Checklist for home plumbing maintenance

In response to the many requests, we have put together this plumbing maintenance checklist to help you identify and avoid potential problems with your home’s plumbing. Print it out, download it or bookmark it. Also be sure to check our podcast for the 3 part series on home maintenance.

Plumbing maintenance – scheduled:

  • Where is the water shut off valve located?

› Exercise main water valve at least once per year more often if you have hard water (high mineral content.

» To check your water quality, check with your water company.

  • Water heater

› Flush your water heater at least once a year.

» Turn the heating element off. Turn the water inlet valve to the off position. Connect a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the water heater. Open the valve for the spigot and let all the water drain out. When completely drained, close the spigot valve. Turn the water inlet valve to on position for 2 or 3 minutes. Then while water is on at the inlet, open the spigot. This will flush any remaining sand and silt from the bottom of the tank. Let drain until you see clear water. When clear water is seen, close spigot valve, remove hose and turn heating element on.

› Listen to your water heater

» Listen to the water heater for a gurgling sound while the heating element is on. This sound usually means that you have a thick layer of sediment at the bottom of the tank. This sediment will cause the heating element to work longer to heat the water. This extra heating time overheats and weakens the metal of the tank which will result in rust and eventually a leak.

  • Washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator hoses

› Inspect annually; look and feel for small bulges forming along the entire length of the hose. If a small bulge is visible or felt, replace immediately.

› It is recommended that these hoses (both rubber and metal reinforced) be replaced every 5 years.

Plumbing Maintenance – Prevention Tips:

— Heat your water no higher than about 120F / 50C.

» Setting your water temperature too high causes the heating element to heat the tank longer. The longer heating time overheats the metal of the tank and weakens the metal of the tank which will result in rust and eventually a leak.

— Add pipe insulation to the plumbing in cold parts of your house—such as garages, basements, and crawl spaces—to avoid frozen pipes (and to shorten the wait for hot water).

— Avoid using acids and corrosive chemicals to clear drain. They can damage your drains and cause expensive leaks.

— Prevent frozen pipes

» Heat your entire home — not just certain rooms. Allowing warm air to circulate through your home keeps your pipes warm.

» Allow the water to trickle from each faucet in your home when temperatures are extremely cold.

» Insulate both cold and hot water pipes.

— Never use an exposed pipe as a hanger rod for laundry or pull-up bar. Doing so can loosen joints and fasteners.

— Outdoor spigots in cold weather regions need special attention

» Use extended length gate valves; the valve gate should extend past the interior wall

» Insulate the spigot during cold weather

» Fix a leaky spigots before freezing temperatures occur

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