As a homeowner in Mesa, Arizona, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to plumbing issues. Plumbing problems can lead to costly repairs and even cause damage to your home. In this article, we’ll share essential plumbing tips that every homeowner in Mesa should know to help prevent plumbing problems and ensure your plumbing system is functioning properly.
Know Where Your Shut-Off Valves Are Located
In the event of a plumbing emergency, such as a burst pipe or overflowing toilet, it’s important to know where your shut-off valves are located. The main shut-off valve is typically located near the water meter, while individual shut-off valves for toilets, sinks, and appliances can be found near the fixtures they serve. Knowing where these valves are located can help you quickly shut off the water and prevent further damage.
Another reason why you need to know where your shut-off plumbing valves are located is for maintenance and repairs. If you need to perform any maintenance on a specific area of your home, such as replacing a faucet or a toilet, you will need to turn off the water supply to that area. Knowing the location of the shut-off valves will make it much easier for you to perform these tasks.
Knowing the location of your shut-off plumbing valves can also help you conserve water. If you have a leaky faucet or a toilet that runs constantly, turning off the shut-off valve can help you conserve water until you can get the necessary repairs done. This can help you save money on your water bill and conserve a precious resource.
It is recommended that you test your shut-off plumbing valves at least once a year to ensure that they are in good working condition. Keep in mind that while turning off the main shut-off valve makes it possible to conduct repairs to a specific area of your home, keeping it turned off will cut off the water supply to your entire home. If you cannot locate your shut-off plumbing valves, contact a professional plumber. They can help you locate the valves and ensure that they are in good working condition.
Main Shut-Off Valve
The main shut-off valve controls the water supply to your entire home. It is typically located where the water supply enters your home. The main shut-off valve is usually a lever or a knob and can be turned off by rotating it in a clockwise direction.
Individual Shut-Off Valves
Individual shut-off valves control the water supply to specific areas of your home. They are typically located near the area they control. For example, the shut-off valve for a sink is usually located under the sink. The shut-off valve for a toilet is usually located behind the toilet.
Don’t Use Your Toilet as a Trash Can
When you flush non-biodegradable items down the toilet, they do not break down like toilet paper. As a result, they can cause blockages in pipes and clog the sewage system. Additionally, these items can damage sewage treatment facilities, leading to costly repairs and maintenance. When sewage systems become clogged or overflow, they can cause raw sewage to back up into homes, streets, and even bodies of water, posing serious health risks to people and animals. Furthermore, flushing items that should not be flushed can harm the environment by polluting water sources, killing marine life, and damaging ecosystems.
What Not To Flush Down the Toilet (And Proper Ways of Disposal)
Here is a list of items that you should never flush down the toilet:
- Tissues and facial wipes: These items should be thrown in the trash can.
- Feminine hygiene products: Use a sanitary disposal bag and throw them in the trash can.
- Cotton balls or swabs: Throw them in the trash can.
- Dental floss: Throw it in the trash can.
- Condoms: Wrap them in tissue paper and throw them in the trash can.
- Diapers or baby nappies: These items should be thrown in the trash can or use biodegradable diapers that can be composted.
- Prescription drugs: Bring them to a drug take-back program or follow the instructions on the label to dispose of them safely.
- Cooking grease or oil: Allow the grease or oil to cool, then pour it into a container and throw it in the trash can.
- Paints or solvents: Bring them to a household hazardous waste collection site for safe disposal.
Avoid Pouring Grease Down Your Drains
When you pour grease down your drains, it may appear to be a liquid that can easily flow through your pipes. However, once it cools and solidifies, it can cause serious clogs that can be difficult and expensive to remove. The grease can accumulate on the inside of your pipes, trapping food particles, hair, and other debris that can further contribute to the clog. If the clog is not addressed promptly, it can lead to slow draining, backups, and even burst pipes.
In addition to clogging your plumbing system, pouring grease down your drains can also harm the environment. When the grease reaches the sewer system or septic tank, it can create “fatbergs” that can cause blockages and overflows. The fatbergs can also release harmful gases and bacteria that can contaminate water sources and pose a threat to public health.
How to Properly Dispose of Grease
To prevent clogs and protect your plumbing system, it’s important to properly dispose of grease. Here are some tips to follow:
- Let the grease cool and solidify in the pan or pot.
