can be an indication that the aerator has calcium buildup. You can remove an aerator and clean it manually by soaking it in vinegar.
- Water Drains: The shower, tub, and sink drains also need regular attention. They’re susceptible to clogging from soap residue and hair. Instead of waiting until these issues become completely blocked, you should clean the drain with hot water from time to time. You can also use any other method you know to remove the hairs and debris.
- Toilets: A toilet is, in itself, a system with many working parts. If one of them isn’t working correctly, the whole system becomes faulty and can be problematic. Check for water sipping on the floor and replace the wax ring around the toilet base as it means it’s worn out. Also, check if the flash cycle is working correctly. If you flush and the toilet continues to run instead of shutting at the end of the cycle, it’s contributing to water wastage.
Around The House
Although significant plumbing components around the home are the kitchen, bathroom, and sewer system, many other areas should also benefit from periodic inspections.
- Water Main: Residue or sand can cause plumbing issues in the faucets, toilets, and other areas. Ensure you install a water filter at your water main.
- Branch Shutoff Valves: If you have a plumbing system with shutoff valves that controls water flow to different zones, ensure they’re operating properly. Faulty valves should be replaced.
- Water Heater: Check for signs of a water leak on either side: cold water on the inlet pipe or hot water from the exit pipe above the heater. It’s also important to check for leakages at the heater base, usually caused by a faulty drain valve or damaged temperature and pressure relief valve. Ensure to flush the water heater tank every few years to remove the residue at the bottom of the tank. If you’re using a gas heater, the burner unit should be inspected periodically and cleaned by a qualified serviceman.
- Outdoor Hose Faucets: Outdoor faucets may develop leaks, so make sure to regularly check them routinely to repair or replace worn out cartridges or washers. In cold climates, they’re especially susceptible to cracking from freezing winter temperatures.
- Irrigation System: You should inspect your lawn sprinklers at the onset of every watering season and ensure that the spray heads work properly. After the season, you should also drain them so that they’re dry to prevent water from freezing inside in wintertime and causing the pipes to crack.
- Washing Machine. From time to time, inspect the valves that control the cold and hot water hoses and replace them if they allow water in after they’re shut off. Also, ensure to check water hoses for wear and tear. If you notice any bulging, the hose needs replacement as it’s just a matter of time before it bursts.
- Water Meter: Track the age of your water meter as it loses its register accuracy with age. You should replace it every 15 to 20 years.
- Water Pressure: To avoid undue stress on your plumbing system, the water pressure should be at a safe level. You can test the water pressure using a water gauge, and it only takes a few minutes. If you notice that the pressure is high, you’ll need to repair or install a water pressure regulator to bring it down.
Septic And Sewer
The septic and sewer damages are serious plumbing issues with potential health risks. The best way to prevent a severe problem is by having regular inspection and maintenance.
- Septic System: If your home utilizes a drainage field system, ensure everyone in your household knows what shouldn’t be put down the drain. Things such as cleaners with bleach should be avoided because they’re said to interfere with the biological waste breakdown process necessary in septic systems. Also, experts advise that food products shouldn’t also be flushed into the system. If you’re in rural areas, the chances are that you have a septic system with a drain field. You should have it inspected and serviced often. If you’re on a tank system, you should have it pumped out when it fills.
- Maintain Your Sewer Main: Conducting regular inspections on the mainline for blockages is a sure way to catch them before they become a severe issue. If your home gets periodic stoppages, it could be caused by tree roots that have grown in the sewer line. Professional sewer service can prevent drains from reaching your house by doing an annual snaking on the line. To check the effectiveness of your sewer line, try emptying sinks and tabs at the same time to see how long the water will take to empty or if it drains back up. If it drains back up or takes too much time, check for clogging and deal with it before it forms a stoppage.
- Inspect Vent Pipes: They’re an essential part of the drainage and sewer system, and they exit at the top of your roof. They vent sewer gases and equalize air pressure. If they get clogged by debris, ice, or snow, the system won’t be effective. When inspecting the plumbing system, ensure to look for signs of blockage. You can do this by visually looking down to check.
You should adopt a habit of regularly maintaining your plumbing system. It will keep your home running smoothly and protect you from incurring heavy plumbing expenses in the future. The plumbing system alone is said to account for about 15% of your home’s total value. It’s a good idea to protect this value at all costs. Check for leaks, clogging, blockages, and repair, or replace anything that needs one as soon as you notice. With this exhaustive plumbing checklist, you can’t go wrong with maintaining your home plumbing system.