Tips and Hints

Bathrooms

Drains

 

S Once a week run hot water down the drain to help keep it free flowing

S To mitigate drain clogs, equip you tub and shower with strainers that catch hair and soap chips - clean the strainers regularly to keep water flowing properly

Toilets

S Do not flush facial tissue, cotton balls, make-up pads, sanitary products or diapers down the toilet - they do not dissolve and can clogs

S Don't flush Kleenex in toilets - The paper fibers do not disintegrate like toilet tissue and can cause clogs

S Maintain toilet tanks and prevent water waste by replacing the ball or flapper once a year, and upgrade to the most modern tank fill system

S Periodically check your toilets for leaks by removing the tank lid, adding food coloring/cool aid to the water in the tank.  Check the bowl in ten or fifteen minutes.  If you see color, the flapper valve may be leaking

 

Showers & Tubs

 

S Tubs and showers should be fitted with strainers that catch hair and soap chips - Clean the strainers regularly

S To remove unsightly mineral deposits on your showerhead, put one cup of vinegar in a plastic bag and place it over the showerhead.  Hold it in place with a twist tie and let stand overnight.  In the morning, remove the bag and wipe off the mineral deposits with a damp cloth.

 

Faucets

 

S Washerless faucets offer the best performance and least maintenance.  Next time you have a leaky faucet, instead of replacing washers or inserts, upgrade your faucet to a washerless variety

S Repair leaky faucets to avoid further damage to the fixtures and faucets

S Clean the faucet aerator periodically to help ensure adequate water pressure

S Be sure replacement parts are readily available for any purchased faucet – repair is less expensive that total replacement

 

Stop Valves

 

S Become familiar with stop valves – the cutoff valves located near each toilet and faucet.  If a faucet or toilet problem occurs, turn the water off at the valve to mitigate water damage

Kitchens

Drains

 

S Don’t pour grease down the kitchen sink – it can cause clogs

S Do not wash coffee grounds down the sink – throw them out instead.

S Use chemical cleaners carefully –they contain caustic chemical that can corrode brass, steel, or cast-iron traps and  drainpipes

 

Faucets

 

S Clean the faucet aerator periodically to help ensure adequate water pressure

S If you experience a leaky washer type faucet, instead of replacing washers or inserts consider an upgrade to a washerless type

S Repair leaky faucets to avoid further damage to the fixtures and faucets.

S Be sure replacement parts are readily available for any purchase faucet – repair is less expensive that total replacement

 

Garbage Disposals

 

S Avoid putting stringy or fibrous waste like celery, bananas, or animal skin into your garbage disposal as these are more likely to cause a clog

S Run cold tap water through your garbage disposal during use and for about 20 seconds after use – the action reduces the chance of grease type clogs in drains and sewer lines.

S Ice cubes and lemons can keep your garbage disposal odor free and an optimal grinding condition

S If the garbage disposal stops working try resetting it by depressing the small switch on the bottom side of the unit

 

Stop Valves

 

S Become familiar with stop valves – the cutoff valves located near the faucet.  If a faucet or toilet problem occurs, turn the water off at the valve to mitigate water damage

Laundry Rooms

Sinks

 

S Put new washers in all your washing machine hoses twice a year – lessens changes of damaging leaks

 

Faucets

 

S Clean the faucet aerator periodically to help ensure adequate water pressure

S If you experience a leaky washer type faucet, instead of replacing washers or inserts consider an upgrade to a washerless type

S Repair leaky faucets to avoid further damage to the fixtures and faucets.

S Be sure replacement parts are readily available for any purchase faucet – repair is less expensive that total replacement.

 

Drains

 

S Prevent drain clogs by putting a lint trap on your washing machine discharge hose.

Stop Valves

S Become familiar with stop valves – the cutoff valves located near the faucet.  If a faucet or toilet problem occurs, turn the water off at the valve to mitigate water damage

Water Heaters

S To prevent scalding’s always keep the water heater’s temperature set the factory setting

S Twice a year drain a conventional tank type water heater to remove all sediment – this will appreciably extend the life of the unit

S The flame in a gas water heater should bur dark blue – if yellow or orange the gas pressure most likely requires adjustment

Gas Line Leaks

S SMELL an odor similar to rotten eggs, even if it is faint or momentary.

