Something as small as a leaky faucet can waste up to 5,000 gallons of water each year. With a little maintenance, you can prevent the little problems as well as the big problems.
Basic Plumbing Tools
Keep these tools around the house for simple maintenance procedures.
- Adjustable wrench
- Basin wrench
- 1/4-in. flat-blade screwdriver
- Philips head screwdriver
- Teflon tape
- Assorted washers and O-rings
Follow these steps to make sure your plumbing is in order.
- Replace worn hoses on washing machines
- Inspect water pipes and fittings annually
- Know where the water shut-off valve is in case a hose or pipe breaks
- Check the water pressure—normal pressure is 60-80 psi
- Check grout and caulking around toilets
- Exercise the angle stop on your main water valve by turning it every 4 months
- Make sure sump pumps are free of debris
- Drain water from the bottom of the water heater until it runs clear to get rid of sediment
- Don’t leave the house with the dishwasher or washing machine running
- Turn off the water supply to washing machine when taking long vacations away
- Look for sharp increases in your water bill—you may have an undiscovered leak
Follow these steps to prepare your plumbing for cold weather.
- Check insulation around indoor, attic, crawlspace, and exposed pipes
- Wrap exposed pipes with foam insulation or heat trace tape as needed
- Drain underground sprinkler systems—blow out any and all water left in the lines
- Cover exposed spigots with a styrofoam cover or with newspaper, a plastic bag, and duct tape
- Shut off outdoor faucets and drains