The average family has four people in it. The average family with four people in it uses an average of 400 gallons of water every day. That’s a lot of water being piped into your home, and going down your drains. With our dependence on water, staying on top of plumbing maintenance and drain repairs is incredibly important. A plumbing nightmare can result in flood damage, being (literally) knee-deep in waste, and thousands of dollars in repair bills.
To help you avoid a plumbing nightmare, we’ve put together a list of good maintenance tips for your pipes and drains.
- Have your drains inspected regularly.
When you purchase a home, many mortgage companies require an inspection be conducted on the condition of the drains in order to qualify for funding. Even after you own your home, it’s a good idea to bring in plumbing contractors every two years or so to catch any potential damage before you are knee-deep in backed up sewage.
Ideally, get a drain inspection that involves a sewer line camera being run through your whole system, so that any minor damage that is lurking underground will be caught before it’s a nightmare. Another benefit to the sewer camera inspection is that your sewer lines are cleaned out with a high-powered jet prior to the camera line being run through it, which makes them clean as a whistle.
- Be cautious of trees.
The biggest culprit behind clogged and busted drains are invasive tree roots. As trees grow tall, their roots grow equally deep into the ground, and tree roots are powerful enough to break into your sewer lines. Before you move into a house, make sure that any existing trees are not already invading your sewer lines, and plant any new trees at least 10 feet away from any pipes or sewer lines underground. If you are planting a tree that gets particularly large at maturity (such as a eucalyptus, an oak, or elm tree) you want to plant them even further away from any pipes underground.
- Watch what you put in your drains.
Your drains are only designed to handle water-based fluids and organic material. If you put anything that is oil-based (such as fats or grease) into your drains, just running water down the drain, which clears away most debris, does not push it through your pipes. Rather than going through your system to the sewers, the grease builds up until it has completely blocked your drain. Likewise, any solid object that you flush down your toilet (other than organic material which breaks down on its own) has the same potential to cause a blockage.
- Be smart when clear you drains out.
Drain cleaners that are powerful enough to burn through greasy substances are also powerful enough to burn through your pipes; do yourself a favor and stay away from those harmful chemicals. Instead, try one of the less damaging solutions:
- Pour boiling water down the drain to melt the build up.
- Flush it with baking soda and then pour vinegar to oxidize the build up.
- Use a plunger to push the clog through the drains.
- Use an inexpensive auger to retract blockages.
- Call a plumber for blockages you just can’t beat on your own.
A three dollar drain cleaner can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars if it corrodes your pipes.
- Consider your options when disaster strikes.
Sometimes, even with the best intentions, pipes burst and need to be replaced. Yes, this can be expensive and a hassle. The traditional method of pipe replacement involves using a backhoe to destroy your entire front lawn (and sometimes the foundation of your home), to pull the pipes up and replace them, and then you must restore everything. However, there are new or methods of sewer line replacement that are far less invasive. Instead, contractors dig one hole at the beginning and at the end of the damaged pipe, and then simply run in epoxy lining through the pipe which hardens and reinforces it to make it stronger than it was brand-new. This method of pipe replacement is called “cured in place pipe repair,” and is far less of a nightmare than conventional methods.
Do you have any other great pipe and drain maintenance tips? Please share them in the comment section below.