10 Important Plumbing Tips and Tricks

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Plumbing

Homeowners in search of a stress-free and comfortable household should keep in mind the significance of plumbing. First of all, we all need to understand that the condition of our plumbing has a substantial impact on our daily home activities and functions. Plumbing affects the water supply that we use to clean, wash, cook, and get rid of waste in the house. The first basic step to attain ease and comfort in the home is effective plumbing maintenance.

Our plumbing system consists of various parts–water supply line, drainage system, and water heating system–that call for special attention and regular care. Keeping the home plumbing in good shape has always been part and parcel of homeownership. Thus, we homeowners are accountable for the health and integrity of the household’s plumbing system. To make sure that plumbing issues are addressed in an appropriate and timely manner, we need to be equipped with know-hows on how to protect our plumbing from disasters and malfunctions.

Importance of Knowledge about Plumbing

Whether you are buying a home or selling one, knowing the basic plumbing tips is very useful. Plumbing issues or fixture malfunction such as clogs and leaks can occur once in a while. Some plumbing problems become more recurrent and minor issues turn big especially if we fail to observe the do’s and don’ts of plumbing. Knowledge of plumbing is a must to avoid major malfunctions and minimize damage. While we can always hire a plumbing expert to help us with our plumbing needs, being armed with basic know-how still goes a long way.

Tips and Tricks to Protect Your Plumbing

It is interesting to note that homeowners can actually do a variety of ways to make sure the home’s plumbing system remains in perfect shape. Below are 10 of the most significant strategies that every homeowner can apply at home so that all fixtures and components of the plumbing system continue to function well:

  • Don’t flush it unless it’s human waste. Some people tend to forget that the toilet is meant for flushing down human waste and nothing else. In fact, some of us would even treat the toilet bowl like a trash can and would flush any nasty debris down into the bowl including “flushable” wet wipes, tissue paper, candy wrappers, food debris, grease, hair, vegetable peelings, and other stuff that supposed to be thrown into a trash bin. According to WIN Home Inspection, items labeled as “flushable” can still harm our plumbing in the long run for they do not break down like ordinary toilet paper, thereby contributing to clogs. Wrong practice in using the toilet is the number one cause of clogged toilets and clogged pipes. If we learn to respect our plumbing and start educating everyone in the household about the proper usage of fixtures, we can definitely prevent major and costly plumbing problems.

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  • Use vinegar to remove stains and crust build-up. Taps and shower heads that have been used for a while will inevitably have water stains and crusty build-up on them. If you want to eliminate the dirt or grime accumulated around your faucet head and shower head, a natural DIY solution will do the trick. Simply soak the shower head or faucet in a plastic filled with white vinegar and leave it that way overnight. Your faucet and shower head will be looking good as new the next day.  
  • Use vinegar-baking soda mixture or coffee grounds to unclog drains. Clogged drains can be fixed without necessarily hiring a professional plumber. No need to buy a declogger from the store. Coffee grounds mixed with boiling water and dish soap can be an effective alternative for unclogging your drains. A mixture of the dish soap and coffee grounds should be poured into the drain first, followed by a good amount of boiling water. The combination of coffee grounds and dish soap, plus hot water dilution, is proven to  effectively break up debris stuck in your pipes. Mixing one cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda is also a potent drain cleaner. After pouring the vinegar-baking soda solution into the drain, you may leave it for up to 24 hours and then pour hot water into the drain the following day to complete the process.
  • Flush the toilet using bucket water. If you need to use the toilet but then you have a plumbing emergency or project going on so you have to shut off the main water supply, don’t worry. Family Handyman recommends flushing the toilet using bucket water, provided that you have already stored at least 2 gallons of water in a bucket before turning off your water supply. Although this trick won’t refill your bowl, still it works just as fine as the usual toilet flush.
  • Having a squeaky clean toilet bowl using a mouthwash. Having a spotless toilet bowl is very much achievable as long as you have a mouthwash at home. Experts have now shown that mouthwash is not only a powerful breath freshener but also an expedient solution to cleaning your toilet bowl. So, instead of buying a costly toilet bowl cleaner, you can simply take advantage of your mouthwash; anyway, all it takes is just a capful of it. After pouring mouthwash into the bowl, you need to leave it there first for about half an hour and then scrub the stains away afterwards. See the results for yourself.
  • Use a wet-dry vacuum to remove clogs. Another smart hack to solve congested drains is using a wet-dry vacuum. Plumbers themselves are very much familiar with this method because they also use the vacuum to remove clogs particularly when plungers prove ineffective. When it comes to sucking hard objects and unwanted rubbles out of your drain, the vacuum works every time.
  • Use cooking oil and water to dispel stink coming from your drain. At a certain point, sewer gases may escape and come out of our sink or bathroom drains making the home stink. One natural way to combat the smell is using cooking oil and water, which helps block and trap unpleasant odor. Just pour about four cups of fresh water and then add one tablespoon of cooking oil into the drain. This method particularly works well if your drains are seldom used or have been idle for some time. Once your drains dry out, smelly sewer gas will break out of the sewer system and go up the drains.
  • Apply food coloring to test for toilet leaks. Detecting toilet leaks as early as possible is one of the best ways to protect your plumbing and resolve the problem immediately before it gets worse. If you want to be sure whether your toilet’s flush valve seal is leaking or not, use a food coloring and squeeze a few drops of it into the toilet tank. Wait and observe first for a couple of hours and then later check your toilet bowl. See if the water in the bowl has also become tinted by the food coloring. If so, then your toilet’s flush valve is leaking. Doing this trick early on will help you save time and energy fixing the leak problem.
  • Remove creaking pipe sound through adhesive-backed felt. According to Family Handyman, copper pipes sometimes make creaking sounds when they rub against joists and pipe hangers. This happens when the pipes expand as a result of running hot water. To silence the pipes, secure an adhesive-backed felt and cut it into narrow pieces. Next, unfasten the hangers, wrap the pipes with the strips of adhesive-backed felt, and then refasten the hangers. 
  • Insulate your pipes. It is very important to keep our pipes properly insulated and there are a wide variety of pipe insulation materials to choose from. Proper insulation helps prevent the pipes from being frozen when temperatures drop. It also reduces the waiting time we spend for hot water to come out of our shower or faucet. Oliver Heating & Cooling discussed how heat is trapped in the insulated pipes as water travels from the water heater to the faucets. Because of this benefit, the water warms up faster and the amount of water wasted while waiting for the water to heat up is decreased.

Proper Plumbing Maintenance Goes a Long Way

The household’s plumbing system is a vital aspect of the home that necessitates appropriate measures for preservation and constant monitoring. The ten tips and hacks listed above are just some of the most effective methods of sustaining our plumbing and protecting the household from unfortunate mishaps related to plumbing such as flooding, leaks, and clogs. Applying these plumbing tips and tricks is quite easy and something ordinary homeowners can do without difficulty. Proper plumbing maintenance can make your daily living less miserable as you get to enjoy good and safe water supply and keep your drainage functioning smoothly. 

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