7 Ways to Save on Plumbing Repairs
From minor drain clogs to burst pipes that flood the basement, plumbing repairs can run the gamut from simple DIY fixes to plumbing emergencies. Little plumbing issues can often escalate into something much bigger, with the potential for more damage and higher repair bills.
The worst part is that plumbing repairs are often unexpected, which makes them difficult to budget for. You can save money on plumbing repairs by keeping your plumbing system in good condition.
You can't avoid all plumbing repairs, but many issues start with your habits. By taking some preventative steps, you can avoid high plumber costs in your home. The following tips can help you keep your repair costs lower.
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Your plumbing system has a lot of intricately connected parts, and some of those components need a little maintenance from time to time. Scheduling professional water heater maintenance can help keep hot water flowing to your faucets. A plumber will flush sediment from the tank and check the anode rod to make sure it isn't damaged. Routine maintenance on your water heater and other water appliances can keep them working longer and prevent additional damage, which typically costs more to repair.
Your toilet is the workhorse of the bathroom, but it can also become a major pain if you don't take care of it. Make sure you only flush human waste and toilet paper down your toilet. Avoid flushing anything else, including:
- Paper towels
- Facial tissues
- Feminine hygiene products
- Cotton balls
- Kitty litter
Even things that say they're flushable, such as wipes, can clog up your plumbing system. They may seem to go down fine at first, but they can cause buildup over time.
Your drains and garbage disposal can cost a lot to repair if you misuse them. Avoid putting the following items down your garbage disposal:
- Coffee grounds
- Fruit pits
- Potato skins
- Pasta, rice and bread
Anything that's hard, stringy or expands can cause damage to your garbage disposal. Avoid letting grease, hair, chunks of food and anything else other than water go down your drains. This can cause major clogs.
If you live in a cold climate, protecting your pipes in the winter is a major way to prevent expensive plumbing repairs. If your pipes get too cold, the water will freeze and expand the pipe, which may cause it to burst. When it thaws, you'll have a flood of water in your home, along with the expense of replacing the pipe. Your pipes can freeze if your heat goes out or you shut the heat off while you're on vacation. Pipes that run through exterior walls and unheated parts of your home can also freeze, even if your heat is running.
Some ways to prevent frozen pipes include:
- Insulating pipes, especially those in unheated areas
- Leaving your heat on when you go on vacation in the winter
- Opening the cabinets underneath your sink to let heat in
- Turning on the faucet to a slight trickle to keep water flowing
- Removing garden hoses from exterior faucets in the winter
- Sealing air leaks and adding insulation to colder parts of your home
If your pipes freeze, call a plumber service to thaw and repair them.
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When you're in a hurry, you might grab a faucet handle harshly or flush the toilet with a little too much force. Both of those things can loosen parts and cause wear on your plumbing fixtures. You might find that your faucet handles don't work as well, or your toilet is more difficult to flush. To avoid replacing those parts, handle your plumbing fixtures with care. Turn them off and on gently to avoid damage.
Minor plumbing issues might be easy enough to fix yourself. Minor clogs in your drains can often be cleared with a plunger or plumbing snake, for example. If you have a leak in the P trap under the sink, you might be able to replace the part and seal the connections to get it to stop. Replacing plumbing fixtures, such as faucets and showerheads, is another minor plumbing issue that many homeowners can handle. If you have the tools and feel confident in the repair, consider doing it yourself to save on costs.
Sometimes you need professional plumbing repair services. If the project seems too big for you, let a professional handle the work. Calling a plumber can help you avoid costly mistakes and save you money in the long run. Home plumbers already have the equipment they need, and they can typically repair plumbing much faster than the average homeowner.
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