Plumbing 101: How to Take Care of Your House Pipes

Written by  //  February 27, 2015  //  Plumbing  //  Comments Off on Plumbing 101: How to Take Care of Your House Pipes

The mysteries of plumbing are the traditional domain of the qualified plumber, but the ‘times are a-changing,’ as the old song declares. Understanding how your plumbing works can be a tricky thing. Most people don’t know when their plumbing is having issues because they don’t know what to look for or how to properly take care of it. Harness your inner weekend warrior, and take care of your pipes, the hidden conduits that send water and waste zipping around your home. Here’s some simple solutions for ensuring your pipes stay healthy and clear.

Learn About Pipe Materials

The evolution of pipe design has transformed the plumbing industry. Older homes, before the 1960s, used galvanized pipes. This antiquated system was subject to corrosion and blockage. Today we use copper and PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) as superior replacement options. An informed pipe maintenance program will benefit from knowledge on the pros and cons of these competing standards.

Know the Basics

An emergency situation shouldn’t be a cause for alarm if you’re armed with relevant knowledge about basic pipe maintenance. For instance, a pipe is blocked and swelling due to cold weather or foreign material. The first step in this scenario is to know where the turn-off valve for the main water supply is located. A burst pipe and soaked belongings can be quickly avoided with this simple instruction.

You should also have basic knowledge of what not to do with your plumbing. For example, you should never dump grease down your kitchen sink or any other drain in your household. Over time the grease will build up in the pipes causing it to clog up. Furthermore it can cause water to build up causing your pipes to break and need to be replaced. Educate yourself in order to keep your pipes safe and ultimately to save yourself money in the long run.

Treat Pipes as Living Things

It might seem like a strange instruction, but your home plumbing is much like the arteries of your body. A flow of waste and water moves uninterrupted through the system, but if that flow is obstructed, catastrophic failure will ensue. Clad the pipes with insulation to stop them getting cold in the winter. According to Amyotte’s Plumbing and Heating Ltd., you can avoid blockages by removing hair from the drain and do not throw chunks of food down a waste disposal. Instead, employ a drain filter to capture waste before it disappears into the pipe.

Avoid Caustic Unblocking Solutions

It’s tempting to head to the hardware store and blast a clog with a chemical cleaner. Avoid this action. Caustic cleaners oxidize and generate heat to purge a block. This is bad for the pipe, worse for the environment, and possibly dangerous for your health. Use a baking soda and white vinegar mixture to melt away the block, or try researching micro-organisms sold in stores for the express purpose of ‘eating’ the block.

Sidestep that plumbing bill, the one that makes your eyes pop in surprise, by carrying out your own pipe maintenance, but call out the experts if you’re stymied. You can and will extend the life of your plumbing, but know when the professionals are required.

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