Leaks happen. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t measures you can take to reduce the chances that they will happen to you. Outside of defective materials and inferior installation, leaks are usually the result of simple wear and tear, over time. In that light, helping your pipes stay clean and healthy over time is a direct measure you can take to prevent leaks form occurring. Here are a few simple things you can do to maintain reliable plumbing in your household:
Make Sure You Don’t Have Hard Water
If you know you live in a hard-water area, then you know your pipes are at-risk. The magnesium and the calcium of which hard water is composed build of up in your plumbing systems over time. This increases the pressure on your pipes, while decreasing the outflow from them. What’s worse, is that they are also eating your joints and fittings. If you’re not sure of the condition of your water then you should find out, and you can do this by yourself. The most common giveaways of hard water are staining, or a white buildup, around places where your water commonly ends up. Check the grout around the kitchen sink, or the shower-head. If you have hard water you need to soften it, to take that pressure off your pipes, joints, and valves. At the local hardware store, you can buy a water softener. You’ll want to talk to someone to make sure you find the right model, depending on the severity of the situation, the water capacity of your house, and how you want to install it. Although this may be easier if you leave it up to a local plumber instead of doing it yourself.
Lower Your Water Pressure
No one wants to lower their water pressure unless they have to. Your hair gets flat, your dishes take longer to rinse… But in exchange for these water-piping luxuries you are inevitably putting undue stress on your plumbing’s pipes, joints and valves, and on your faucets.
No need to call an emergency plumber just yet, you can check your water pressure on your own, to make sure it’s not too high.
- Buy a water pressure gauge at your local hardware store, and hook it up to any threaded faucet. Usually there will be one in the laundry room or outside.
- Screw the gauge onto the faucet, turn the water on, and check the pressure reading.
- Anywhere between 40 and 80lbs per square inch is considered normal, so if its too high turn it down, and if it’s not too high, if you can turn it down anyway, do it. It will relive that tension on your plumbing that is bound to cause a leak somewhere down the line.
- To do this, find the pressure regulator meter (usually above the water meter) and, using a wrench, turn the nut, located on top of the regulator, clockwise.