Technician working on sink pipe

How You Can Prevent Leaks, Clogs and Flood Damage

You rely on your home’s plumbing to operate efficiently, but unseen troubles can hide in many places. Luckily, you can avoid obstructions, leaking and even flooding with a little preventive maintenance. Here’s how you can keep your water flowing and your stress in check.

Learn to Recognize and Prevent Leaks of All Sizes

Most of your home plumbing system is hidden, so water issues often go unnoticed until they are capable of significant water damage. Regularly checking for leaks can help you catch issues early. Here’s what to do:

  • Check under the sink for signs of standing water, wood decay or mold growth.
  • Be on the lookout for small leaks in any of your toilets by adding some drops of dye to the tank. If the color shows up in the bowl after 30 minutes without flushing, you’ve got a leak.
  • Examine around and behind your kitchen appliances, including the dishwasher or washing machine, for signs of water damage or leaks.
  • Schedule a water meter test.
    • To get started, shut off all water in your home via the home’s water main.
    • Then, go outside to check the water meter. Verify the reading again after two hours, and do your best not to use any water before the test is done.
    • If the reading is different, there is a leak somewhere.

Employ Drain Strainers

Another effective way to prevent clogging is to place sink strainers over your kitchen and bath drains. They trap hair, pieces of soap, old toothpaste and other debris as water goes down the drain. Stick to a regular schedule when you clean these strainers to keep your drains running smoothly.

Know What Not to Flush

Toilets are designed to dispose of human waste and toilet paper. Here’s what you should never flush:

  • Wet wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Baby diapers
  • Floss
  • Expired medication

Know What Not to Rinse

A lot of sinks in the kitchen may be outfitted with a garbage disposal, but several things still belong in the trash can or compost heapp, and never dumped into the drain, including:

  • Grease, oil and cooking fat
  • Stringy foods like corn and celery stalks
  • Old food like boiled rice or coffee grounds
  • Tough pieces of food such as fruit pits and animal bones
  • Anything that isn’t edible. Silverware and other small items can fall into the disposal and damage something when you turn it on.

Invest in a Sump Pump

Installing a sump pump will go a long way toward preventing flooding, particularly in climates prone to high annual rainfall. This device extracts water that accumulates in its sump basin, generally installed in the floor of your basement, and drains it away from the house. For homeowners who already have a sump pump, make sure it’s in good shape by pouring water into the pit. If the pump activates and the pit drains, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t work properly, you have time to call a professional to service your sump pump before another big thunderstorm rolls through.

Locate the Main Water Shutoff Valve

Being aware of your plumbing system means knowing the location of your main water shutoff valve. This valve controls water flowing into your home, so knowing where it is means you can turn it off quickly in a plumbing emergency. It’s also wise to turn off this valve before leaving town for an extended period. Common locations for the main shutoff valve include the basement, near the water heater, in a utility closet or outside the home buried underground.

Do Everything You Can to Avoid Frozen Pipes

In climates with cold winters, helping protect your pipes is crucial to minimize the risk of freezing and bursting. Here is what you can do:

  • Insulate pipes in purely functional/utility spaces like the basement, garage or attic with insulating foam or heating tape.
  • Remove garden hoses from their spigots all through the winter to stop ice from forming inside the pipes.
  • Keep your cabinet doors under the sink open during cold spells to encourage airflow around the pipes.

Put in a Backflow Valve

Experienced plumbers often suggest that homeowners set up a backflow valve in the basement floor drain to prevent sewage from backing up into their homes after heavy rainfall. A professional plumber can install this effective defense against sewage flowing back into the house.

Install Flood Alarms

Just as smoke alarms are a big part of good fire safety, flood alarms can help avoid water damage. These electric or battery-operated devices sense pooling water at the earliest stages of flooding or leaks, triggering an alarm to inform you. For even more protection, include smart flood alarms into your home security system. This alerts you on your phone as soon as water is detected, enabling you to deal with leaks before they cause significant damage.

Work with a Reliable Plumber

While you can implement many preventive steps on your own to stop clogs, leaks and flood damage, there are situations where you need an experienced plumber to keep things flowing smoothly. That’s where Canyon State Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing comes in. We are a network of plumbers supporting U.S. homeowners from coast to coast with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

If you’re not completely happy with your level of service by next year, we will do everything we can to make it right. This promise shows how we strive to make a meaningful difference in your life. For some of the best plumbing service that exceeds expectations, please contact us today.