5 Plumbing Maintenance Checks We Tend to Forget
Plumbing is involved in so many aspects of having a smoothly running home. When we think of household plumbing systems, many of us think of water coming from kitchen and bathroom faucets, showers, supplying dish or clothes washers, or being heated by our water heaters. Not to mention outdoor spigots and sprinklers. The list begins to get lengthy when you start listing all the uses of water in our homes.
In this blog post, our plumbing team at Save Home Heat Company would like to remind our readers of some of the less common plumbing maintenance tasks, annual or otherwise, that many of us tend to forget about when making up our seasonal project and chore lists.
While some of these items can be easily dealt with by a handy homeowner, in other cases a call to your trusted home services contractor may be the right move. Please read on and see if there’s something important that may not have occurred to you…
Sewer Line Inspection
The main sewer line on your property, which removes all wastewater from your home, is naturally a critical part of your home’s overall plumbing system. The sewer line typically runs underground from your home out to where it connects with the municipal piping system by the street, and it is your responsibility to maintain it up that point. This main drain line should be inspected on a regular basis in order to help you avoid a potentially costly and aggravating situation from developing.
Factors that can impact your main sewer line include:
- Tree root intrusion (this can be a big one!)
- Age of piping
- Shifting ground
- Soil components surrounding the piping underground
- Obsolete pipe material, such as clay, cast iron, and certain types of plastic
Our plumbing team at Save Home Heat is equipped with modern, high tech video cameras that are designed to be fished down into sewer and drain lines in order to visually inspect the condition inside the line. This allows us to accurately assess blockages that may be causing problems, or observe issues that are starting to develop. This allows us to determine if any further action should be recommended, and also helps determine the proper schedule for how often the line should be inspected.
Tree Root Intrusion & The Vagaries of Age
The presence of nearby trees that are known for extensive root systems that can spread and damage sewer lines – including poplar, elm, ash, sycamore, aspen, oak, birch, beech, willows, and others – as well as aging piping that has seen better days, are two good reasons for making sure to have your sewer line inspected regularly by a trusted plumbing and drains contractor. How often this inspection should be performed depends on what we see.
Whole-House Water Pressure Check
The water pressure in your home is not necessarily the same as the water that’s being delivered to it by the municipal water system. In many cases, the incoming “city pressure” can be significantly higher than what’s in the best short and long term interests of many components in your home’s plumbing system. Specifically, think of items such as automatic water valves for dish and clothes washers, ice makers and water dispensers, faucet seals and water controls, toilets, and even the actual piping delivering water around your home.
Whole-house water pressure reducing valves (PRVs), which are designed to step city pressure down to levels that are appropriate for residential use, are required by code in new homes virtually everywhere in the Denver-Boulder metro area, and many existing homes have them, as well. Our team recommends having your home’s water pressure checked routinely, and at different times of the year, and making sure your home’s PRV is working properly. If you don’t have a whole-house pressure reducing valve and are operating off of “city pressure,” we recommend you look into possibly having one installed.
Household Water Quality Testing
As health and safety researchers continue to learn more about the impacts of various substances and elements found in potable water supplies, water quality standards are occasionally adjusted to reflect new knowledge. With that in mind, as well as a desire to make sure you and your family are not unknowingly ingesting potentially harmful substances, having your home’s water tested on a regular basis can be a good insurance policy for your health and wellbeing.
If potential concerns are identified in your home’s water supply, that would be a good time to learn about steps that can be taken to remedy the situation. There are a variety of proven products available to address issues such as hard water and the presence of potentially harmful elements and chemicals.
Drain Line Maintenance
Secondary and branch drain lines are an aspect of the plumbing system inside your home that can often be neglected – as long as they’re doing their job. But blissful ignorance may not be in your best interests when you think of the variety of things that are rinsed down those pipes regularly. Maintaining their insides, keeping them clean and flowing freely, is something we recommend doing something about routinely. This can help avoid the need to have these indoor pipe lines video inspected or repaired, “down the line” so to speak!
There are a variety of non-toxic, non-corrosive drain maintenance products now available that can be easily mixed with warm water or in some cases, simply poured down the drain, which will do a good job of maintaining a clean drain line if used on a regular basis. These products often contain a variety of natural, biological enzymes or other similar products. Always follow manufacturer instructions meticulously.
And of course, you can help prevent the need for extensive drain line maintenance by avoiding putting things into your drain system that don’t belong there!
Items that shouldn’t be put down your drain (or garbage disposal) include:
- Cooking oil
- Coffee grounds
- Egg shells
- Starchy foods like bread or pasta
- Cotton balls
- Baby wipes
- Paper towels
- Cat litter
Garbage Disposal Upkeep
The health of your garbage disposal can be closely related to the health of your drain pipes, and similar natural products can be used to keep it clean and maintain your disposal naturally, including natural biological enzymes, baking soda, or vinegar. We recommend researching and reading carefully before proceeding with any type of treatment. Some sources even recommend thoroughly grinding a small amount of orange or lemon rind in your garbage disposal to keep it smelling fresh – but don’t get carried away with how much you use!
Denver-Boulder Expert Plumbing Services
The most tried-and-true way to extend the life of your home’s plumbing system and prevent the need for costly emergency repairs is by keeping up with regular maintenance. In addition to checking those features that are visible, we urge our readers to learn more those hidden areas that could cause you trouble over time.
For virtually all plumbing needs for your Boulder-Denver metro area home, please contact our friendly, expert service team at Save Home Heat Company.