The efficiency of your plumbing system may not seem like something you can do much about. After all, you’re not a plumber. And when there is a problem, you call in a professional to deal with it. But that does not mean that there aren’t simple steps you can take to help keep your plumbing system functioning properly and minimize the need for repairs.
While you may never have realized it, your plumbing actually uses up a lot of energy around your house. The hot water you use to wash clothes, dishes and to bathe all needs to be heated, and that costs money. Of course, you need hot water, but you can control just how hot it is.
Most water heaters are set by default to 140°F, which is hotter than you ever need your water to be. A great and simple step to reduce that energy bill every month is to turn your water heater down to 120°F. This is plenty hot enough to take care of all of your hot water needs but it will make a big difference in your total energy consumption.
You can also reduce the likelihood of plumbing problems if you reduce the number of chemicals you use around the house. Most of these chemicals eventually get washed down the drain where they can do some serious damage to your pipes. Switching to biodegradable alternatives will keep your plumbing healthy and minimize the number of costly repairs needed.
Another danger to the integrity of your pipes is excessive water pressure. While you certainly do not want your water pressure to be too low, very high water pressure puts a serious strain on your pipes and can cause them to break down more quickly than they would otherwise. Have your incoming water pressure tested and adjusted so that it does not exceed 60 pounds per square inch.
Kitchen Plumbing Tips
The main problem people tend to have with their kitchen plumbing is a stinky or backed up garbage disposal. If these sound like problems you are dealing with on a regular basis, here are some quick tips to help.
If your garbage disposal gets clogged repeatedly, you may be putting too much down it at once. Try to feed scraps in slowly so that your garbage disposal can clear the previous batch before the next one comes in. You also need to make sure that you are running enough water while the garbage disposal is in action. An adequate water supply is essential to smoothly process waste. If you do not give it enough to work with it will quickly become clogged.
Unpleasant odors coming from your garbage disposal are usually the result of food residue that has collected on and around the blades. You can often get rid of these smells by cutting up a lemon and putting that down the garbage disposal along with some baking soda. These natural odor neutralizing agents will be spread all over the inner chamber of your garbage disposal when you run it and are very effective at stopping the smell.
Bathroom Plumbing Tips
In the bathroom, one of the main sources of trouble is the toilet. If your toilet is running constantly or flushing randomly when no one is around, check the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank to make sure there is a good seal. Chances are that the seal is inadequate and water is constantly leaking from the tank into the bowl. This valve is quite easy to replace and you will be surprised how much water you can save by doing so.
Another frustrating problem that can develop in your bathroom has to do with your shower head. If the water is spraying out in all different directions or does not come out with consistent force, you probably have mineral deposits that have built up around the holes and inside of the shower head. Simply remove the outer covering of the shower head and clean the entire fixture thoroughly. That should take care of the problem.