The Ultimate Plumbing Home Maintenance Checklist | Ensure a Smooth-Running Household

Feb 3, 2024 | Do It Yourself, Plumbing

As a responsible homeowner, regular plumbing maintenance should be at the top of your priority list. A well-maintained plumbing system not only keeps your home running efficiently but also saves you from costly repairs down the line. With this ultimate plumbing home maintenance checklist, you can rest assured knowing that your home’s water management is in top shape.

Handywoman Holding a Plumbers Wrench

The Importance of Regular Plumbing Maintenance

Your plumbing system is the lifeline of your home, providing you with clean water for a variety of tasks and carrying away waste to keep your environment sanitary. Regular maintenance helps to keep things running smoothly, prevents emergencies, and ensures that your home’s infrastructure remains in the best condition possible.

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Benefits of a Well-Maintained Plumbing System

A meticulously maintained plumbing system stands as a sentinel guarding against costly water damage that can result from leaks or burst pipes, saving homeowners from the nightmare of unexpected repairs and renovations. By consistently inspecting and servicing plumbing fixtures and appliances, their functionality and service life can be considerably prolonged, which translates to fewer replacements and long-term cost savings.

Moreover, a streamlined and leak-free plumbing system ensures that every drop of water is optimally utilized, reflecting as reduced figures on water bills. In the bigger picture, this prudent attention to the home’s waterworks significantly contributes to preserving the overall property value, offering both peace of mind and financial benefits to homeowners.

a person holding their hands under a stream of water

1. Check Water Pressure

Water pressure that is too high or too low can lead to a variety of issues, including damage to appliances, wasted water, and an inability to perform basic tasks like showering or washing dishes.

Test Water Pressure

You can test water pressure using a pressure gauge attached to an outdoor faucet. Normal pressure typically falls between 40-60 pounds per square inch (psi).

How to Adjust Water Pressure

If the pressure is too high, you can adjust it at the pressure regulator, usually located near the main water line. For low pressure, check for obstructions in the line and ensure valves are fully open.

Photo of Gray Faucet

2. Inspect for Leaks

Even a small leak can waste a significant amount of water and may indicate larger problems in your plumbing system.

Check Faucets, Toilets, and Pipes for Leaks

Regularly inspect under sinks, around toilets, and anywhere with visible piping. Look for water spots, mold, or unusual odors.

How to Fix Minor Leaks

Minor leaks can often be fixed with simple DIY solutions like tightening a connection, replacing a washer, or sealing a pipe joint with plumber’s tape or epoxy.

3. Clear Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are a common and frustrating issue. Regular drain maintenance can help prevent full-blown blockages.

Tips for Preventing Clogs

Use drain strainers to catch hair and debris, avoid dumping grease down the sink, and periodically flush drains with hot water.

DIY Methods for Unclogging Drains

For minor clogs, use a plunger or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar followed by boiling water. For tougher clogs, a drain snake may be necessary.

white toilet bowl with cistern

4. Check Toilet Functionality

Toilets should flush efficiently and without issues to maintain proper sanitation in your home.

Ensure Proper Flushing

Test your toilet’s flushing mechanism by performing a flush with toilet tissue. It should clear the bowl with ease.

Address Common Toilet Issues

Issues like a running toilet, double flushing, or leaking at the base may require adjustments to the flapper valve or chain, or may signal a worn-out seal that needs replacing.

5. Inspect Water Heater

Water heaters play a vital role in your home. Regular checks can ensure they are operating safely and efficiently.

Flush the Water Heater

Sediment can build up in the tank, reducing efficiency and potentially causing overheating. Flush the tank to clear this sediment periodically.

Check for Signs of Malfunction

Look out for rust-colored water, strange noises, or water around the base of the heater, which can signal a potential issue.

tap, black, faucet

6. Maintain Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are kitchen workhorses but require regular care to prevent odors and clogs. In addition to using ice cubes and citrus peels for cleaning, grind up a few eggshells or some coffee grounds occasionally to help scour the grinding chamber. It’s crucial to avoid overloading the disposal to prevent motor strain. Break up large items into smaller pieces and feed them gradually into the unit while running water.

Prevent Buildup and Blockage

To maintain a sharp grind and avoid buildup, periodically grind a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. This combination helps to break down fatty deposits and keep your disposal’s interior clean.

