The upkeep of the place where you're living is essential, regardless of whether you rent or own. A working home doesn't come easy; there are conscious steps you must take so that everything is in tip-top shape. Sure, it's easy to call the cable guy if your television isn't working or a professional to replace your roof shingles. Oftentimes, these are problems that you cannot fix yourself.
However, there are steps you can take to ensure the safety of your home, specifically with your plumbing. Here are five things your plumber wants you to know.
Take good care of your garbage disposal
Let's face it, garbage disposals can really come in handy. They're a better alternative than throwing an item in the trash, because disposals break down the material instead of it just sitting there. However, lots of people misuse this feature, which can lead to plumbing blockages and expensive repairs. Only scraps of food should be put down the disposal; anything else can back up your drain and plumbing system. Here are some items you definitely cannot throw down your disposal:
Protect your pipes
The most serious plumbing issues usually come in the winter in the form of frozen pipes. Without proper insulation, the water inside your fixtures can freeze, stopping flow altogether. Unfortunately, the first way people notice this is by trying to turn on a faucet and having nothing come out. But it doesn't stop there. Over time, the frozen water can thaw, becoming liquid again, and put a huge strain on your pipes, which may lead to them bursting. This can cause an extensive and even more expensive mess in your home. Luckily, there are ways to prevent this.
First, when the weather gets cooler, be sure to head out to your local hardware store to pick up some insulation. That's the pink material found in unfinished basements and attics. Cut the material, and wrap it around all of the exposed pipes in your home. This will work as a jacket for your fixtures. But prevention doesn't end there. The insulation will do you no good if your home is freezing cold. Be sure your heating systems are in order so the air will be warm enough to keep your pipes at a safe temperature. In the same vein, make sure no pieces of furniture are covering your vents, allowing the air to properly circulate around your home.
Make sure your air vents aren't blocked by any furniture.
Lastly, and it may sound counterproductive, but let your fixtures drip a little every day. Taking the time to run your faucets, showers, etc., each day will help prevent ice from forming. Most appliances in your home may not run into this issue because they get used every day. However, sometimes there is a sink in the basement or laundry room that doesn't get much use. If you're going on vacation, make sure to have someone keep an eye on your plumbing so you don't come home to a huge mess.
Protect your drains
We've already mentioned that the wrong items can back up your garbage disposal, but the same thing goes for the rest of your drains. The pipes connected to your showers, baths and faucets are susceptible to the wrong kinds of waste. For example, hair can quickly clog a pipe. Have you ever noticed that you're standing in a couple of inches of water while showering? Odds are there's something backing up your plumbing fixtures. Be sure to put a hair catcher over your drain to prevent blockage. If your plumbing still gets backed up, use a declogging product to eliminate the mess or call a professional to take care of the issue.
Don't ignore the issue
Some people think that problems can go away on their own, and this couldn't be less true. In fact, waiting on a problem to fix itself can actually cause more damage in the long run. For example, a leaky faucet seems relatively harmless. However, as more water drips, harmful mold can grow from the constant moisture. Not only that, but it can actually cause your water bill to skyrocket because you're getting charged for water you aren't even using.
Call a professional
Sometimes, you just need someone who knows what they're doing. Luckily, at Roto-Rooter, we have experienced plumbers who know how to fix any issue that you might have, from unclogging a drain to installing a pipe. Just give us a call. We have professionals on hand to answer any questions you may have.