We all know that when your plumbing fails, it almost always does so at the most inopportune of times. Like everything else, it tends to follow Murphy’s Law. But there is a way to get a jump on your plumbing to make sure that does not happen to you: keep your plumbing maintained throughout the year. It sounds simple enough, but who has time to check out their plumbing every day? It is easy to push your pipes to the back of your concerns since the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” applies here as well.
Instead of relying on your memory to tell yourself to check your pipes, keep this handy dandy plumbing maintenance checklist nearby so you make sure you remember to follow the 8 plumbing maintenance musts to avoid plumbing emergencies!
Plumbing Problems? GM Plumbing Has Your Back
While the expert plumbers at GM Plumbing Corporation are always available 24 hours a day for all of the Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Los Angeles areas to solve your plumbing problems, we would rather work with you to help you save time, money and stress by teaching you how to avoid the problems in the first place. With that mission in mind, we have created an easy guide for you to follow to keep your plumbing maintained year after year. When you need a plumber, we will be there, but meanwhile, you can do your part through these 8 simple steps.
The Go-To Plumbing Maintenance Checklist
If your plumbing system seems lackluster or you notice a higher utility bill than normal, you can go through these checkpoints to give your plumbing a quick home inspection. Regardless of how it seems to be working, however, always keep these 8 points in mind and be sure to check each point throughout the year.
1. Check your toilet as it flushes.
This is a simple one for most people. When you flush your toilet, listen to how long it takes to stop running. It should run just long enough to refill the tank. If it runs continuously, or you hear it running when no one is using it, it is a red flag to check the seal in the toilet. When the seal starts going, you will notice it taking longer to refill the tank. If you are not paying attention regularly, you probably will not notice this until it is past time to replace the seal. This seal is usually a wax ring that fits around the exit hole at the bottom of your fixture. When this ring breaks, you could be in for a lot of damage if it is not caught soon enough.
At the least, the wax ring itself prevents nasty odors from the sewer gases that would otherwise make their way into your air. These odors can also be unhealthy since they contain hydrogen sulfide gas. Wax rings also prevent leaks, so when they start to go bad you may not even notice it but your floors will start to sustain water damage. A damaged wax ring is nothing to ignore, but it can be an easy problem quickly solved by testing your toilet flushing.
2. Watch your water go down the drain.
Seriously. When you are in the shower or bath, flushing the toilet, or when you are washing dishes, watch how your water drains. If your toilet, sink, or shower drains slower than usual, you likely have a clog somewhere. It is probably obvious to say that clogs are bad for your pipes, but we will say it anyway. You need to get rid of clogs immediately. In most minor cases, a simple run-in with a plunger is enough to eliminate pesky clogs before they get out of hand. We do not recommend using chemical clog removers because, depending on the material of your pipes, they can cause damage to the structural integrity of your pipes. They also contain toxic chemicals and can be dangerous if used incorrectly.
On top of those problems, they also harm your septic system because they kill beneficial bacteria that is needed to break down the waste in your system. Instead of pouring these chemicals down your drain, try some natural clog removing techniques or call us at GM Plumbing Corporation to help you before your small clog turns into a big problem.
3. Keep an eye out for leaky faucets.
If your faucet is leaking, there is a problem. Maybe you have turned the handle too tightly, or may it is wearing out. The seals may be broken, causing a slow leak. Regardless of the reason why, a leaky faucet is literally pouring money down your drain. A faucet that drips one drip per second wastes over 3,000 gallons annually. Consider how much you pay for your water per gallon and then multiply that by 3,000. Is there something else you would have preferred to spend that money on? In addition to the financial consequences, there are also environmental problems that result from lack of water conservation. Doing your part to fix your leaky faucet is helping the environment, too.
If you know what you are doing or can follow directions well, you can fix your faucet yourself. If plumbing is not your thing, we suggest you do not mess around with it and call us at GM Plumbing Corporation for what will probably be a simple quick and easy fix.
4. Watch for leaky water heaters, too.
Your faucet and toilet are not the only things that can leak. Your water heater is a common source of leaks around your house, as well. In fact, if your water bill or electricity bill take a sudden unexpected spike, one of your first steps in troubleshooting the reason behind it should be to check your water heater. If you see puddles around it, you should call a professional plumber to fix the leak.
Problems with your water heater can cause you to have less hot water, but more importantly they can also increase your electricity bill because it will take more energy for the hot water that is there to be heated. The leaks will obviously increase your water bill as well. Don’t wait for a leaky water heater to get worse. Call us at GM Plumbing Corporation to fix your leak and save you money.
5. Moisture around your plumbing fixtures is your enemy.
If you notice signs such as damp walls, wet floors, accumulated mildew, or anything that looks like moisture may be building up around your plumbing, you should pay attention and start inspecting the area. It could be something as minor as a leaky seal, but it might be a broken or clogged pipe or something that could turn into a major issue if it is not found quickly.
6. Regularly maintain your garbage disposal.
Although it sounds like you should be able to dispose of your garbage in your garbage disposal, there are actually a lot of do’s and don’ts that go along with properly maintaining this fixture if you want it to continue working properly and not destroy your plumbing system. Garbage disposal use rule #1 is make sure you use plenty of cold water when you run your disposal and keep it on for 10 to 20 seconds after you turn it off. This helps the system carry all of the garbage out of the disposal and flush it through your pipes. Make sure the water is cold, though. Hot water actually causes build-ups of grease and fat, leaving them to stick to your disposal’s blades.
Be sure to avoid putting hard foods or foods made of a lot of fibers, such as celery, down the disposal. Small, hard pieces can get wedged in the blades and cause them to stick, and fibers can wrap around the blades and jam them. Keep the disposal’s insides clean to avoid sludge build-up. Don’t use harsh chemicals that can damage your garbage disposal or the pipes, but natural remedies like baking soda and vinegar usually do the trick just as well. Never, ever put your hands in the disposal when you are cleaning it, though. The blades can cause serious injuries with unexpected movement. If you have a jam, either use a tool like pliers to try to remove the obstacle or call your plumbers to remove it.
7. Keep unused fixtures in working order.
Sometimes there are rooms in the house that do not get regular use, like after the kids move out. If you have a bathroom that does not get a lot of attention, be sure you go into it at least once a month and utilize all of the fixtures. Flush your toilet to ensure that the pipes are still working correctly and turn on all of your faucets. Spitting water mixed with air can be a sign of underlying problems. Even plumbing that is not being used can create huge damage, so don’t let the “out of sight, out of mind” saying apply to your unused appliances, either!
Call GM Plumbing Today
Throughout your plumbing maintenance checklist steps and any other time of the year, GM Plumbing Corporation is your go-to source for all plumbing issues big and small. We are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to help you when Murphy’s Law comes around and emergencies happen, or when you want to avoid big problems by fixing them when they are little. Call or contact us today to see how we can help you with your plumbing needs!