The Ultimate Guide to Preventing Plumbing Problems

June 10, 2016


Each day thousands of people fall foul to avoidable plumbing problems. These problems are inconvenient and costly for homeowners. If you would like to avoid these plumbing problems and instead spend your hard earned cash on other more important items, we urge you to read this post carefully.

The average cost of calling out a plumber is around £70. For this amount, you could take your family out for a meal or perhaps to the cinema. To avoid common plumbing problems and thus enjoy your hard earned cash on more enjoyable activities, we urge you to follow the advice detailed in this post.

#1. Don't view your sink or toilet as a dust bin

This tip may tickle you. But it shouldn't! The reality is that many people foolishly clog up their toilet and sinks by forcing waste items and waste food down into these important household utilities. Many of these people have gained these bad habits over many years, mostly because they cannot be bothered walking to the nearest bin.

Over time, rubbish and left-over food will clog up your pipes causing a blockage. You will surely feel unhappy when you have to pay up £70 to pay a plumber to correct the problem. You can avoid this problem merely by throwing rubbish and waste food into the dustbin instead. Better yet, buy a sink strainer to ensure waste products do not mistakenly end up in your waste water pipes.

When it comes to food, we urge you not to dispose of the following waste items through your sink:

  • Chicken, fish and turkey bones
  • Poultry skin
  • Celery
  • Fruit skin
  • Potato peel
  • Poultry skin

Forcing the above items down your sink is highly likely to block your pipes and require the assistance of a professional plumber to correct the issue. Avoid this expense and inconvenience by disposing these items into your dustbin instead.

#2. Don't pour oils down your sink

If you regularly pour oils down your sink, know this could cause a blockage. Oils may accumulate around the walls of your pipes and over time this could cause a blockage. This is because oils solidify once they have cooled.

If you enjoy fried food, we urge you not to drain your pans into your sink. Instead, wait for the oil or fats to cool and then dispose of these substances using your dustbin or pour hot oils and fats into a metal container, empty milk or juice carton and then dispose of the sealed container via your dustbin. This will dramatically reduce the likelihood of a blockage.

#3. Invest in a waste disposal unit

A waste disposal unit is installed under a kitchen sink. The unit is used to shred pieces of food and other waste items into small chunks that are capable of passing into your drains without causing a block. These units are common in North America, but more and more Brits are choosing to utilise this simple but effective technology.

Be sure to read the instructions that come with your waste disposal unit and make a note of foods that must be disposed of via your dustbin.

#4. Inspect aging pipes

If your home is over 20 years old, then it's likely your pipes may require maintenance or replacement. Older pipes are often made from outdated materials that are more likely to clog or leak. For instance, steel pipes are prone to rust and terracotta pipes are prone to damage caused by root intrusion.

We recommend you utilise our services when it comes to inspecting the state of your pipes. This will require you to pay money, but this investment is far outweighed by the cost of fixing a burst or clogged pipe if you are unfortunate enough for this to occur.

If you choose to inspect your pipes yourself, be on the lookout for moisture or damp. If you notice these tell-tale signs of wearing pipes, contact a plumber without delay.

#5. Prepare for the worst

If a pipe bursts, you are able to mitigate damage by turning off the central water mains. Ensure you know where the water mains are located and perform a test to ensure the water mains are in working order. Ensure your family members also know where the mains is located and run a 'trial' switch-off.

This ensures your family members know how to react in the event of a burst pipe should you be absent at this critical time. We also urge you to invest in home insurance to ensure your items are covered for water damage should you experience a plumbing catastrophe.

If your water mains are turned off once a pipe has burst, you prevent a continuous stream of water leaking into your home. This buys you enough time for a plumber to arrive and correct the problem.

#6. Check your washing machine hose

Many people have damaged their home due to a leaking washing machine. The main cause of this leak is often a weak rubber line that feeds water into your washing machine. Over time, these lines will dry out and crack.

To avoid this inconvenience and cost, we recommend you check your washing machine rubber line at least once a month. This ensures any problems are noticed and corrected before it is too late.

If you plan to go on holiday for more than a week, we recommend you turn off the water source feeding your washing machine, otherwise, you may return to an unexpected leak when you return to your home.

