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Why shouldn’t I wait to make repairs?

Plumbing problems can be early or advanced, but there is no such thing as a “small” problem. A single leak, for example, may not look like much, but the longer you leave it unattended, the larger it will grow, wasting increasing amounts of water while causing growing damage to your pipes. Even if it doesn’t get larger, one leak can waste as much as 10,000 gallons of water each year— water that you will have to pay for. Add to this the effects of mold, mildew, and rust, and the cost of waiting for repairs far outweighs that of making them immediately. The only sound financial decision is to repair your pipes early and often.

How do plumbing improvements affect a building’s value?

Technically, you aren’t spending money when you repair and upgrade your pipes; you’re investing that money in your home or office. The better you are at maintaining and improving your plumbing, the more you will make when you sell the property. Upgrades that improve energy efficiency will also make you eligible for tax credits, and for businesses, they will improve your reputation and attract eco-conscious customers.

What drain cleaning products should I use?

The best cleaning products use enzymes to dissolve grease, hair, and other obstacles in your pipes. Roto-Rooter’s Pipe Shield, for example, uses bacteria to liquefy clogs and flush them down the drain. This causes minimal damage to the environment and will not corrode your pipes.

How can I prevent clogs?

From installing a drain strainer to cleaning away mold to pouring hot water, vinegar, or baking soda down the drain, there are many easy ways to reduce the risk of drain problems. The most important step, however, is to simply avoid putting anything in your drain that could cause a clog. It is especially important to keep grease out of your drain, as this will build up on the walls of the pipe. Coffee grounds, hair, tampons, and diapers also do not belong in the drain.

What happens when water comes up through the drain?

When the connection between two fixtures becomes clogged, water and debris may bubble up through the drain. You may be able to clear this with a hand snake or plunger, but if the clog is too thick or extends to the sewer line, you will need professional repairs.

How does a sewer line become clogged?

Sewer line clogs are often the result of roots that puncture the sewer pipe and block the flow of water. They also occur when grease, tampons, debris, diapers, and other products accumulate in the sewer, or when sewer pipes break or do not fit properly.

What can I do to keep my pipes from freezing?

For pipes inside your house, simply keep the thermostat above 55 degrees in the winter. You should also leave your cabinet doors open at night so that warm air can reach the pipes within. For outdoor pipes and pipes in unheated parts of your home, you can insulate them to hold heat in. If a pipe does freeze, slowly thaw it with a heating pad, hair dryer, or space heater; do not use a device that has an open flame.

How can I save water?

Besides installing more efficient equipment, the most important way to save water is to prevent leaks and burst pipes, which waste water more quickly than any other problem can. If you do have a leak that you are unable to fix on your own, collect the water from the leak in a bucket until repairs are complete. You can use the bucket to water plants or flush toilets.

How do I monitor pipes that I can’t see?

For pipes in places that are difficult to access, consider installing a wireless water sensor. These devices will immediately shut off the water and alert you to the problem, preventing any additional damage or waste from occurring.

How do I prevent my appliances from flooding?

Inspect the hoses that lead to your dishwasher, refrigerator, and washing machine every few months. If a hose is frayed or overfilled, turn the water supply off and replace it. If a particular appliance frequently floods, consider replacing it or installing a flood detector near it.