Your plumbing system works only as well as the pipes that route away the wastewater. Fortunately, you can avoid most pipe problems if you follow these five rules.
1. Check the Pressure
The water pressure from your municipal water source and the pressure your plumbing can handle can be very different things. Further, municipal water pressure can fluctuate depending on water flow and area usage patterns. Pressure regulators on your water line smooth out these fluctuations, but if the regulator fails, then excess pressure can lead to leaking pipes. Have your pressure checked periodically so you can replace regulators as soon as they show problems.
2. Repair Leaks Promptly
A small leak, such as from the base of a faucet, may not seem like a big deal, but the damages can build up. Water from these leaks can get into walls and under sinks, causing extensive water damage and mold. Sometimes, small visible leaks are symptomatic of larger hidden leaks, which you may not discover until you address the smaller leak. Never ignore a leak, no matter how small.
3. Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners are not the best way to handle most clogs. Most of these cleaners are caustic, which means they may also eat away at the pipes as well as destroy the clog. Furthermore, if the cleaner doesn't work, then you will still need to call in a plumber. The plumber will be exposed to the dangerous and caustic chemicals when they attempt to clear your drain and fix the problem. For small clogs, a small auger or boiling water is often all you need, while larger clogs require a call to a plumber.
4. Don't Cause Clogs
Most clogs can be avoided with proper drain usage. As a guiding principle, don't put anything down a sink drain that isn't water, soap, or otherwise permanently liquid. In toilets, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed. Kitchen drains that are equipped with garbage disposals allow for the disposal of some food, but avoid bones, pasta, rice, coffee grounds, and fats.
5. Schedule Annual Cleaning
The main drain of your home can suffer from major clogs, even if you are careful. Sometimes toilet paper and waste becomes compacted in the drain, which first causes slow drains and then eventually results in a major backup. Tree roots are also notorious for invading the main drain and causing a clog. An annual main drain cleaning ensures everything flows smoothly so you don't have to worry about major backups.
Contact a plumber for more help with your home's plumbing system.