Knowing a few simple things about plumbing and keeping your drains and disposals in good shape can help prevent the need for expensive plumbing repair or emergency plumbing down the road. First and foremost, understanding how to find and when to shut off your main water valve could save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in professional water damage remediation work in the case of a broken pipe or severe leak. Follow these five money-saving plumbing tips to effectively and economically maintain your plumbing.
1. Know how and when to locate and shut off your main water valve
It’s vital that each person in your home or commercial building know how to locate and turn off the main water valve. In the event of a broken pipe, severe leak or other problem involving uncontrolled flooding, quickly shutting off water flow is essential. The main shut-off valve is usually located either near the street curb, on the side of your home or building, or in the garage. If you’re not sure of the location, call your local water provider. Some main water valves require a special tool to shut off the water, which can usually be purchased at your local hardware store. Make sure you have one, and that it’s hanging next to the main valve. Practice turning off the main water valve and avoid getting hosed in the event of a flooding emergency due to plumbing failure.
2. Repair broken garbage disposal
Kitchen sink disposals do wear out with overuse or age, but sometimes they just get jammed and need to be freed and reset. If your disposal doesn’t work and there’s no electrical humming noise, turn off the disposal switch and try pressing the red reset button on the bottom of the disposal. If the disposal still doesn’t work but you hear an electrical hum, immediately turn off the switch and insert a plate-turning tool into the middle of the bottom of the disposal and giving it a good crank in either direction until it turns freely. Remove the tool and then try switching the disposal on again.
If there’s no hum when you turn on the power switch, check your electrical box for a blown fuse or tripped breaker. If neither of these procedures fix the problem, replacement is probably necessary. Call a plumbing installation expert.
3. Test your toilet for leaks and running water
Toilets eventually leak water from the tank to the bowl, causing unnecessary water waste. To check for leaks, add a few drops of food coloring to the tank of your toilet, not the bowl. Don’t flush it. After about fifteen minutes, if the water in the toilet bowl is becoming the same color as the tank water, you have a leak. Replacing worn components in your toilet tank is an inexpensive and easy fix.
4. Reduce your water bill
Keep an eye out for leaks or drips in toilets, showers, sink faucets and spigots, and if you notice moisture on walls, cabinets or flooring that can’t be explained, inspect them immediately or hire a professional plumber to do so. You can also save by checking your water heater settings twice a year to make sure your heater isn’t working harder than it needs to, wasting valuable energy. When installing replacement plumbing fixtures, choose those that conserve water. Any added expense will likely pay for itself many times over.
5. Don’t overload the kitchen sink
Food waste piles up after a meal, making kitchen sinks prime candidates for clogging if there’s no trap or disposal system in place. Never pour fats or cooking oils down your sink because they harden and coagulate, eventually causing a clogged drain. Buy inexpensive traps for your drains to catch food particles that would otherwise go down, and empty them into your garbage or compost after doing dishes. Limiting what goes down your drains will help avoid costly rooter service down the road.
Hair and hygiene products are the main clogging culprits in bathroom sinks and showers. Remove hair from the sink, shower and bathtub before it goes down the drain. If it does go down, run enough hot water to flush it all the way though the line.
Follow these 5 money-saving plumbing tips to prevent costly plumbing repairs and save money on utility bills. For plumbing problems you can’t fix on your own, trust locally and family-owned South County Plumbing, a full-service residential and commercial plumbing company in Lynnwood/Edmonds. Call (425) 276-7420 to schedule plumbing repair or plumbing installation services from Everett to Shoreline, or contact by email.
Edited by Justin Vorhees
Leak Detection & Plumbing Repair
in Edmonds & Lynnwood
Affordable expert plumbing in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Bothell, Everett, Arlington, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Shoreline, Snohomish, Woodinville, Silver Lake & Maltby