When that slow drip turns into a torrential flood, you know it’s time to call the plumber. But while plumbing problems can arise out of the blue, the truth is that many plumbing problems are predictable and even preventable. If you can catch the problem early enough, you can save yourself time, money, and all the aggravation and potential damage caused by a sink or toilet backing up and leaking water all over your beautiful new hardwood floors. Here’s a quick primer on what you can do to help small plumbing problems morphing into severe ones:
- Stay on top of slow drains. One of the most common plumbing problems is a clogged drain. But before it gets to that point, you’ll probably notice slow water drainage. If you do, consider letting a plumbing professional handle it. While many people opt for do-it-yourself repairs not every homeowner has the skill needed to resolve these issues before they become more serious. If you do want to tackle the issue yourself, try a wet/dry vacuum which can beat time-consuming extraction with an auger.
- Be proactive. Sometimes you call in a professional to take care of a small problem, and the plumber identifies a larger problem that needs to be tackled. But perhaps it’s not urgent, and it’s costly, and you opt to put it off. Don’t. Neglecting a critical repair can lead to more expensive repairs in the future.
- Get regular service and maintenance. Smart homeowners put themselves on a regular maintenance schedule to address ongoing issues. For instance, a home experiencing tree roots blocking outdoor drains might arrange to have a plumber clear drains every six months, just to prevent any flooding damage that might occur if blocked drains back-up and overflow into a home.
- Get your plumbing inspected. Sometimes, it’s not so much about actual service as it is simple inspection. Every so often, have a professional plumber assess your entire system to see if its at risk for future issues. For example, depending on the age of your home and the water lines running to it, pipes made from older materials can be major sources for clogs and leaks. Old terra cotta waste lines can become cracked and invaded by roots, and steel pipes are prone to internal rusting that lead to a buildup, eventually bursting or reducing water pressure to unacceptable levels. Having a regular inspection can help you address these sorts of issues before they lead to big headaches.
- Avoid do-it-yourself installations. Many homeowners think they can tackle installing a new sink or replacing an old tub or shower. That is, until they’ve finished the job, only to find that one critical element wasn’t installed properly. Don’t let this be you. When it comes to installing new plumbing fixtures, you’re better off opting to go with a professional who can ensure that all your wonderful new fixtures will function like a charm.
- Plan ahead. Anytime you do a home repair involving opening floors or walls in your bathroom or kitchen, consider making upgrades to older pipes nearing the end of their lifespans.