A Brief Guide To Plumbing Maintenance
A home’s plumbing system is easy to take for granted - aside from fixtures like sinks, toilets, and showers, most of it is tucked away behind walls or under floors. Even appliances like water heaters and washing machines are usually out of sight and out of mind in a basement or closet. And as long as water comes out of the faucets and goes down the drains the way it’s supposed to, most people don’t pay it much attention.
But even though plumbing systems are fairly low-maintenance, they still need a little attention from time to time to function properly. So this article will outline the essentials of plumbing maintenance - some of which homeowners can easily do themselves and others that are best left to the pros!
Drain Cleaning - DIY and Professional Methods
Most people think of drain cleaning as a method for clearing clogged drains. But it’s also a powerful preventive measure vital to plumbing maintenance. In general, it’s recommended that homeowners have their drains and sewer lines professionally cleaned once every 1-3 years, depending on how much use they get and what state they’re in at the time of the annual plumbing inspection (more on that shortly).
Professional drain cleaning is usually done using hydro-jetting, which involves sending a high-powered water hose into the drainage system to blast away obstructions and scour grease, soap scum, and any other stubborn buildup off the pipe walls.
Between pro drain cleaning visits, homeowners can do their part to keep drains as clean as possible using simple DIY methods. Store-bought chemical drain cleaners should be avoided, as they can degrade pipes, damage fixtures, and pose a health risk due to their toxic fumes and acidic properties.
Instead, homeowners can pour ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup vinegar down the drain, plug the drain (if possible), let the concoction do its thing for at least 15 minutes, then wash it down with a pot of hot water. This safe and inexpensive method can be done every month or as often as once a week.
Professional Plumbing Maintenance Explained
Another way to keep the home’s plumbing system in good shape is to schedule professional plumbing maintenance once a year. This typically involves a detailed inspection of the system (often including video pipe inspection), testing the mineral and chemical content of the water, checking the water pressure, and basic drain cleaning (if necessary). It may also include general water heater maintenance, depending on the company.
Professionals can find hidden leaks, identify signs of corrosion, and catch potential issues early before they can become major problems requiring costly repairs. This way, professional maintenance can save homeowners money on water bills and general plumbing costs over the long haul. It can also help keep the family safe and healthy by identifying pollutants and preventing leaks that can lead to mold growth.
Routine Water Heater Service
The water heater is, in many ways, the heart of a home’s plumbing system, and it requires regular maintenance to keep ticking. Every homeowner should schedule annual water heater maintenance with a professional plumber. A pro will inspect the unit, test safety devices for proper function, flush the tank to remove sediment, check the anode rod (and replace it if need be), clean gas burners, and check for gas or carbon monoxide leaks - to name just a few of the tasks involved.
These tasks help keep the water heater running as efficiently as possible, extend its lifespan, prevent breakdowns and other issues, and ensure the safety of everyone in the home. Homeowners may be able to tackle some of them on their own, such as flushing the tank, but they should always look to their owner’s manual for detailed instructions. In many cases, manufacturer warranties require that the unit only be serviced by a qualified professional. So to get the full benefits of water heater maintenance, it usually pays to hire a pro!
About Allens Plumbing
Allens Plumbing has been serving Aiea and greater Oahu with pride for over 40 years. Their commitment to every customer's safety, comfort, and satisfaction has earned them numerous 5-star reviews and awards, including HomeAdvisor’s “Super Service” and “Best Of” awards. They offer 24-hour emergency service, same-day service, and a cost-effective membership maintenance program, so there’s no one better to call for plumbing maintenance in Oahu, HI!