When a plumbing or heating emergency arises, it can be daunting to try to figure out how to fix it in the moment. Afterall, that’s why we provide 24/7 emergency service! However, just like you don’t like having to call a plumber or HVAC technician at 2am when a pipe bursts or your heat stops working, we don’t want any of our customers to have a stressful situation like that happen in the first place.
Such emergency calls can often be prevented by following a few practical tips. So here are seven tips from expert plumbers that will help you keep your plumbing in good shape, saving you a headache later on.
- Avoid chemical drain cleaners.
IT may seem like a quick and easy way to unclog a drain. However, this is usually a band-aid solution that may hurt your plumbing in the long run. Not only are they expensive, but they can also result in expensive plumbing bills in the future. Harsh chemicals can damage drain pipes and they fail to completely clear clogs. If the plunger and/or hot water and dish soap can’t clear the clog, you need a plumber.
- Use strainers to protect your drains.
Clearing a clogged drain of hair, food waste, and soap residue isn’t our idea of a fun afternoon. So use basket strainers in your sinks and shower to prevent these particles from going down the drain and creating clogs. Trust the plumbers: clearing a badly clogged drain is time-consuming and unpleasant, so save yourself from that experience if you can!
- Know where your main water valve is.
When you’re dealing with an urgent plumbing emergency, it’s difficult to consult Youtube or Google for a solution at that moment. If your dishwasher suddenly started flooding the kitchen or a tap broke or pipe burst, would you know where to find your main water valve so you could quickly shut it off and minimize the flood? Definitely something you should look into if you don’t!
- Test your toilet’s flush valve seal for leaks.
Here’s a fun science experiment for you and your kids – and a bonus for kids with a penchant for potty humor (or for you if you never left that stage) – it takes place in the toilet! The flush valve seal keeps water from flowing from the tank to the bowl of your toilet when it’s sitting idle. Test the seal by squirting a couple drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. Check on the toilet two hours later. If the color is now in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
- Keep your main sewer line clean out accessible.
The clean out pipe allows you to get to the main sewer line so you can clear a blockage or do routine maintenance. It’s sometimes near the house, at the property line, but often in the basement. It shouldn’t be carpeted over or obstructed. In the case of a sewage line blockage, your plumber will need access to this clean out quickly and efficiently.
- Make sure your water heater is set at 120 degrees.
Even if the manufacturer set it to 140 degrees, trust the plumbing experts on this one: 120 degrees will deliver warm water throughout your house and save you money on your energy bills.
- Clean the shower head.
Is the water too slow in the shower or the spray pattern too erratic? You can either buy a new shower head or try cleaning your current one. Get a plastic bag and fill it half-way with vinegar. Then using a rubber band attached the bag around your shower head. Leave it overnight and if all goes well, you’ll have a much better shower in the morning.
You can either go with the flow and wait for a plumbing problem to happen or you can prevent flow problems by following these easy plumbing tips. However, if you continue to have issues, even after following these steps, be sure to contact your local Southwest Michigan plumbing experts (ahem, us!) if you need help with a leak, unclogging a drain or installing a new toilet or sink.