The new year is almost here! Do you know what your New Year’s Resolution will be? If not, then now is a good time to resolve to take better care of your home's plumbing. Follow these preventative measures to help you avoid clogs and other plumbing problems in the new year.
A good way to avoid backups and clogs in your home's plumbing is maintaining a regular cleaning schedule. Chemical drain cleaners can be bad for the environment and bad for your pipes, so the best products to use are all-natural household products like vinegar, baking soda, and salt. These combinations of products can be used to take care of your home's drains:
These products work for different reasons. Vinegar is an acidic cleaning product that can eat away at organic material in the drains, while baking soda can flush away grease, fats, and oils. Lemon juice works similarly to vinegar, but it also has a fresh citrus smell that can clean away funky drain odors. You can help prevent clogs and speed up slow drains if you clean your drains at least once per month.
Your garbage disposal blades can get dull with time. You can prevent this from happening by sharpening the blades with salt and ice. To sharpen the blades, pour rock salt and ice into the garbage disposal, then run water into the garbage disposal and turn the garbage disposal on. This is a good activity to do before holiday dinners and parties or monthly if the garbage disposal is used frequently.
Sediment can build up in the bottom of a water heater. This is especially true if the home has hard water. When this happens, sediment can block the heating elements and contribute to inefficiency in the system.
Over time, this sediment can shorten the service life of your water heater. The best way to prevent this problem from happening is to drain the sediment from the bottom of the unit on a regular basis. Most water heaters benefit from draining at least once, annually.
To flush the sediment from your water heater, start by turning off the power and cold water supply to the unit. Open up a hot water faucet somewhere in your house and allow a trickle of hot water to run. This prevents a vacuum from forming in the pipes. Next, hook up a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the water heater, and point the hose into a bucket or drain.
Open the spigot and allow the water to drain from the water heater. As soon as the water runs clear, you can stop draining the unit and turn on the cold water supply to the heater. When the tank is finished filling, restore power to the unit.