Home Plumbing Maintenance
The ultimate DIY guide to plumbing inspection for the homeowner
Posted 09:26 May 23, 2017
Last Updated 08:43 November 17, 2017
Your home plumbing system needs regular inspection and maintenance. As a homeowner you can perform many of the simple tasks on your own. By becoming a DIY home plumber you can save money and catch small problems before they turn into large problems.
Home Plumbing Maintenance Checklist
☑ Conduct an extensive leak detection inspection throughout your home. Inspect the area surrounding all plumbing fixtures, pipes, and home slab (or basement). While inspecting your fixtures, test all water shut off valves. They should turn freely and easily. If they do not they should be replaced. If you have a pool or spa, review our guide to finding swimming pool leaks.
☑ Inspect all visible pipes. Pay special attention to pipe joints and look for corrosion and leaks. If you have a basement or crawlspace inspect every pipe line you have access to. If you have brass or copper pipes, corrosion will look like bluish-green deposits. Steel or iron pipes corrode with common rust. If corrosion is starting, it's only a matter of time until a leak develops.
☑ Test all drains in your sinks, tubs, and showers. They should drain quickly. Slow drains have clogs or partial blockages. Gurgling drains may also have a blockage, or a drain vent may be blocked. If you have a clog, review our guide on cleaning and clearing drain lines. Under your sinks, check for any mold, mildew, or other signs of leaks. Remove your p-traps and clean and replace them as necessary. You might even find a recently lost treasure.
☑ Clean your garbage disposal. Simple care requires pouring a little vinegar and baking soda down the disposal after use. DIY homeowner pros create white vinegar ice cubes. Put a little food coloring in them so you can keep them side-by-side your regular ice cubes (the food coloring will help you know which is which). If your garbage disposal has strong odors, add some cut up lemon slices or lemon juice to the mix. Once a week run 2 of these ice cubes through your disposal. This will keep your garbage disposer happy and clean.
☑ If you have a water line that runs to your refrigerator and an automatic ice maker, it may have a filter. This filter is often overlooked by homeowners for years. Change the filter in accordance with your refrigerator manufacturer's guidelines.
☑ Examine your washing machine water supply line hoses. Over time they can become brittle, crack, corrode, and eventually develop leaks. Also check the shut off valves. They should turn freely and easily.
☑ Once a year you should flush your hot water heater and if necessary, replace the anode rod. A common telltale sign of anode rod failure, is a rotten egg smell coming from your home water.
☑ If you have a home with many bathrooms, some of which are rarely used, get in the habit of routinely flushing them once a week. This will refill evaporated water in the bowl, test for smooth operation, and check for any leaks or developing problems.
☑ Once a month inspect all the toilets in your home. Lift the lid and check the flapper inside. Make sure it's easily making a seal. Cities that have highly chlorinated water can result in rapid deterioration of the flapper. Certain toilet automatic cleaning tablets (the blue stuff) are also very hard on the flapper and can cause it to fail earlier than it should. Additionally, gently try to rock the toilet back and forth. It shouldn't move at all. If it does, check the mounting bolts for tightness at the toilet base. If the bolts are tight, the toilet requires a new flange and will need to be reinstalled.
☑ Check all sink aerators and showerheads. If any are clogged, spraying sideways, or otherwise impeded, they can be cleaned by soaking in vinegar overnight. Extremely clogged aerators or showerheads may need to be replaced.
☑ If you don't know where it is, find your main water shut off line. Know where it so that in case of an emergency you can shut the water off if necessary. Keep a shut off tool on hand to make this task easier.
All Trades in Las Vegas can help you with any home plumbing need. We can perform these inspections for you, fix problems that you find, or help you with any plumbing problem that comes up. We even offer 24/7 emergency service.