Technician working on sink pipe

Putting a Stop to Plumbing Leaks, Clogs and Flooding

You expect your home’s plumbing to support daily chores and plumbing fixtures, but unseen troubles can hide in many places. Thankfully, you can stop clogs, leaky pipes and floods with a little preventive maintenance. Here’s the way to keep your plumbing in check and your worries at bay.

Find and Prevent Leaks

Most of your home plumbing system is out of sight, so leaks often go on for weeks until they create the potential for water damage. Regularly checking for leaks can help you spot trouble before it gets worse. Here’s how:

  • Look under the sink for signs of standing water, rotting wood or mold growth.
  • Find small leaks in any of your toilets by adding a few drops of dye to the tank. If the color shows up in the bowl after 30 minutes without flushing, there is a leak.
  • Inspect around and behind your plumbing appliances, including the dishwasher or washing machine, for signs of water damage or leaking.
  • Have a professional perform a water meter test.
    • First, shut off all water in your home via the home’s water main.
    • Then, walk outside to read the water meter. Check it again after two hours, and do your best not to use any water before the test is done.
    • If the reading changes, it means there’s a leak somewhere.

Use Drain Strainers

An easy method to lower the risk of clogs is to place mesh strainers over your laundry, kitchen and bathroom drains. They trap hair, bits of soap, old toothpaste and other debris as water runs down the drain. these strainers to keep your drains flowing freely.

Be Aware of What Not to Flush

Toilets are designed to handle human waste and toilet paper. Here’s what you should never flush:

  • Baby and/or wet wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Soft cotton
  • Women’s hygiene products
  • Baby diapers
  • Floss
  • Out-of-date medications

Understand What Shouldn’t Be Rinsed

A lot of sinks in the kitchen may be outfitted with a garbage disposal, but several things still need to be thrown away or put in the compost heap, rather than dumped into the drain, including:

  • Grease from cooking
  • Tough foods like corn cobs and celery
  • Sticky foods like boiled rice or coffee grounds
  • Solid objects such as fruit pits and animal bones
  • Non-food items. Silverware and other small items may end up in the disposal and cause damage when you turn it on.

Get a Sump Pump

Installing a sump pump will go a long way toward preventing floods, particularly in regions prone to high annual rainfall. This device pumps out water that collects in something called the sump basin, generally installed in the floor of your basement, and pumps it out away from the house. If you already have a sump pump, make sure it’s in good shape by adding some water into the pit. As long as the pump activates and the pit drains, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t work properly, you have time to call a professional to service the pump before the next big storm.

Find the Main Shutoff Valve

Being familiar with your plumbing system means knowing how to find your main water shutoff valve. This valve manages water coming into your home, so knowing where it is means you can turn it off quickly in a plumbing emergency. It’s also wise to turn off this valve before leaving town for an extended period. Common locations for the main shutoff valve include the basement, near the water heater, in a utility closet or outside the home under the ground.

Protect Your Pipes from Freezing

In climates with cold winters, doing your part to protect the plumbing pipes is vital if you want to minimize the risk of freezing and bursting. Here are some professional recommendations:

  • Cover pipes in the appropriate insulation in purely functional/utility spaces like the basement, garage or attic with pipe insulation or heating tape.
  • Unhook garden hoses from outdoor faucets all through the winter to stop ice from forming inside the pipes.
  • Keep all cabinets with plumbing pipes open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.

Install a Backflow Valve

Another helpful plumbing tip is to install a backflow valve in the basement floor drain to stop sewage from flowing back into their homes after heavy rainfall. A professional plumber can fit this effective defense against sewage flowing back into the house.

Put in Flood Alarms

Similar to how smoke alarms are essential for fire safety, flood alarms can help avoid water damage. These electric or battery-operated devices sense pooling water at the earliest stages of flooding or leaks, sounding an alarm to inform you. For further protection, integrate smart flood alarms into your home security system. This alerts you on your phone once water has been detected, enabling you to deal with leaks before it leads to significant damage.

Trust Dependable Local Plumbers for Support

While you can carry out these and other preventive steps yourself to minimize the risk of clogs, leaks and flood damage, sometimes it takes Expert local plumbers to keep things flowing smoothly. That’s where United Plumbing Company excels. We work with some of the best plumbers supporting U.S. homeowners from coast to coast with service backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your level of service by next year, we promise to make it right. This commitment shows how we deliver total comfort and peace of mind in your life. For professional local plumbing service that exceeds expectations, please contact us today.