10 Ways to Prevent Plumbing Problems

We get a lot of questions from customers asking how they can take care of their homes and prevent plumbing problems and unnecessary expenses. We’re all about helping you save money and only stepping in when you need serious plumbing work.

Avoiding these ten common plumbing mistakes can save money and prevent problems.

1. DIY Plumbing Without Guidance

It’s hard to diagnose and fix something without the proper experience, equipment, or tools. Misusing a tool can damage it and possibly result in serious injury.

You also don’t want to cut or drill in the wrong place. Attempting plumbing repairs on your own can damage pipes, wiring, or ductwork behind a wall you didn’t know was there, which can cause a flood, gas leak, electrical shock, or HVAC damage.

If you don’t have much DIY experience, we recommend either sticking to the simple plumbing DIY projects like simple drain unclogging or finding an experienced plumber to learn from.

2. Not Updating the Water Heater

Don’t assume your hot water heater will last forever. On average, water heaters last between eight and 12 years.

If your water heater shows signs of failure or you’re not getting sufficient hot water, consider a replacement. Many water heaters fail quietly but not all. Some fail catastrophically with disastrous flooding, which can cause a lot of water damage. Do regular, annual maintenance on your water heater to keep an eye on it and keep it in good working condition.

Today’s water heaters have higher efficiency ratings and can save you money in the long run, and there are even greener options, such as a tankless water heater. In addition to lower operating costs, tankless water heaters waste less gas and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

3. Proper Drain Care

Clogged drains are a common plumbing problem. Avoid pouring grease, oil, or food scraps down the drain to prevent blockages. Do not put fibrous material down your garbage disposal, such as celery, cornhusks, artichokes, potato peels, or onion skins. Additionally, don’t allow water-absorbing foods down the drain, like coffee grounds, rice, or pasta.

Use drain screens to catch hair and debris. Regularly flush your drains with hot water to remove any buildup. If you notice slow drainage, address it promptly to prevent further issues.

4. Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners may seem like a quick fix for clogged drains, but they can cause more harm than good. These harsh chemicals can corrode pipes, cause high temperatures within your pipes, and damage your plumbing system. Instead, use natural alternatives like baking soda and vinegar, or call a professional plumber for safe and effective drain cleaning.

5. Insulate Pipes

During colder months, frozen pipes can cause significant damage. Insulate exposed pipes in unheated areas, such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces. Insulation helps prevent freezing and reduces the risk of burst pipes. Additionally, insulating hot water pipes can conserve energy and reduce heat loss.

6. Proper Toilet Usage

Toilets are prone to clogs, which can be a significant inconvenience. Educate household members or employees about proper toilet usage. Avoid flushing excessive toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, “flushable” wipes, or other non-flushable items. Provide waste bins in bathrooms to encourage proper disposal. Should an emergency arise, use these tips to unclog a toilet.

7. Address Leaks Promptly

Even minor leaks can lead to significant water damage and mold growth. Inspect your plumbing fixtures regularly for any signs of leaks, such as dampness, discoloration, or musty odors. If you notice a leak, fix it immediately or call a professional plumber to prevent further damage.

8. Mindful Landscaping

The landscaping around your property can impact your plumbing system. Avoid planting trees or shrubs with invasive root systems near your sewer lines. Tree roots can infiltrate pipes, causing blockages and damage. Consult with a professional landscaper to ensure proper placement and maintenance of vegetation. Ten feet is the minimum any tree should be from your main sewer line; further is much better.

9. Educate and Train

Whether it’s your family or employees, educating everyone about proper plumbing practices is essential. Teach them about water conservation, proper usage of plumbing fixtures, and the importance of reporting plumbing issues promptly. By fostering a culture of awareness, you can prevent plumbing problems and maintain a well-functioning system.

10. Regular Plumbing Inspections

Regular inspections are crucial for identifying and preventing potential plumbing issues before they escalate. Hire a professional plumber to conduct routine inspections of your plumbing system. They will check for leaks, corrosion, and other signs of damage. Early detection can save you from major repairs down the line.

Bonus Plumbing Tips: Ensure every fixture has a shut-off valve installed so you can turn off the water in an emergency. Additionally, don’t fill your sink cupboards full of stuff. The drain piping can be delicate and easily damaged from jostling. Too much stuff can also insulate your drains from warm air in the winter, increasing their chances of freezing and bursting.

We hope these plumbing tips help keep your plumbing in great condition! If you ever need help with your plumbing, Black Hills will be there. Our plumbers provide leak detection and a full range of plumbing services, including installation, maintenance, and repairs in Olympia and Thurston County, Washington.

As one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Olympia area, Black Hills is licensed and bonded, and we stand by our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. To learn m