Plumbing runs throughout most of your home and into the surrounding landscape. But everywhere you can find pipes, valves, connections and taps, you may also find plumbing concerns. These four areas of your property are often the center of such concerns, and deserve a watchful eye to pre-empt issues and stop leaks or deterioration before it happens.
Bathroom and Kitchen
Since these areas of your home have the most concentrated amount of plumbing, it makes sense that more plumbing issues can be found in the bathroom and kitchen. From leaky pipes to clogged drains and broken taps, constant wear and pressure leave your plumbing fixtures and pipes vulnerable to problems.
Remember to watch for small amounts of water in these rooms, collecting where it should not. Even small leaks leave a mark, and water stains, puddles and soggy or spongy building materials are a sure sign of plumbing issues.
You may have heard horror stories about burst pipes in the bathroom or a leaky dishwasher in the kitchen. These issues can leave you with a massive repair bill and ongoing problems with mold and mildew.
Always have a licensed plumber look after your plumbing, unless it is a very straightforward job, such as replacing a bathroom or kitchen faucet. Running new pipes or installing new fixtures during a bathroom renovation or kitchen remodel are all jobs for a professional plumber. It may cost you more at the outset, but a skilled installation will dramatically cut down the risk of future problems.
Also, have a plumber inspect and repair leaks right away. Shut off the water and avoid using your bathroom or kitchen once a leak has been detected. Have the plumber out to take a look and book the repair as soon as possible. The short time of inconvenience can save you long periods of repairs and replacement later on, should a major problem occur.
Your water heater is another area where leaks and problems commonly occur. This large metal tank holds a significant amount of water every day, and contains heating elements and various connections to distribute that water. Corrosion takes a toll after about six to eight years. From that point on you will typically begin to see the unit deteriorate or notice a problem with the electrical components.
If your unit will not produce hot water, take a look at the heating element or thermostat. These components often wear out before the tank does, and replacement is fairly straightforward and affordable.
Sediment build up can cause problems inside the unit, resulting in knocking sounds or foul odors. Your plumber may replace the unit or simply drain the tank and flush it out. This process could extend the life of your hot water tank and improve efficiency.
When considering an upgrade, talk to your plumber about tankless water heaters or solar water heaters, both options that can reduce your heating costs and prolong the life of this plumbing system.
Sewer or Septic
An essential part of your plumbing, the sewer or septic system directs waste away from your home. A septic system lasts for many years, but requires regular maintenance and pumping. Plan to pump out your septic tank at least every two years and have the system inspected and assessed when adding or altering plumbing fixtures during a renovation.
Some systems include a pump to provide optimum flow for liquids, and a faulty pump requires immediate attention. Have the solids manually pumped from the tank and replace or repair the smaller pump to reduce the risk of overflow and damage.
Sewer systems are designed and managed by your local municipality, but the sewer line from your plumbing to the main line can be a source of concern. Avoid flushing solid objects down the toilet and clean out your drains on a regular basis to reduce the risk of clogging in this vital pipe.
Sewer back ups can be caused by excess water in the main line, flash flooding or clogged pipes. Although you cannot do much about the first two, it pays to be careful about your own drains in order to lessen the chance of a back up happening as a result of the last issue.
Leaks and broken pipes in your outdoor plumbing systems tend to flood the yard, but that water can easily find its way into your basement and result in major damage. A broken valve or frozen hose bib can result in water flowing freely into your finished basement. Make sure that your outdoor plumbing is drained and turned off for the cold winter months, and replace any broken valves and connections before a major leak occurs.
Leaky plumbing in your sprinkler system could erode your landscape and wash away patio bases and garden soil. Repairs after this type of plumbing issues can be very expensive. Stay on top of regular maintenance and have your irrigation system serviced in spring and fall to reduce the risk of leaks in your outdoor plumbing.
Plumbing issues and leaks can occur in almost any area of your home, although several deserve your focus. Always hire a licensed plumber to look after repairs and plumbing concerns in your kitchen and bathroom and keep a close eye on your water heater, especially if the unit is more than six years old. Your septic system requires regular maintenance as well, and clogged drainage pipes should be cleared out to avoid dangerous sewer back ups. Problems with your outdoor plumbing may result in a flooded basement, while leaks in an irrigation system can erode and destroy landscaping. Act quickly if any of these plumbing concerns arises in your home and trust your plumber to handle repairs professionally.