• DIY Tips:

  • DIY Plumbing and Heating – Maintenance Tips and How-Tos for Your Home

    There are many easy, cost-effective measures homeowners can take to maintain their plumbing systems and appliances, potentially saving in repairs and replacement costs. Here are some of my best Do-It-Yourself tips:

    Sinks, Faucets and Drains

    • Be sure to check under sinks for moisture or small leaks. And always repair leaky faucets right away, not only to avoid water damage to your home but also to avoid paying for wasted water. Even small drips can waste thousands of gallons of water, as much as 150 gallons a day!
    • Don’t forget that toilet leaks can be wasteful and expensive, as well. At least once a year, check your toilet for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is colored red, water is seeping through from the tank. If it’s leaking, you should replace the tank ball.
    • Remove and clean your faucet aerators annually to ensure an even flow of water.
    • Make sure overflow holes on tubs and vanities are clear and open to prevent water damage to floors and ceilings.
    • To help prevent clogs, fit all your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly. Avoid rinsing fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink.  Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs.
    •  Do not use caustic liquid drain openers, such as Liquid Plumber, on a drain that is completely clogged. The caustic ingredients become trapped in your pipes and can severely damage them.  If you can’t snake the drain yourself, contact a professional to do so.

    Garbage Disposals

    • Always use plenty of cold water when running your disposal.
    • Avoid overloading it and never dispose of hard items like corn husks or bones into the unit.
    • If your disposal stops working, try the reset switch (usually found on the bottom of the unit) before calling a professional.
    • Never use a caustic drain opener on a clogged kitchen drain that’s connected to a garbage disposal. You can extend the life of your garbage disposal by following these few simple guidelines. And you can extend the life of your hands by never using them to remove items dropped inside – use tongs instead!

    Hot Water Heaters

    • Before doing any maintenance on your water heater yourself, be sure to shut off the power—and read your owner’s manual.
    • At least once every three months, drain water from the tank. Over time sediment builds at the bottom of the heater, which can hamper performance. Draining a gallon or so helps remove the sediment.
    • You should also periodically inspect your water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips.  If it’s mostly yellow, or if you find any soot, your flue may be clogged, which is a dangerous situation. Contact a professional to have it evaluated and addressed.
    • At least once every two years, have your water heater inspected by a service technician. He or she will also check the drain valve for signs of leakage and the anode rods for corrosion.