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For Plumbing Maintenance, Do Sweat The Small Stuff

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Many people take their plumbing for granted – until something goes wrong. But modern plumbing systems, while reliable, do wear down over time, requiring maintenance and repair. Knowing a little bit about common plumbing problems can help you get them fixed quickly before they balloon into costly repairs.

Dripping, Leaky Taps – This might be the number-one most-ignored plumbing problem. After all, it's just a minor annoyance, right? Well, unfortunately, leaky taps can actually have some pretty bad consequences. The most obvious is the wasted water – over time, this can really add up, raising your utility bills. If you have hard water, a leaky faucet can also cause mineral buildup where the drip is hitting the tub or sink below.

It's also very easily fixed; most commonly, leaky faucets are caused by problems with washers, and they just need to be replaced.  If the faucet itself is damaged, replacing it is still not a difficult or costly proposition.

Slow Drains – People don't usually ignore clogged drains – after all, they make it impossible to use a sink or tub. But you can often stop the problem before it gets to the point of a clog if you watch out for slowly-draining water.

Part of preventing clogs is being careful what you let down the drain. In bathtubs and showers, use hair traps to prevent hair from clogging up the drain. If you don't have a garbage disposal, make sure you use a strainer in your sink to keep food from going down the drain. And whether you have a disposal or not, don't pour oil or fats down the drain; pour or scrape them into the garbage instead.

Even with these precautions, you will probably eventually end up with slow drains, even if just from soap or detergent. If a single drain is slow, you can purchase chemicals to clear out the drain; if you suspect a clog close to the entrance, a pair of pliers may be able to pull it out. If all of your drains are slow, the problem is deeper within your plumbing – consider calling a professional to clear out your lines, especially if you have a septic tank or notice any smell from your drains.

Low Water Pressure – This is usually most noticeable in the shower; no one wants to try to rinse their hair with a trickle of water. This is an especially common problem if you have hard water – minerals can build up in the faucet or showerhead.

Cleaning the faucet's aerator or the showerhead with a mixture of vinegar and water or a descaling product should improve the pressure; if it doesn't, you may have a clog in your lines. If the low pressure is only with hot water, your hot water heater should be looked at.

Putting off simple maintenance of small issues is easy to do, but be careful. If your plumbing problems escalate and you find yourself with a flooded kitchen or a non-working shower, you'll be in for a lot more trouble than if your plumbing had been looked at regularly. For more information about plumbing repairs, contact the experts at a local plumbing company.