Taking care of your home’s plumbing is essential to keeping the clean water flowing in and flushing your home’s waste out. Most people don’t think about their plumbing until a problem arises. By then, however, they are left with a huge mess and, ultimately, a large bill.

This can be avoided. Plumbing maintenance is something you should do regularly to catch small problems that can turn into large, expense problems later. Maintenance also helps you conserve water and save on energy bills.

The plumbing maintenance list:

  • Thoroughly check throughout your home for leaks.
  • Test all shut-off valves.
  • Check pipes for corrosion.
  • Watch and listen to drains as they empty.
  • Clean out p-traps.
  • Garbage disposal maintenance.
  • Refrigerator water supply maintenance.
  • Clean faucet aerators.
  • Check for and replace faulty caulking.
  • Check toilet mounting bolts.
  • Check toilet parts for damage or deterioration.
  • Examine washing machine hoses.
  • Check water pressure for both too-low or too-high.
  • Water heater maintenance.
  • Refresh household members on location of main water shut-off, sewage clean-outs.

Second Installment: Toilet Maintenance – a 6-Step Checklist

Aside from regular cleaning, take a rag around the base of the toilet every so often or just when you think of it to test for water. Often, small amounts of water will begin to seep out from the base. This is an early sign that the sealing ring is worn or no longer viable and bigger leaks are on their way. Also, open the back of the toilet to see if everything looks to be in good shape. Plumbers can often diagnose a problem in seconds just by opening the back. If the water level seems off, or the flotation device isn’t floating, or something just doesn’t seem right, call a plumber.

Step 1:

  • Check to see if your toilet is caulked around the bottom. If the caulking around the toilet is deteriorated then it could cause the toilet to be loose. This will cause your toilet to rock back and forth.

Step 2:

  • Check your shut off valves and make sure that they move freely and don’t stick in place. If these angle stops aren’t fiddled with and rotated a couple times a year then the valves can dry up and become difficult to turn off. Of course you can see how this may be a problem if  an emergency occurs and you desperately need t cut off your water. Make sure to give your shut-off valves some love every once in a while

Step 3:

  • Check your handle and make sure it flushes properly. Ensure that the chain fits the handle well and allows for a clean and clear flush.

Step 4:

  • Check the inside of the tank and examine the guts of your toilet. While flushing, look to see the the water drains and refills. Check your flapper to make sure that it is in good shape as these must be replaced quite frequently.

Step 5:

  • Check on the shape of your tank-to-bowl bolts as well as your tank-to-bowl gasket. These rust and deteriorate pretty quickly which can leaking to a leak in the tank.

Step 6:

  • Check the bolts that hold your toilet and the toilet flange. If your toilet is rocking back and forth then this may be because the bolts are rusted out or because the flange or wax ring under your toilet has rotted away.

In summary:  Fix leaking toilets. Sometimes a faulty seal around the valve seat can cause your toilet to run even when it is not flushed. Over time, gunk will form around the valve seat and flapper. This gunk will prevent the flapper to seal properly, which will cause the water to continue to run. Another problem could be with the handle or tank stopper. The repair that is needed is often quick and inexpensive maintenance.

More Plumbing Maintenance Tips Coming Soon:

Check our next episode for Water Heater Maintenance, and a final on Miscellaneous Plumbing Maintenance.