A healthy plumbing system can help lessen the chance of leaks, ruptures, clogs and other not-so-nice events. Homeowners who take some basic precautions and implement a few simple steps can be more confident in the state of their home's plumbing, and can save on costly repairs as well.

  • Know where the main water shutoff valve is. This is normally very accessible so that the water to the whole house can be turned off in an emergency.
  • Check the household water pressure with an inexpensive gauge from the hardware store. Excessive water pressure can damage pipes, faucets and washing machine valves, which can lead to leaks and dramatically shortened lifespans for these items. In general, water pressure should be between 40-80 psi. A plumber can install a pressure reducing valve near the main shutoff to correct this condition.
  • Protect pipes from freezing by using pipe insulation where pipes are exposed to the cold. This includes outdoor faucets, garages, crawlspaces, and unfinished/unheated basements. Frozen pipes can burst and result in serious water damage to the home and belongings.
  • Avoid using chemical drain cleaners. Though often effective, they can damage cast iron drainpipes and cause bigger problems. Snaking the drain is a better solution - keep a plumbing snake on hand or have a plumber do this.
  • Do not put any kind of grease or cooking oils down the drain. These will just solidify as they travel through the pipes and can cause serious clogs further down the line. Instead, pour the grease into a paper cup or other disposable container and throw it away.

When it comes to plumbing, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure!

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Five Tips to Help Prepare Your Home for Winter


1. Furnace Inspection. Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts. Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.


2. Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows. Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes – seal them. Use weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.


3. Inspect Roof, Gutters and Downspouts. Replace worn roof shingles or tiles. Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.


4. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work.


5. Prevent Plumbing Freezes. Drain all garden hoses and insulate exposed plumbing pipes. Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.

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