How To Save On Plumbing Repairs

Homeowner with a Plumbing Emergency
Homeowner with a Plumbing Emergency

Are you one of the 43% of Americans trying to save more money this year? Getting your home maintenance right can help. There’s nothing like an expensive home repair bill to put a dent in your hard-earned savings.

Plumbing maintenance is a great place to start saving. That might sound intimidating, but we’re not talking about jobs requiring major plumbing skills. Just a few basic plumbing tips that can save any homeowner from expensive plumbing emergency repairs.

Read on to learn how to save money  and plumbing repair tips from a professional plumber.

Tip 1 – Periodic Visual Plumbing Check

If you check your plumbing regularly, you’re more likely to spot small problems before they become big issues. A plumbing maintenance schedule will help you do that in an organized way. The first thing to schedule is a periodic plumbing check.

Put a reminder on your cell phone calendar. twice a year, spend an 30 minutes to an hour checking:

  • Shut off valves – check they’re in good working order.  Shut them off and back on to make sure they are working correctly.
  • Faucets – good pressure and not dripping. Look for small drip, lime buildup on strainer, under-sink connections.
  • Accessible pipe and connections – no leaks/corrosion.  Small leaks cause corrosion eventually becoming a major leak or pipe bursting to flood your home.
  • Toilets – no leaks and a solid flush. Look for tank leaks around the base, water line drips or corrosion, check shut-off valve and tank leak into toilet bowl.
  • Water heater – no leaks, pipe damage, or corrosion. Look around all sides of your water heater including top and water connections.  Check you shut-off valves for proper function.
  • Garbage disposal – working correctly with no leaks or cracks.
  • Washing machine and dishwasher connections.  Check that hoses and shut-off facets are closing properly.  Also, signs of leaks on wall, floor and around the appliance.

Make a list of any issues you find as you go. You can probably fix some of them yourself by purchasing the replacement parts at a local hardware store or appliance store. The City of Tampa allows homeowners to work on their own plumbing if the issue is minor.

For example, you can go ahead and:

  • Repair a leaking pipe
  • Unstop drains/sewer pipes
  • Replace sink faucets
  • Replace garbage disposal
  • Replace old water valves

You’ll need a permit if you’re installing new water heater or doing major work such as remodeling. In this case, you’ll need a licensed plumbing contractor to handle the job for you.  A permitted plumbing repair or project assures the homeowner that the contractor is executing according to code and standards.

How to Check Your Toilet for Leaks

In addition to visual inspection and testing of the shut-off valve under the water tank, You can put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. Wait a couple of hours. If the water in the toilet bowl starts to change color, you’ve got a leak.  Water tank leaks are simple and inexpensive to repair, in most cases the solution is simply a flapper.

Tip 2 – Fix Leaking Faucets

Leaking faucets literally pour money down the drain and, eventually corrode to the point of break which will cause a flood.

After being used repeatedly, seat washers and O-rings can become damaged, which causes leaks. You may also find the valve seat is corroded.

Seat washers and O-rings can be replaced, but it’s not always easy to get O-rings to seal properly. If the valve seat has corroded, you’ll need to get a new unit.

Start by trying a faucet repair kit. You can buy them cheaply online. Just remember to shut off the water to the faucet before you attempt the repair.

If your plumbing DIY doesn’t work, call a water leak plumbing services.

Tip 3 – Clean Your Drains Every Three Months

Plumber working on a bathroom sink
Plumber working on a bathroom sink

Get ahead of clogs and expensive callouts by cleaning your drains yourself. Stay away from harsh chemical drain cleaners if possible. They can damage pipes and drain system.

Remove sink pop-ups and clean them. Clean your drains by:

  • Pouring boiling water down the sink
  • Next, pour down 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar
  • Leave ten minutes and flush with hot water

Tip 4 – Tackle Sink Clogs Yourself

Theoretically, if you clean your drains regularly, they won’t get clogged (see also Tip #5). But if they do start draining slowly, it’s usually a simple fix.

Grab yourself a drain snake, also called a drain auger. They can reach clogs that are up to 25 feet away. They snag soft debris such as hair and gunk and remove it from the drain.

If your sink has a removable pop-up stopper, you can access it from there. Otherwise, remove the P-trap below the sink and use that as your access point. Insert the steel cable and start to turn the auger.

You’ll meet some resistance along the way. That’s normal – it’s the bends in the pipe. But cranking the auger will get it through and allow it to keep going.

Snag It and Reel It In

You’ll feel some soft resistance when you meet the clog. Pull the snake up and wind the auger again to break up the clog. Do this a couple of times until you’re confident you’ve snagged it.

Now, pull the cable back either by hand or by winding the auger backward. The clog should come out. Test it by flushing the drain with hot water.

If you’re unsure, call a local plumbing company. It’s better to pay for the professionals than fix the mess left behind by a plumbing DIY disaster.

Tip 5 – Be Careful About What You Put Down Your Drains

It’s so convenient to see your toilet as a second trash can. The problem is that it’s only built to take pee, poop, and toilet paper. That’s it.

One of the best pieces of plumbing advice we can give is to educate everyone in the family about what they can and can’t put down the toilet. Kids are never too young to learn these important rules.

Definite no-nos include:

  • Diapers
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Cotton balls
  • Q-tips
  • Baby wipes
  • Condoms
  • Dental floss

Send any of these down the toilet, and you’ll soon have an overflowing toilet on your hands.

Rules for Sinks

Sinks also need a little TLC. That means never dumping the following items down them, however tempting that may be:

  • Fats, oils, or grease
  • Coffee grounds
  • Produce stickers

Avoid letting food go down the kitchen drain. An inexpensive sink strainer can stop food particles in their tracks.

Tip 6 – Water Heater Maintenance

Over time, mineral deposits collect in your water heater. This forms a thick layer of sediment that can make it bang loudly.

It’s possible to flush your water heater yourself. The exact instructions vary depending on the model you have. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions very carefully.

If you’re not too confident, call a plumber to flush out your water heater and service it at the same time.

Water Heater Electric Inspection & Diagnostic

Water Heater Electrical Damage
Water Heater Electrical Damage

Your water heater will typically have 2 heating elements which are cover by a rectangular metal plate fastened by two small screws.  Here are tip on visually inspecting your water heater’s electrical system:

  • IMPORTANT!Turn your electric supply OFF before you begin.  Turn off any breaker, shut-off switch or electric disconnect.  SAFETY IS FIRST!
  • Open the two heating element covers and visually inspect for any leaks, corrosion, damaged electric wires, burn or melted wire covers and connections.
  • Look at your thermostat and make sure there are no water leaks around or near it.  No signs of charred wires, burnt plastic covers or wiring.

Choose the Best Company in Tampa for Plumbing Repair and Maintenance

These plumbing tips can take your plumbing maintenance to the next level and reduce your repair bills. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, relax. Choice Plumbing Tampa is here to help.

We’ve been the highest-rated plumbing company in Tampa for over 20 years. We’re so confident in our work that we provide a 1-year warranty in writing. Whether you’ve got an overflowing toilet or preventative plumbing maintenance, we’ve got your back.

Fill out our Online Callback Request Form, and our plumber will call you back immediately!


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