S HEAR an unusual hissing or roaring sound coming from the ground or an aboveground pipeline.

S SEE dirt or water blowing into the air, discolored vegetation surrounding a pipeline, or standing water continuously bubbling.

If you experience ANY of these it is suggested that you leave immediately and call 911 or GPS Plumbing

General

Burst Pipes: If you find you have a burst water supply pipe, your first action should be to turn of the main water stop valve.

S Frozen Pipes: A good way to melt the ice in frozen pipes is to put hot water bottles over them.  Using a hair-dryer is good way of unfreezing pipes as well.

S Check your meter periodically.  If water is not running in the house, all dials on the meter should be constant.  A movement in one of the dials may indicate a water leak, probably in a toilet.

S Open and close all valves once a year to ensure proper operation when needed

S Locate and know where and how to shut off the main water shut off valve.  Shutting the water off all water to the building in an emergency will mitigate water damage and their repair cost

S In extremely cold weather, or if you lose power during cold weather, open valves to let your faucets and showers drip slowly to prevent freezing and bursting

S Know the 3 types of noises an old plumbing system may emit and their causes 1) water hammer (caused by faucets or valves being turned off abruptly, 2) whistling (the speed of water flowing through piping that is too small) and 3) chattering (caused by pipes rubbing against each other, loose pipes, or worn faucet washers)

Water Conservation

Bathroom

S Don't leave the water running while rinsing, shaving, or brushing teeth

S Don't use your toilet as a wastebasket

S Install a water-filled plastic jug or a "toilet tank bag" in the  toilet tank to reduce the water used per flush

S Take shorter showers

S Install faucet aerators and water-saving shower heads

S Toilet leaks can be silent - be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year and fix any leak detected

S When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water -adjust the temperature as the tub fills

S Upgrade older toilets with water-saving models

S If your toilet flapper does not close properly after flushing, replace it

If your toilet was installed before 1992, purchasing a water saving model to reduce the amount of water used for each flush

Kitchen

 

S Eliminate leaks by replacing old washers in kitchen faucets - a dripping faucet can waste 3,600 gallons a year

S Install faucet aerators to reduce flow rate

S Keep a pitcher of cold water in the refrigerator instead of running water until it's cold

S Don't leave the water running while rinsing dishes

S Don't rinse dirty dishes before loading into dishwasher - scrape clean and let the machine do the rest

S Only use the dishwasher with full loads, and use the "water-saver" setting, if available

S Don't thaw frozen food under running water

S When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run - fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water

S Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean

S If you accidentally drop ice cubes, do not throw them in the sink - drop them in a houseplant instead

Laundry Room

S When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.

S Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.

S When shopping for a new washing machine, compare resource savings among Energy Star models.  Some can save up to 20 gallons of water per load.

S Have a plumber re-route your greywater to trees and plants rather than the sewer line.  Check with your city and county for codes

Outdoors

S Check for and repair leaky garden taps, hose connections, and sprinkler valves

S Water in the morning or evening, not in the heat of the day to prevent evaporation

S Avoid watering on windy days

S Water slowly, thoroughly, and as infrequently as possible to promote deep roots and healthy plants

S Hold your garden hose close to the roots of plants so that there's little waste and evaporative loss

S Never let water run unnecessarily

S Limit car washing - use a bucket and a hose with spray attachment

S Use rinse water from the house to water plants in or near the house

S Don't use the hose to clean driveways and sidewalks

S Don’t let your outdoor faucets freeze up in the winter

S Detach garden hoses before freezing temperatures arrive in the fall

S If indoor faucets are subject to freezing, especially on outside walls, in very cold weather leave the cabinet doors under the faucets open so that they receive more heat

S Insulate water pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures or wind

S If there is plumbing in your garage keep the garage door closed when very cold

S Monitor your water bill for unusually high usage - your bill and water meter are tools that can help discover leaks