Helpful Plumbing Tips
Kitchen Drains - Don’t pour liquid grease or oil down the drain and use biodegradable soaps and detergents when possible. Maintaining your drains on a weekly basis is also a good idea to keep your pipes clear. One way to do this is to pour a half-cup of salt, a half-cup of baking soda and a half-cup of vinegar down the drain and follow with two quarts of boiling water. Avoid using caustic drain cleaners and try using a plunger first when drains are clogged.
Disposal - It is best to use cold water — NOT hot water — when you run your disposal. Let the cold water run as long as the motor is running, and be sure to avoid overloading the disposal. Garbage Disposal Smells? Put ice cubes in the disposal (about 1/2 way), run the disposal, flush out with cold water. Next put 1/2 a lemon and grind it up.
Water Shutoff Valves - Find out where your main, and interior water shutoff valves are and how to turn them off. Being able to shut your water off at the main valve can be vital to reducing damage to your home if a pipe were to burst. Open and close your valves once a year to ensure that they are working.
Shower Heads - If your shower head has erratic or weak pressure usually indicates mineral buildup. To restore proper flow, clean outlet holes with a pin or unscrew a perforated face plate and soak it overnight in vinegar, then scrub it clean.
Toilets - 1) If you believe your toilet is about to overflow, quickly remove the tank lid, reach down and push the flush valve closed. It covers the tennis ball-sized opening in the bottom of the tank. That keeps the bowl from overflowing while you clear the obstruction. 2) If your toilet ball float is leaking and filling with water here is a useful trick I learnt to tide you over until you can get a new one. Take off the float (by unscrewing it), empty it, then screw it back on and wrap it in a plastic bag.
Exterior Water Pipes - If a freeze warning is issued, here are a few tips to help prevent your water lines from freezing:
Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors.
Close any inside valves that supply water to outdoor hose bibs.
Open the outside hose bibs and allow the water to drain.
Water pipes which are exposed to freezing temperatures or drafts should be covered with insulation.
Flush the drain-waste and vent systems whenever you go up onto your house roof to clean out downspouts or gutters. Run water from a garden hose into all vents, giving them a minute or two of full flow.
Check your meter periodically. If no water is running in the house, all dials on the meter should be stable. A movement in one of the dials may indicate a water leak, probably in a toilet. This could cost you dearly over time.