The first day of January finds many of us deciding that the incoming new year will be the time to cast off bad habits, get some things done that we’ve been putting off, and maybe even lose a few pounds while we’re at it. Even though we are already a few days into the new year, it isn’t too late to make a resolution to take better care of your plumbing in 2022.
Your plumbing system does a lot, all year round, from delivering fresh, clean drinking water; to removing waste from toilets and drains and dropping it off at the sewer or septic tank. We owe our plumbing a debt of gratitude every time we remove a drain stopper, flush a toilet, or turn on a faucet.
You need to be a better friend to your plumbing this year.
PLUMBING RESOLUTION #1: Keep Drains Clear
We’ll start with an easy one.
Keeping stuff out of your drains that doesn’t belong there is one resolution every homeowner and their family can work on together. Make sure that you aren’t pouring cooking grease down your sink drain in kitchens. Sure, it’s a liquid when you pour it in, but as cooking grease cools, it re-solidifies in your pipes, attracting soap and food residue eventually ending in a clogged drain. Be sure that your family is scraping their plates into a garbage can and not into the garbage disposal after meals.
What else can cause my drains to clog?
It isn’t just grease that causes kitchen drain clogs, so try to avoid putting pasta or rice down the drain, as their inherent “stickiness” will help attach themselves to pipes or disposal blades. It would be best to avoid stringy vegetable peels that can become tangled in the disposal mechanism, preventing it from running.
Bathroom drains are equally susceptible to clog issues, as shampoo and soap residues get caught in shower or sink drains. Like cooking grease, many hair care products and body washes contain oils that can gum up a drain by attracting and holding onto clumps of hair, dirt, skin cells, and even mildew.
Don’t flush the obvious “no-no’s” down the toilet, like paper towels, sanitary products, baby wipes, cotton balls, Q-Tips, dental floss, or stuffed animals. You’d be amazed at how many children’s toys we pull out of customers’ drains over the course of a year.
PLUMBING RESOLUTION #2: Perform Regular Water Heater Maintenance
Aside from the toilet, the water heater is probably the most used plumbing-related appliance in your home. Usually tucked away, out of sight in a garage, a utility closet, or in your attic, these unsung heroes keep our water hot twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Because they’re placed in areas that aren’t necessarily “in-sight” daily, we tend to forget about our water heaters – until they cause a problem. Your water heater can give you between 12 and 15 years of loyal service with proper maintenance. Water heaters that suffer from a complete lack of maintenance and upkeep can begin to fail as early as five years after installation.
Why is water heater maintenance so essential?
Having your water heater on a regular maintenance schedule will help it operate at maximum efficiency and peak performance year-round. Ignition switches, gas burner assemblies, electric heating elements, and other parts must be inspected yearly to ensure safe operation and maximum energy savings. Because we use our water heater multiple times a day, we are less likely to notice that the hot water isn’t “quite as hot” as expected or that our shower time has gotten shorter.
Houston is notorious for its mineral-rich groundwater that causes most homeowners to experience the misery of hard water stains and deposits on glasses fancy wine glasses and stains on our clothing. Those same mineral deposits also collect at the bottom of your water heater tank, reducing the amount of water that can be effectively heated. By flushing all that residual mineral sediment out of your tank at least once every year, your water heater won’t have to work as hard to keep up with demand, extending its useful life.
PLUMBING RESOLUTION #3: Fix That Running Toilet
We all know the sound.
The hissing that goes on for far too long after completing a toilet flush or a tank that starts hissing out of nowhere to refill itself is never a welcome sound. A hissing toilet means that water is actively flowing somewhere within the tank or bowl. There are several potential causes for a hissing toilet, from a faulty fill valve to a worn tank flapper, or maybe a loose chain. For the eager do-it-yourselfer, a complete toilet overhaul can take less than two hours and requires only a single screwdriver and an adjustable wrench.
Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning has plenty of licensed and experienced plumbing professionals ready to help shut down any toilet leaks for the rest of us less handy folks. Leaky, runny toilets can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. Over a month, you’ll be flushing away an extra 6,000 gallons of water, placing a drain on not just your budget but perhaps the finite water resources of the planet.
PLUMBING RESOLUTION #4: Consider a Whole House Re-Pipe
Nobody wants to think about having to replace their plumbing. Unless you’re doing a “to the studs” renovation of your entire home, there is no “convenient” time to replace plumbing pipes that are in walls, under your floors, and often beneath concrete slab foundations. Your home’s residential plumbing system consists of two subsystems: clean water supply and wastewater disposal. Each of these plumbing subsystems requires its own pipes, fittings, and fixtures and can be replaced independently of each other.
What is included in a whole-house re-pipe?
Traditionally, when discussing a whole-house re-pipe, plumbing companies refer to replacing all water supply pipes. Supply pipes channel the water flowing from your city or well water connection through your home, delivering water to all fixtures and appliances that require it. The older your home is, the more likely you are to have galvanized steel pipes as your water supply lines, something you might want to consider changing.
Many older homes in and around Houston still have the original galvanized pipes installed when the house was built. While galvanized steel pipes are resilient and have a useful lifespan of more than fifty years, as with any metal exposed to water, they are prone to rust and corrosion. Decreased water pressure and rusty colored water coming from faucets can signify that it’s time to replace supply lines.
PLUMBING RESOLUTION #5: Consider a Sewer Line Replacement
Finally, at the end of our list is the terminal end of your home’s plumbing system, the sewer line. The older your home is, the more likely it is that you’ll have an issue with an aging sewer line. Cast iron sewer lines can provide 100 years of service, but they begin to break down from corrosion, often creating sewage leaks in your yard. Rigid PVC sewer lines were thought to be the optimum replacement for iron pipes, but PVC is extremely easy to break and offers no resistance to freezing conditions, leading to more sewage leaks.
If you’ve begun to notice areas of standing water in your yard, soggy grass above your sewer line, or the smell of rotten eggs, you could be facing a sewer line issue. Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning’s army of licensed and experienced plumbing technicians are standing by to inspect, repair, or replace your home’s drain or sewer lines. Nick’s has been helping Houston keep their New Year’s resolutions to their plumbing since 1979, with a five-star Google rating and over 150,000 satisfied customers.
Call Nick’s Today; We’re on the Way!