- Use a spatula or scraper to remove the solidified grease and place it in a container with a lid.
- Store the container in the refrigerator or freezer until it’s full or ready to be disposed of.
- Dispose of the container in the trash, not down the drain.
- Alternative Methods for Disposing of Grease
If you generate a large amount of grease, there are alternative methods for disposing of it that are more environmentally friendly. One option is to recycle the grease by donating it to a local biodiesel facility or rendering company. These facilities can convert the grease into a renewable energy source or other useful products. Another option is to use absorbent materials, such as coffee grounds or cat litter, to solidify the grease and then dispose of it in the trash.
Preventing Clogs in Your Plumbing System
In addition to avoiding pouring grease down your drains, there are other steps you can take to prevent clogs in your plumbing system. Here are some tips to follow:
- Use a drain strainer to catch food particles, hair, and other debris before it enters the drain.
- Avoid putting fibrous or starchy foods down the disposal, as they can tangle and cause clogs.
- Flush your drains with hot water and vinegar or baking soda once a month to help break down buildup.
- Schedule regular maintenance with a licensed plumber to inspect and clean your pipes and fixtures.
Install Drain Strainers
Using drain strainers in sinks, showers, and tubs can help prevent hair, soap, and other debris from entering your plumbing system and causing clogs. Clean the strainers regularly to ensure they continue to function properly.
There are several benefits to installing drain strainers. First and foremost, they prevent clogs from forming in your drains. This not only saves you from the hassle of having to deal with a clogged drain but also helps you avoid costly repairs down the line. Drain strainers are also an excellent way to protect your pipes from damage. When hair, food, and other debris get stuck in your pipes, they can cause corrosion and eventually lead to leaks. By catching these materials before they enter your pipes, drain strainers can help extend the life of your plumbing system.
Be Mindful of What You Put in Your Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals are a common household appliance found in most modern kitchens. They are designed to grind up food waste so that it can be easily disposed of down the drain. While garbage disposals are convenient, they are not invincible. Putting the wrong items down your garbage disposal can cause serious damage to the appliance and your plumbing. In this article, we will discuss what you should and should not put in your garbage disposal to avoid costly repairs.
What Can You Put In Your Garbage Disposal?
When it comes to using your garbage disposal, there are some items that are safe to put down the drain. These items include:
- Soft food waste: This includes items like fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, and bread. These items are safe to put down the drain as they will break down easily.
- Small bones: Small chicken or fish bones can be put in the garbage disposal as they will break down during the grinding process.
- Ice cubes: Running ice cubes through the garbage disposal can help sharpen the blades and remove any buildup.
What Should You Avoid Putting In Your Garbage Disposal?
While there are some items that are safe to put down your garbage disposal, there are many more that should be avoided. Putting the wrong items down your garbage disposal can lead to clogs, damage to the appliance, and even plumbing issues. Here are some items that you should avoid putting in your garbage disposal:
- Fats, oils, and grease: These items can solidify in your pipes and cause clogs.
- Stringy or fibrous foods: Items like celery, asparagus, and corn husks can get tangled in the blades and cause the motor to burn out.
- Bones: Large bones or hard bones can damage the blades or jam the motor.
- Coffee grounds: These can clump together and cause clogs in your pipes.
- Starchy foods: Items like pasta, rice, and potatoes can expand in your pipes and cause clogs.
Check Your Water Heater Regularly
Your water heater is an essential appliance in your home. It provides you with warm water for your showers, washing dishes, and doing laundry. Without proper maintenance, your water heater can cause costly damages or even a complete failure, leading to cold showers and frustration.
Checking your water heater regularly is crucial for its longevity and safety. Regular checks will help you detect problems early on, saving you money on costly repairs or replacements. It will also ensure that your water heater operates efficiently, saving you money on energy bills.
The US Department of Energy recommends that you check your water heater at least once a year. Checking your water heater annually will allow you to identify any problems, including leaks, sediment buildup, or corrosion. Make sure to check the temperature setting and the pressure relief valve at least once a year.
How to maintain your water heater to extend its life?
Regular maintenance is key to extending the life of your water heater. Here are some tips on how to maintain your water heater:
- Check the pressure relief valve – The pressure relief valve is a critical safety feature that releases excess pressure from the tank. To ensure it’s working correctly, lift the valve’s lever to release a burst of hot water. If it doesn’t release water or you notice a leak, it’s time to replace the valve.
