IN THE KITCHEN
Take care in what you pour down your drain. Do not pour oils or fats even if you run the hot water. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and cause the sink to clog. It is best to use a mechanical device to clear your drains rather that a harsh drain cleaner that can damage your pipes.
To avoid blocked drains, you can help maintain a free running kitchen sink drain, treat it every month by first pouring one cup of baking soda down the drain, then 1 cup of vinegar followed by 3 to 4 cups of hot water.
- A leaky faucet that drips one drip a minute wastes about 8 gallons per day. A water leak is not really urgent; it's just a matter of who you want to pay - the utility company or yourself.
- Remove and clean your faucet aerators every few months to ensure an even flow of water. Same with the faucet in the bathroom.
- Always use cold water.
- Before starting your disposal, run the cold water for a few seconds first. Be sure the flow of water is between a moderate flow to a strong flow.
- Continue to run the water for approximately 15 seconds after grinding is completed so the drain line flushes out.
- Don't turn off the disposal until grinding is complete.
- Avoid overloading your disposal - it is best to feed the garbage a little at a time.
- Do not put fibrous materials such as corn husks, artichokes, celery, potato skins, lettuce, etc.
- To freshen your disposal, grind citrus peelings.
- To sharpen the blades on your disposal, grind ice cubes in your disposal.
- When you know no one has flushed the toilet in the previous half hour or more and you hear your toilet refilling, this is a good indication that you have a leaking flush valve seal.
- Avoid using the toilet as a wastebasket. Every flush you eliminate can save between 2 and 7 gallons of water.
- To test your toilet for leaks, add several drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If it is leaking, the colored water will appear in the bowl without flushing and it's time for rapairs.
- Check the water shut off valve a couple of time a year. These valves can jam with mineral deposits or the seals can deteriorate. If your toilet is overflowing, there is nothing worse than watching it flood your home because your shut off valve isn't working.
- Three signs you need a new toilet:
- You cringe any time a guest enters the hall bathroom
- You keep a plunger next to the toilet
- You issue only 5 sheets of toilet paper per bathroom visit.
Showers and Tubs
- If your shower head is spraying unevenly, take the head off and clean out any mineral build-up by poking a pin or wire through the holes. Brush away the deposits and soak the parts in white vinegar overnight. Rinse and replace using plumber's tape on the threads.
- To help prevent clogs, fit all your tub and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips. Clean the strainer regularly.
- Before doing any maintenance on your water heater, be sure to shut off the power or turn off the gas and read your owner's manual.
- At least once every three months, drain water from the tank. Sediment builds up at the bottom of the heater and can hamper performance. Draining a gallon or so helps remove the sediment. It is important to have a brass valve before you attempt to do this yourself. A plastic one can break and you could have a nasty mess on your hands.
- You should also periodically inspect your water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips. If it is mostly yellow or if it's sooty under there, your flue may be clogged, which could be a dangerous situation.
Apache Plumbing Services assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. These tips are provided as a service from Apache Plumbing Services.