Save Money with These Preventative Plumbing Hacks
You’ve been diligently caring for your home all year, when suddenly, BOOM! Some big, expensive problem pops up out of nowhere. Sound familiar? There are some subtle, insidious ways in which your home can begin to sustain serious wear and tear without you having any idea. Worst of all, the longer these issues go on unchecked, the more of a headache they’ll become to fix and the more impact they’ll have on your wallet. When it comes down to a matter of attentiveness versus shelling out big money to fix problems that can easily be prevented, it seems like a no-brainer, right? To help you stay as prepared as possible, we’ve compiled a list of our best preventative plumbing tips for keeping your home’s plumbing in tip-top shape.
The Problem: Running Toilet
Potential Savings: $1,000-2,000 per year
According to Express Sewer, a minor toilet leak will tack an additional $1,000 in wasted water onto your yearly water bill, and a major leak can cost you as much as $2,000 a year.
How to Prevent: A continually running toilet is caused by the inner mechanisms of the toilet not functioning properly, so taking a look into the tank every few weeks can help ensure everything is in working order. Here are the biggest things to check:
- Flapper: This is the rubber seal at the bottom of the tank that’s connected to the toilet handle and controls when water moves into the bowl. If it’s cracked or feels “mushy” to the touch, it’s time for a new one, and they only cost a few bucks at home repair stores.
- Water Level: If the water level in your tank becomes too high, water will constantly drain into the overflow tube and cause your toilet to run. To prevent this, turn the screw on top of the float arm (metal rod attached to the plastic black ball) clockwise to lower the water level below the overflow tube.
- Fill Tube: If your flapper is intact and the water level in the tank is correct but your toilet still runs when it shouldn’t be, you most likely have an issue with the fill tube. This component is particularly tricky to repair or replace, so we recommend contacting a professional to get it fixed.
The Problem: Burst Water Pipes
Potential Savings: $10,000
According to Esurance, water damage due to burst pipes is the second-most filed insurance claim in the United States with the average residential claim totaling $10,000.
How to Prevent:
To keep your pipes sturdy and greatly reduce the chance of a bursting incident:
- Turn on one or two faucets in your home to allow a slow drip during cold weather. This will keep water flowing, reduce pressure and prevent a freeze-to-burst scenario.
- Insulate all internal water pipes to prevent freezing (foam insulation is cheap and effective) and check that outdoor buried pipes are embedded below the frost line. Check this map to view the frost line for your area.
- Regularly use a pressure gauge to test your home’s water pressure. To be extra safe, have a professional install a water pressure regulator, a valve that that reduces the water pressure coming from the main water line into your home.
The Problem: Limescale Buildup
Potential Savings: $3,100-5,500
According to HomeGuide, the average cost to repipe a 2,000 square foot home with 2-3 bathrooms ranges from $3,100 to $5,500, which may be necessary if hard water causes your pipes to have significant limescale buildup.
How to Prevent:
To reduce limescale buildup in your home’s piping and avoid having to repipe the affected areas:
- Drain your hot water heater a few times a year, as limescale thrives in water at high temperatures.
- Use a solution of vinegar and baking soda or hydrochloric acid cleaning product to conduct a flushing of your entire pipe system. Refer to this guide from Do It Yourself to ensure that you take all the proper safety precautions.
- If your water pressure has severely decreased and you notice a lot of white, chalky buildup around your faucets, it’s time to contact a professional to have them inspect your pipes and determine the best course of action. You might also have them install a water softening system to prevent future limescale buildup.
The Problem: Sewer Line/Septic Tank Failure
Potential Savings: $3,000-7,000
According to Angie’s List, sewer line replacement can cost up to $3,000 and septic tank replacement up to $7,000. In addition, such a failure will mostly likely cause several thousand dollars’ worth of property damage to your home.
How to Prevent:
To keep your septic tank and sewer line in optimal operating condition:
- Steer clear of putting grease, cooking oils, egg shells, orange peels, coffee grounds, hygiene products, paper towels and baby wipes down drains or toilets.
- During period of heavy rainfall, only use water when absolutely necessary, so save that shower or load of laundry for a time when your septic tank and drainage system aren’t so overworked.
- Hire a professional to clean your sewer lines and inspect your septic tank every 18-24 months.
Have any questions about these tips or other best practices for keeping your home’s plumbing in excellent condition? Call us at 314-207-2503 or fill out the contact form here to get in touch. St. Louis-area homeowners have trusted Maplewood Plumbing and Sewer with their preventive maintenance and emergency plumbing needs for more than 30 years, and we would love to help you maintain or restore a first-rate plumbing system!
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