- Flush the tank – Over time, sediment can build up in the tank, reducing its efficiency and increasing the risk of leaks. Flushing the tank annually will help remove any sediment buildup and extend the water heater’s life.
- Insulate the tank – Insulating your water heater’s tank will reduce heat loss, saving you money on energy bills. You can purchase an insulation blanket from your local hardware store.
- Check the anode rod – The anode rod helps prevent rust and corrosion inside the tank. Over time, the rod will corrode, and if left unchecked, it can cause damage to the tank. Check the anode rod annually and replace it if necessary.
- Inspect the fittings – Check the fittings for any visible leaks and tighten them if necessary. A leaky fitting can cause water damage and increase the risk of a complete failure.
Insulate Your Pipes
When it comes to home maintenance, most homeowners don’t think about their plumbing until something goes wrong. One of the most common plumbing issues that homeowners face during winter is frozen pipes. In colder weather, exposed pipes can freeze and burst. Insulating your pipes can help prevent this from happening. This is particularly important in unheated areas of your home, such as the garage or crawl space.
Why is Insulating Your Pipes Important?
Insulating your pipes is important for several reasons, including:
- Preventing Frozen Pipes: When the temperature drops, the water inside your pipes can freeze, causing the pipes to expand and potentially burst. Insulating your pipes can help prevent them from freezing.
- Energy Efficiency: Insulating your hot water pipes can help reduce heat loss, which means your water heater doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the water hot. This can lead to lower energy bills.
- Preventing Condensation: Insulating cold water pipes can prevent condensation from forming on the pipes, which can lead to moisture buildup and mold growth.
How to Insulate Your Pipes?
Insulating your pipes is a relatively easy process that you can do yourself. Here’s how:
- Gather Your Materials: You’ll need foam pipe insulation, pipe sleeves, duct tape, and a utility knife.
- Measure Your Pipes: Measure the length of the pipes you want to insulate and purchase the appropriate amount of foam pipe insulation.
- Cut the Insulation: Use a utility knife to cut the foam pipe insulation to the correct length.
- Install the Insulation: Slide the foam pipe insulation over the pipes and secure it with duct tape. For longer pipes, you can use pipe sleeves to cover more surface area.
- Repeat: Repeat the process for all the pipes you want to insulate.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
Regular plumbing maintenance involves having a professional plumber inspect your plumbing system periodically to identify and fix any issues before they become major problems. This inspection can include checking for leaks, clogs, and other potential problems that may arise. Regular plumbing maintenance can be done once or twice a year, depending on the age and condition of your plumbing system.
Scheduling regular plumbing maintenance is easy. The first step is to find a licensed and experienced plumber in your area. You can search online or ask for recommendations from family, friends, or neighbors. Once you have found a reliable plumber, schedule an appointment for them to inspect your plumbing system.
During the inspection, the plumber will examine your plumbing system for any potential issues and make any necessary repairs or replacements. After the inspection, the plumber will provide you with a detailed report of the state of your plumbing system, along with any recommendations for further repairs or maintenance.
Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
If you notice warning signs like slow drains, dripping faucets, or foul odors, it’s important to address them promptly. Ignoring warning signs in your plumbing system can lead to bigger problems and more expensive repairs down the road. If you notice any of these warning signs in your plumbing system, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Contact a licensed plumber to diagnose the problem and make any necessary repairs. By taking action early, you can prevent more serious problems from developing and save yourself time and money in the long run.
Hire a Professional
While there are some plumbing tasks that can be handled by the homeowner, like replacing a faucet or unclogging a drain, more complex issues should be left to a professional. Hiring a licensed plumber can help ensure the problem is properly diagnosed and fixed, preventing further damage to your home. It is the best choice to choose a residential plumber Mesa licensed and certified to ensure they get the job done without any further reoccuring issues.
In conclusion, as a homeowner in Mesa, it’s essential to be proactive about plumbing maintenance and prevent issues before they occur. Knowing where your shut-off valves are located, avoiding flushing non-degradable items down your toilet, and being mindful of what you put down your drains are just a few ways to keep your plumbing system functioning properly. Additionally, scheduling regular maintenance and not ignoring warning signs can help prevent larger, more costly issues down the road. By following these essential plumbing tips, you can help ensure your plumbing system is in good condition and avoid costly repairs.