Water damage is the third leading cause of home insurance claims, Investopedia reports. In the past two years alone, 57% of homeowners with water damage spent roughly $5,000 on repairs, while 15% spent at least $20,000. As a homeowner, performing simple and regular maintenance can help keep your plumbing in good working order and avoid expensive problems.

Weekly maintenance

Weekly plumbing maintenance is a simple way to spot and address small issues before they spiral into bigger problems. Firstly, check for leaks in your pipes once a week. Small household leaks waste up to 1 trillion gallons of water every year nationwide. In particular, keep an eye out under your sinks for water marks, water pools, or mold. Old pipe fittings, pipe valves, faucets, and leaky shower heads are some of the most common places for leaks. Turn on your faucets, and make sure water doesn’t come out of the handles or valves. If you have any leaky fixtures, simply replacing them will solve the problem.

Water heater maintenance

During the colder weather, your water heater is under extra pressure to keep the water hot. Simple regular maintenance is therefore essential to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Sediment can typically build up in the heater, so it’s important to flush it out regularly. Sediment is responsible for corrosion, poor performance, and decreasing the heater’s overall lifespan. It’s also important to keep the temperature setting at 120 degrees F for best performance.
You can check the heater’s pressure release valve by gently pulling the lever and letting it go. However, this should only be performed in newer heaters less than five years old. A plumber should assess older heaters to avoid potentially causing damage. If you have an older heater prone to leaks or problems, a water heater replacement may be a better solution. Most heaters have a lifespan of between ten and twenty years, with newer models lasting as long as twenty years with proper maintenance.

Clogged drains

Clogged drains are a common yet easily avoidable plumbing issue. Never pour cooking oils and fats like butter down the kitchen sink: the grease will congeal and block the pipes. Also take care to use the garbage disposal correctly. Never put tough, fibrous foods like potato or banana peels in the disposal, and run cold water for at least 15 seconds after using to help flush away waste.

In the bathroom, you can avoid clogging the drains by waiting at least ten minutes in between showers: this helps maintain healthy water pressure and avoids overworking your plumbing system. Additionally, installing screens over your drains to catch hair can keep drains in good condition. Keep usage of oily and greasy body care products to a minimum, and avoid using chemical clog removal products that can corrode your pipes.

Taking care of your plumbing is essential for preventing and catching small problems early on before they grow into something larger. With these maintenance tips, you can save water and money, and keep your plumbing system in excellent condition.