As much as we don’t like to think about all the jobs we need to do around the house all the time, maintaining your plumbing system can save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.
Imagine life without a morning shower or a flushing toilet and you might find the motivation to follow these simple tips to check a few things around the house.
1. Check for leaks and drips
Check for leaks or drips around all your plumbing fixtures. A small leak can cause extensive damage if it goes unnoticed for a while.
Signs you may have a leak or drip include:
- Discolouration around your plumbing fixture
- Stains on ceilings, walls or floors
- Visible mould or mildew on walls, ceiling and floors can be signs of a leaking pipe
- Musty smelling rooms caused by mildew or mould you can’t see such as underfloor or in the walls
- Wet spots outside your house or on the lawn, when it hasn’t rained
What to check
Check for any leaks or drips from or near indoor and outdoor taps.
Hot Water Cylinder
Check the around and on top of your hot water cylinder for discolouration as this is a sign if you may have a leak which can cause damage to the main cylinder from corrosion/reaction with the foam insulation, making it very costly to heat the water.
Check for leaks around the toilet, does the bowl or pan have a crack? If you hear the toilet refilling long after you’ve flushed it you may need to make adjustments.
Check the condition of any exterior and interior pipes that you can easily see.
Small issues left unchecked can often lead to bigger problems down the line.
2. Clean the Drains
Any plumber will tell you that a clogged or slow clearing drain can quickly become expensive to fix. Some simple steps can be taken to maintain your drains and prevent blockages.
Signs you may have clogged drains include:
- Sink, toilet and shower are slow to drain
- Water backs up out of the drain or septic tank
- Toilet makes gurgling sounds when flushed
- Foul smell coming from drain or sink
DIY cleaning methods
The good old plunger can help clear a drain.
Pouring white vinegar and hot water down the drain helps maintain a clean drain. Soaking your shower heads in white vinegar can remove the build-up, use a rubber band to tie a bag filled with 50% white vinegar and 50% water mixed around the shower head and leave to soak overnight before rinsing off.
Sink Strainer/ Drain Screen
If you want to prevent blocked drains consider buying a sink strainer/drain screen from a hardware shop. In your bathroom hair and soap scum buildup in the bath and shower to causes blockages over time. Food scraps and coffee grinds are common causes of blocked drains in the kitchen.
Clear the gutters
Clean the gutters and check that the downpipe drains are clear of rubbish.