Basic Plumbing Maintenance Tips

There is no question that taking care of plumbing problems can be very daunting at times, especially if you have never attempted to do so before.  The good news is that there are actually some plumbing fixes that you can safely do without thinking of causing more damage.  Here are some tips on how to do basic plumbing maintenance.

Major Plumbing Appliances

plumbing appliances

Washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers are just some of the plumbing machines found in homes that make life a bit easier.  However, when these breakdown, the inconvenience can give you nasty headaches, not to mention the cost.

The first thing to determine is whether the appliance has really broken down or something just happened that has prevented it from working properly.  Check if it is plugged in.  Verify if the circuit breakers have tripped.  Or maybe the washing machine’s vibration has caused it to move and become uneven.  Check the troubleshooting guide in the owner’s manual.

If none of these work, look if the unit is still under warranty.  Normally, warranty would cover parts replacement for a year and labor services for a longer period.  If the unit is still under warranty, make a service call.

Before deciding to have it repaired, also consider the age of your appliance.  Sometimes, replacing older appliances makes more sense and gives you more savings instead of having it repaired.  Newer models are more efficient and come with better features.  Most appliances have an end of life, for example, dishwashers lose their efficiency after 9 years, garbage disposals in 12 years, washer in 10 years, and freezer in 11 years.

Toilet Maintenance

toilet maintenance

There are a couple of common problems that are frequently experienced with toilets.  One is a broken flapper or ball valve that allows water from the tank to trickle into the bowl.  Another is when the water level in the tank is not properly set. And weak flushing.

When it comes to a faulty flapper, one of the best ways to verify is to put a couple of drops of food coloring into the toilet tank.  After about 15 minutes check if the color of the water in the bowl has changed.  If it has, then you just need to buy a replacement flapper for about $5 and put it in.

If you observe that your toilet seems to be continuously flushing, this could be a sign that the water level is too high and is going into the overflow pipe.  This can waste a lot of water and make your bills skyrocket.  Fortunately, this can be fixed by simply adjusting the lever that controls the height of the water in the tank.  Ideally, you would want the water level in the tank to be at least an inch below the top of the overflow pipe.  Flush a couple of times to check you have an ideal water level.

As far as weak flushing goes, this can be attributed to the design of your toilet.  If you have the older generation toilet that relies on a 1.6 gallon flush, then this could be the problem.  Check the clay portion if the manufacture date is between 1994 and mid-1997.

If it was manufactured before, you can be looking at hard water deposits problem within the syphon jet hole.  You can try cleaning it with a 1 part muriatic acid mixed with 10 parts of water.  Allow it to stay for about 30 minutes and flush.  If there is no improvement, consider buying a low-flush toilet for around $200.  This is more efficient and uses less water with every flush.

Just a side note, when deciding between repair and replacement, consider the age of the appliance.  If it is more than 50% of its effective lifespan and the cost of repair is close to 50% of the price of a new one, it may be better to buy a new one.