#7. Don't neglect outdoor faucets

If you're lucky enough to own a large garden, you could be the proud owner of several outdoor faucets. The bad news is that these faucets are subject to leaking, and unlikely faucets contained inside your home, you're much less likely to notice a leak when it occurs.

A leak located in an outdoor faucet that goes unnoticed may not damage property, but you could be in for a surprise when your next water bill is due! This is because a leak in an outdoor faucet could mean you waste many thousands of litres worth of water whilst the problem goes unnoticed.

We recommend you conduct regular checks of outdoor faucets to ensure a leak has not developed. Furthermore, before winter arrives we also recommend you drain the line that feeds outdoor faucets. This prevents the pipe from freezing, since unlike internal faucets, external faucets are utterly exposed to the whims of the environment without the benefit of central heating and four walls.

#8. Don't allow hair to escape through your bathroom sink or bath

Hair should always be disposed of via your dustbin. This is because unlike fat and oil, hair does not dissolve when it is exposed to water. This means a blockage caused by hair is particularly difficult to remove, and will probably require mechanic intervention.

This is a costly procedure, since your plumber will need to unsettle pipework to resolve the affected area. However, it may be difficult to prevent hair from escaping via your bath. To ensure this does not occur, we recommend you invest in a shower strainer.

#9. Regularly pour drain unblocker down your drains

Prevent blockages by pouring drain unblocker into your drains. The drain unblocker will break down bacteria and scum that have lined the walls of your drain. Do not turn your taps on for around 12 hours. This lets the drain unblocker to dissolve debris contained within your drains. After 12 hours has passed, pour boiling water into your drains to wash away the dissolved bacteria and scum.

#10. Do not over-tighten your faucets

Many people apply too much force when tightening up water faucets. This will damage faucet washers and cause a leak. To correct this leak, you will probably require the assistance of a plumber. To avoid this expense, go ease when tightening up faucets and avoid excess tightness.

#11. Utilise a washing machine hose screen

A washing machine hose screen is an inexpensive way to prevent sediment from clogging up your washing machine's inner workings. Over time, this screen will wear and require replacing. We recommend you replace the screen at least once a year, particularly if the screen is full of sediment.

#12. Invest in a stainless steel washing machine hose

Many people will have installed a rubber washing machine hose. However, for as little as £15 you are able to invest in a highly superior stainless steel washing machine hose. A stainless steel hose comes with a powerful PVC core that's resistant to cracking and blistering. The steel hose also fashions a far greater "psi burst strength" when compared to rubber alternatives. This is of critical importance if your washing machine is located in your home. This is because the stainless steel's higher psi burst strength means it's far less likely to burst.

#13. Do not ignore leaking faucets

If you notice one of your faucets is leaking, ensure you replace the seal and washer. You may correct this problem without the assistance of a plumber and ensure leaking faucets do not translate into an expensive water bill.

#14. Keep a plunger handy

If you don't already own a plunger, go to the shops now and invest in one. A plunger is able to remove many blockages in your sink and toilet without the need to call on a plumber. Many people call out a plumber to remove a simple blockage that would have been solved with an inexpensive plunger.

Fill the sink with water before you use the plunger. The water will add power to the plunger and increase the odds of you removing the blockage. If the blockage is not removed through your own efforts, we recommend you call out a plumber.

#15. Check your water pressure

High water pressure will exert an unnecessary amount of force on your plumbing system. Check your water pressure regularly and take corrective action if your water pressure is too high.

#16. Ensure your toilet is performing correctly

Over time, the 'flapper' within your toilet will warp and allow water to leak. The Flapper is a rubber cover located at the foot of your water tank. When you flush, the flapper is released and allows water to gush into your toilet and flush away your excrement and urine.

A warped flapper will allow water to leak. This will push up your water bills and may require the services of a plumber to correct. Luckily, the flapper is inexpensive and relatively easy to remove and replace.

But how do you check for a faulty flapper? The answer is simple. Simply drop a few drops of food colouring into your tank. Now you must not flush your toilet for at least eight hours. We recommend you conduct this exercise overnight whilst you sleep. When you awake in the morning you may notice the toilet bowl is coloured. This means your toilet flapper is leaking and needs to be replaced.




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