Warm Weather Plumbing Tips
10 Warm Weather Plumbing Tips
The start of spring signifies warm weather is on its way. This means we will be spending more time outside (at home), and hopefully when all this social distancing has passed, we can resume our normal warm weather activities. This means having friends and family visit, the kids out playing and the traffic in our home increasing. With the increase in traffic we can expect more showers, more flushes, more loads of laundry, and more cycles through the dishwasher. Your irrigation will also be used more as you water the lawn and plants around the house and use the hose to keep the pool filled. With all this going on we forget that the plumbing in our home is more important than ever, and one problem with the plumbing in our home can ruin even the best laid plans.
Some of the common problems we see when traffic picks up in our home include:
· Toilets that continue to run
· Garbage Disposals that clog
· Pipes cracking or leaking at connections
· Water heaters leaking and failing
· Clogs in the main sewer line
The best way to avoid these issues from turning into a major interruption are to be proactive about your plumbing. We recommend the following:
1. Know Where the Main Shut Off Valve is Located
One of the most important things you can do to help yourself is know where the main shut off valve for the plumbing in your home is located. Sometimes the valve can be in the garage or somewhere inside such as a hall closet or basement (although we do not have many of those in Las Vegas). For most of us though the shut off is located outside on the sidewalk directly in front of our home. To turn off the water turn the lever on the main so that it is perpendicular to the pipe that is going to your home. To make sure it is off you can turn on a hose bib, or faucet until water no longer runs.
Now if you have a toilet that continues to run or a faucet that wont stop dripping you do not need to cut the water off to the entire house. Individual fixtures usually have a shut off valve located near them, these are known as angle stops and will cut the cold or hot water off to that fixture. If it’s a toilet you only need to turn off one cold water line, if it is a fixture like a bathroom or kitchen faucet then you need to cut off the hot and cold water lines.
In the event that you have a leak or one of your appliances keeps running and will not shut off, you need to be able to stop the water so that you don’t have a flood on your hands. It is also strongly recommended that if you plan to leave your home for an extended period you turn off all the water to the house. The best way to avoid water damage is by being proactive, if there is not water in the system you will not need to worry about leaks.
2. Learn How to Avoid Clogs
No one wants to have a clogged toilet or sink; it is a huge worry and if it is bad enough it could mean that you will be calling a plumber and that means an unexpected bill. We know you do not want to call a plumber unless you must, therefore we want to give you some tips that could help you avoid calling a plumber. First always pay attention to what you are flushing, make sure that you only use flushable paper and wipes and try to not be excessive with the amount of product that you flush. We would say most clogs can be fixed with a standard plunger or a 3ft closet auger (usually available at local hardware stores). Just make sure if you use an auger you are careful to not damage the toilet with the auger as they can damage the porcelain if you are not careful.
If you still cannot clear the clog then it’s probably time to call the plumber, sometimes clogs have nothing to do with what you flushed, tree roots can become invasive and not allow waste to pass through a sewer line. Other causes could be a cracked sewer line or a collapsed line, both of which require that you replace the damaged section of pipe.
We really do not recommend the use of chemical or liquid un-cloggers as they really do not work and just waste more money.
3. Smart Fixtures Save Water, Which Saves You Money
One thing that many people do not think about is that you can install faucets and other appliances that are designed to save water. Some faucets limit how long they stay on after you press them which would save you money and water, this is usually best to use these on a guest bath or a faucet you would not need to consistently run. Additionally, many appliances offer eco modes which are designed to reduce the amount of water and energy needed to operate. We understand buying new fixtures and appliances can be expensive but in the long run they will save you money, plus there are numerous options available as far a style so why not re design your space while you are at it.
4. Take care of your appliances
This is more of an all year tip, but you can save yourself a lot of money if you install a water softener at your home. Las Vegas has notoriously hard water, and this hard water can shorten how long the appliances and fixtures in your home will last, such as the washing machine, dishwasher, faucets, and showerheads. When it comes to types of softeners you have numerous options available to you. There are standard water softeners that are available at your local hardware store, these are usually cheaper for the cost of equipment but do require you to replenish the salt monthly. There are whole home filters which also connect to the main line, they do not require monthly upkeep but will need to have a filter changed once per year ( whole home filters will not get the water as soft as a salt system but will remove minerals and help your appliances last longer). At the end of the day if you use a salt system or a salt free one it really comes down to preference but the installation of any system on your home will certainly helping the plumbing and appliances in your home last longer.
5. Check for Leaks
One of the easiest and best things you can do to be proactive about the plumbing in your home it to simply check for leaks and drips. We know you rarely open the cabinets below a sink and when you do it is usually just to grab something and close it again. We never check in the back of a cabinet until it is usually already too late. The easiest way to work on doing this more is making an effort to clean out those cabinets throwing away stuff you wont use anymore and while you are in there shine a light on the shut off valves, touch them with your hand and see if they feel damp. Spotting a valve that may be starting to go bad and changing it can save you a lot of money down the road.
6. Turn the water heater down
As the weather gets warmer you might not be taking as many hot showers, if this is the case then you should lower the temperature on the heater. This can help lower the power bill associated with getting the heater to reach temperature and not making the heater work as hard can help to extend its life. If you consider that each time a heater works to reach a high set temperature it is hard on the bottom of the heater, this can cause the bottom of the heater to wear at quicker rate.
7. Inspect the irrigation system
Spring means that for many of us we will start working on our yards, flowers will bloom, and the irrigation system is going to get used more to account for the heat. When you are outside and prepping your yard for its “spring clean” look at all the sprinkler heads, the drip system heads and lines and make sure nothing is stopped up or broken. Over the course of a winter these things can get stopped up, walked on or just normally wear out. Getting the irrigation in tip top shape makes it easier to maintain your landscape and can reduce the amount of water that you use.
8. Protect your garbage disposal
If you have more people in the house that means you will be making more food, which means cleaning more dishes. This will make you use the garbage disposal a lot more, be mindful of what is going in it. Avoid putting anything stringy into the disposal such as bananas, melon skins, celery, potatoes, and any other starchy produce. It is also still a good practice to not pour any grease or fat down the disposal. This can lead to clogs and premature breakage of the unit. It is important that you know the disposal can and will grind up any of those above mentioned items but doing your best to minimize how much it does that will make it last that much longer. If you see that the disposal has a bunch of stuff stuck in the blades you can always fill it with ice and run cold water the ice will break into small pieces and clear up the disposal. When the disposal smells its ok to cut up piece of citrus fruit such as a lemon or lime and grind it up. That will clean out any nasty smells.
9. Make your own drinking water
If you have been a Prostar Plumbing customer then we are sure you know how seriously we take water quality as we have mentioned it more than a few times. We take it so seriously because having clean water is a necessity and we all spend money to have it. Why not make your own clean drinking water at home. It will save you money because you will not need to buy cases of water and it is more eco-friendly to avoid using plastic when you can. Call us today and we can set you up with a reverse osmosis system to meet your needs. This means deciding how much clean water you need stored at your house, how many stages of filters the water will pass through and what color of faucet you want installed on your sink.
10. What to watch out for
We know we mentioned it earlier but being proactive with your plumbing is the best way to prevent future headaches. Be aware of what you flush and how much you flush. If you see standing water call a professional to help diagnose the issue before it gets worse. Protect your appliances by having a water softener in your home. Try to take care of your garbage disposal as much as you can and pay attention to what you are putting down it. Please count on Prostar Plumbing to provide you with exceptional plumbing services and provide you the peace of mind you deserve. We are dedicated to providing you with quality craftsmanship and service in everything we do and provide to you.