Avoid Common Garbage Disposal Items

Never dispose of non-biodegradable items, expandable foods like pasta and rice, or fibrous materials like corn husks and onion skins, as they can create blockages and damage the disposal blades.

selective focus photography of icicle

7. Prevent Frozen Pipes

Insulation is key in preventing frozen pipes. For added protection, make use of heat tape or heat cables around pipes that are particularly vulnerable. In extreme cold, let a trickle of warm water run overnight and open cabinet doors under sinks to allow heat to reach uninsulated pipes.

Staying Vigilant

Monitor the weather and be proactive by keeping your home at a consistent temperature day and night. If a pipe does freeze, never attempt to thaw it with an open flame to avoid the risk of damaging the pipe or starting a fire.

8. Test Sump Pump

Regularly testing and maintaining your sump pump is essential to avoid unexpected failures during storms or periods of heavy rainfall when the risk of flooding is greatest.

Backup Systems

Consider installing a backup battery or a water-powered sump pump as a fail-safe in case of power outages. Periodically inspect the check valve to ensure that water is not flowing back into the pit.

Professional Inspection

While DIY checks are helpful, having your sump pump inspected by a professional can detect issues that may not be obvious to the untrained eye and provide peace of mind that your pump will function reliably when it matters most.

9. Schedule a Professional Inspection

For some plumbing issues, a DIY fix might not be sufficient or advisable. Multiple leaks, persistent clogs, or visible signs of damage often indicate a larger underlying problem that requires professional attention.

For instance, if you observe water stains on the walls or ceilings, hear unusual noises in the pipework, or experience low water pressure despite replacing fixtures, these are clear signals that you should call a professional plumber. Tackling these problems early with the help of an expert can prevent them from escalating into more serious and expensive repairs.

Benefits of Having a Professional Inspect Your Plumbing Systems

Regular inspections by a certified plumber can greatly benefit the health of your home’s plumbing system. Professionals can detect issues that may not be apparent to the untrained eye, such as early-stage corrosion or hidden leaks. They can also provide expert advice on how to extend the life of your plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Generally, insurers look favorably on homes that are routinely inspected, as it decreases the likelihood of serious plumbing failures. An annual or bi-annual plumbing inspection can be a valuable part of maintaining your home, ensuring systems are in peak condition, and keeping you compliant with the terms of your home insurance policy. Acting proactively can save you considerable time, money, and inconvenience in the long run.

extinguisher, fire-extinguisher, fire-suppressor

Additional Items to Add to Your Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist

Your plumbing system isn’t the only part of your home maintenance schedule. Include these additional items in your seasonal home maintenance checklist:

  • Air Conditioning Unit: Regularly change air filters and consider professional servicing to keep your HVAC systems running efficiently.
  • Garage Door: Check for proper operation and lubricate moving parts to prevent wear.
  • Damaged Shingles: Inspect the roof for any damaged or missing shingles and have them repaired to prevent water damage.
  • Window Screens: Keep window screens clean and in good repair to enjoy fresh air and energy efficiency without letting in pests.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Test the detectors regularly to ensure they are operational and protect against this silent danger.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Check the gauge and make sure they are in an accessible location in case of emergency.
  • Clean Filters: Check and replace filters in your HVAC system as needed to improve air quality and maintain efficiency.
  • Cleaning Gutters: Clogged gutters can lead to water damage, so be sure to clean them regularly, especially in the fall.

person holding yellow plastic spray bottle

Spring Cleaning vs. Monthly Home Maintenance Checklist

While spring cleaning is often a time for deep cleaning and decluttering, it’s important not to neglect ongoing monthly home maintenance tasks that keep your home functioning well year-round. Incorporating both into your routine offers the best of both worlds: the satisfying deep clean of your living space that spring cleaning brings, and the assurance that comes with monthly upkeep.

Through meticulous planning and a comprehensive home maintenance checklist, you can efficiently combine monthly maintenance tasks with your annual spring overhaul to create a clean, safe, and well-maintained home environment.

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Home Maintenance Checklist Conclusion

By following this comprehensive plumbing maintenance checklist, you can keep your home’s plumbing system running smoothly. Remember, regular attention to your plumbing system can save you time, money, and the stress of dealing with unexpected plumbing issues. Start with a routine and calendar your tasks to ensure you tackle these maintenance checks on time, every time.

Proactive maintenance is the key to a comfortable and stress-free living environment. So, don’t delay – incorporate this home maintenance checklist into your life, and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your plumbing system is well-cared for. With a smoothly running household, you’re free to focus on the more enjoyable aspects of homeownership.

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