DIY plumbing maintenance checklist for homeowners
Regular plumbing maintenance is important, especially if you want to use your 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW) service agreement coverage when you need a repair or replacement. With proper inspection, testing, and preparation, you can lengthen the life of your plumbing systems and prevent a minor problem from becoming an expensive mess.
Plumbing maintenance inspections
Here are several inspections you can do yourself. Catching plumbing problems early is a step toward less expensive repairs.
- Check faucets and fixtures in the bathroom and kitchen for leaks or drips.
- Inspect your outside faucets for leaks, since they can crack under the pressure of freezing temperatures.
- Watch for yellow, orange, or green stains on water pipes, since this can indicate corrosion.
- Check your walls and ceilings for yellow or brown water stains, which can indicate unseen pipe leakage.
- Inspect your pipes to see if you can smell mildew or mold.
- Check your water heater for rust.
- Inspect your toilet tank to see if it contains corrosion or broken parts.
- Make sure your washing machine hoses don’t have cracks.
- Check under your kitchen and bathroom sinks for dripping pipes.
Testing your plumbing
Because certain plumbing problems aren’t visible, you may need to test the system to see if any problems exist. These are a few tests you can do that require minimal plumbing skill and knowledge.
- Turn your faucet handles back and forth to make sure that they work properly.
- Check your showers and sinks to see if they are draining slower than they should.
- Watch and listen for proper toilet flushing consistency and speed.
- Check the caulking around sinks, toilet bases, bath tubs, and shower doors. Replace cracked or missing caulk where needed.
- Run your garbage disposal to make sure it’s functioning properly.
Preparing your plumbing
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By taking the following steps, you can sidestep expensive plumbing problems in the future.
- Flush your water heater to eliminate sediment buildup, which reduces efficiency, promotes corrosion, and shortens the life of your water heater.
- Set your water heater to 120°F for maximum performance.
- Disconnect your garden hose from outside spigots during the winter, since cold weather promotes cracking.
- Clean out the p-traps beneath your sinks to prevent clogs.
- Wash out your shower heads and faucet aerators.
- Insulate pipes in the crawl space, basement, garage, and any other unheated areas.
- Remove debris from downspouts and gutters to promote better drainage.
- Clean sump pumps and inspect for necessary repairs before cold winter weather.
- Protect indoor pipes from freezing by allowing them to run or drip from each valve in your home at regular intervals.
Don’t procrastinate on plumbing maintenance and repairs
Because water can be especially damaging to your home, it’s important to take plumbing problems seriously. If you procrastinate on a repair, you can end up with extensive repair costs related to rot and mold. You may also inadvertently void your home warranty and the savings that come along with it. To avoid these problems, be sure to properly maintain your plumbing systems and schedule repairs as soon as you notice a problem.
2-10 HBW offers the most comprehensive home warranty coverage for homeowners. Let us help you protect your home.