When it comes to plumbing, there are certain preventive measures that can help you avoid unnecessary water and money loss. From cutting down on daily water use, making sure taps and pipes are in good shape to conserving water and reducing bills – it’s easier than you might think.
Turn off those taps
A dripping tap is more than just an annoying sound; it can cause the waste of up to 15 gallons of water per day and add approximately $100 to your yearly water bill. To avoid wasting precious water, make sure you turn your taps off all the way. If fully closed taps continue to leak, have them repaired or replaced. Investing in plumbing maintenance now will help you save money in the long run.
Go for low-flow
Installing a low-flow showerhead is an easy way to significantly reduce water consumption. Even a 10 minute shower with a conventional showerhead can use up to 42 gallons of water. Low-flow showerheads are easy to install and use far less water. Go the extra mile and set a household shower time limit. The teenagers in the house may be less than impressed but your reduced water bill will be worth the complaints.
Expose hidden leaks
Not all water leaks can be spotted with the naked eye. Some leaks are hidden and require some detective work on the part of the homeowner to be found. To determine if your home has any hidden leaks, check your water meter before and after a specific period of time when no water has been used. If the meter has changed, there may be a leak lurking somewhere in your home.
Don’t neglect your drains
Drains are often overlooked until they become clogged and no longer work effectively. To keep your drains in working order and avoid unwanted build-up, pour a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down them on a monthly basis. In the bathroom, use strainers in the sink and bathtub drains to keep hair and soap out of your pipes. Avoid using harsh chemical drain cleaners as they are harmful to the environment and can damage your pipes.
Listen to your toilet
If your toilet is making a gurgling noise, your home might be experiencing main drain problems. If the main drain was installed prior to 1980, there is a good chance it is made of clay and therefore easily penetrated by tree roots. A ‘gurgling toilet’ and wet marks around floor drains are early indications that underground roots are growing and placing pressure on your pipes. Listen to your toilet and have an experienced plumber fix the problem before your pipes break and must be replaced.
Check your toilet for leaks
According to Environment Canada, the toilet is considered the home’s biggest water waster, with toilet flushing accounting for 30 per cent of daily home water usage. To test your toilet for leaks, drop some food coloring into the tank. If the color seeps into the toilet bowl within 10 to 15 minutes, your toilet has a leak. Prevent unnecessary water-loss by ensuring your toilet is leak-free.
Follow garbage disposal guidelines
While garbage disposals might seem like indestructible incinerators, certain items can lead to their demise. Poultry skins, celery, fruit pits and bananas are not garbage disposal friendly – they can cause a build-up of debris which can lead to blockages and offensive odors. Also, bones should never be put in the garbage disposal as they can damage the sides of the grinding chamber.
Keep fats and oil out of your drains
Too many people think it makes sense to pour hot cooking grease down a sink or toilet. After all, you can’t pour it in the garbage bag. But when that grease cools it solidifies and sticks to the insides of your pipes. Over time, it will build up and block the entire pipe. Rather than dumping grease into your plumbing system, pour it in a heat-resistant container, let it solidify and then throw it in the garbage.
Yes you should floss, but no, you shouldn’t flush your floss. Today’s dental floss is shed-resistant and won’t break down. When dental floss enters the sewage system, it bonds with other waste and forms large clumps that block pipes.
For some, it’s common practice to flush discarded hair from hairbrushes or haircuts down the toilet, which is why there is an enormous market for anti-clog products, and roommates who don’t leave hair clumps in the shower. If you don’t want a backed up toilet, don’t flush hair.
Tips For The Winter
When it comes to plumbing, there are certain ‘cold weather’ preventative measures that will help maintain a healthy, efficient water system and avoid excess water loss and excessive bills. Direct Energy recommends the following plumbing maintenance tips to help safeguard your system throughout the winter months:
Outside water valves
To protect your pipes and keep them from freezing in the severe cold, turn off the valve that controls the tap for your garden hose. This will avoid water entering the hose and freezing, causing the pipes to burst.
Know the location of your home’s main water valve
In case of a major incident – such as a pipe bursting – where you might need to immediately shut off all of the water in the home, it’s critical to know where the main water valve is located. This valve is usually located next to the water meter and should be kept in good condition. To maintain your home’s main water valve and keep it in working order, open and close it once a year.
Hire right the first time
Your home is typically one of the biggest, most important purchases you can make – the result of a painstaking search that might have taken months or even years. Therefore, when it comes to home maintenance – from air conditioner repairs to plumbing maintenance – it only makes sense to hire someone who is qualified and will do the job well. Direct Energy offers the following tips for finding the right technician to make repairs to your prized possession:
Hire a technician from a well-known, reputable organization such as Direct Energy.
Make sure the technician is licensed and insured.
Use a technician who will provide an upfront explanation of the entire repair process.
Ensure you have an itemized work order that shows exactly what is going to be done and how much it will cost – in advance!