Face it, it’s easy to ignore your plumbing system until something goes wrong. Really easy. But taking the time to check your system can keep problems at bay, saving you a lot of time, money and hassle. So roll up your sleeves, don the rubber gloves and get to work.
Drain your water heater. Keeping your water heater clean isn’t hard, but it is important. First, turn off the power and/or gas supply to the water heater.To drain, attach a hose and drain the water into a bucket. Briefly turn on the cold water valve, which will stir up the sediment. Drain again and repeat until the water comes out clean.
Check your drains. Clogged drains can be a real mess, so do a once-over to see if you suspect one coming your way. Is there a lingering smell? Does it drain slowly? Does it get clogged frequently? If so, either shut off the valves and open up the pipes to clean them, or call a plumber. Liquid drain cleaners aren’t recommended since they can erode the pipes and make clogs worse.
Clean the toilet tank. Yes, we said the tank. Doing so can extend the lifespan of your toilet. Standing water brings about mold, and debris can erode the rubber on the plunger and flapper. To clean, turn off the water and flush the toilet. Mix 1/4 white vinegar with 1 c. water and scrub. We don’t recommend toilet tabs because they contain bleach which can erode the parts. Either way, always wear gloves.
Check for leaks. For the toilet, put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Wait 10 minutes, and if the color leaks into the bowl, you have a leak. If you see your faucets and showerheads dripping, don’t wait to fix them. You would be surprised at how much water (and money) is wasted through drips.
Some of these suggestions can be easily handled, but if you don’t trust your skills, call an expert for a plumbing inspection. Trite as it sounds, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!