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Maintenance Tips

Gary at a Dowsing seminar in Vermont

An ounce of prevention will go a long way toward keeping your home's plumbing in top working order - and you'll avoid costly repairs!

Faucets and Sinks

  • Even small drips can waste thousands of gallons of water, as much as 150 gallons a day! Be sure to check under sinks for moisture or small leaks. And always repair leaky faucets right away to avoid paying for wasted water, and also to avoid water possible water damage.
  • Have your faucet aerators cleaned or replaced annually or as needed to ensure an even flow of water.
  • Make sure overflow holes on tubs and vanity are clear and open to prevent water damage to floors and ceilings.

Water Heater

  • Before doing any maintenance on your water heater yourself, be sure to shut off the power, and read your owner's manual.
  • Over time sediment builds at the bottom of the heater, which can hamper performance, and draining a few gallons to flush the sediment on a regular basis helps remove the sediment. Be aware that the drain valves can be damaged or plugged with sediment in attempting to do this and unless you have the ability to repair or change out this valve we recommend having a professional do the job.
  • You should have a periodic inspection of your gas water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips. If it's mostly yellow, or if it's sooty under there, your flue may be clogged, which is a dangerous situation. Contact a professional to check it out.
  • At least once every two years, have your water heater inspected by a service technician. He or she will also check the drain valve for signs of leakage, test or change the Safety T&P valve, test elements, check thermostat performance and settings, check the sizing, age and temperature of the heater, and make recommendations if needed. Your hot water needs can change with time with additions to the house, growing family, shrinking family, different water usages, and thermal expansion. Recommendations or adjustments can be made by your plumbing professional.

  • Toilet leaks can be wasteful and expensive. At least once a year have your toilets checked for proper adjustment and leaking. You can check your toilet for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is colored red, water is seeping through from the tank. Also, other parts may need to be checked, serviced or replaced with time. Older commodes can often be rebuilt to function for many years to come. Maybe you are ready for a newer style or color. Commodes that are loose or rocking should be pulled and the seal and flange underneath checked and then reset properly to the floor.

  • To help prevent clogs, fit all your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly.
  • Do not rinse fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs.
  • Avoid using caustic liquid drain openers (I won't mention their names but they are commonly found on the grocery store shelf) on a drain that is completely clogged. The caustic ingredients are trapped in your pipes, and it can severely damage them. If you can't snake the drain yourself, contact a professional to do so. Enzyme products may help with regular usage. Ask us about them.

Garbage Disposal

You can extend the life of your garbage disposal by:

  • Using plenty of water when running it.
  • Making sure you avoid overloading it.
  • Never disposing of things like bones or corn husks.
  • Never using a caustic drain opener.