Everyday we help customers all over the south Bay Area, and we constantly see the damage that is done to plumbing systems because of neglect. In so many cases, the headaches and costs that result from that damage could have been avoided if a few simple steps had been taken to prevent it. As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Sediments: Invisible, but Dangerous
Sediments are the minerals and debris that are found in your household pipes and drinking water that settle at the bottom of pipes and appliances over time. As unpleasant as that is to think about, it’s a fact of life for everyone with running water in their home. If the proper steps aren’t taken, sediments can do serious damage to your pipes, water heater, dishwasher, or any other part of your plumbing system.
Thankfully, preventative maintenance is key to preserving your appliances and avoiding expensive emergency house calls. Here are five simple steps you can take to prevent sediments from damaging your home.
#1: Flush your water heater
You do this by draining the tank and flushing water through it, and if necessary, removing the sediments from the bottom of the tank by hand. There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to do this, but if you’re unsure, don’t risk it, call a professional. We happen to know a good one!
#2: Check & replace bad shut-off valves
Shut-off valves are located in main areas and allow you to turn off the water supply when needed. There is one at your meter box, under every sink, and behind every toilet. The shut-off valve outside usually requires a special tool called a key, which you can typically get at any of your local hardware stores. (Just keep in mind that they can be pricey, ranging anywhere from $20 to $150. Yikes!) The inside valves have a handle that you can turn, and so do many outside shut-off valves.
Every 6-12 months, check your valves for any signs of corrosion or rust, and test them by turning them off and on a couple of times. If a valve turns easily and does the job, it’s fine. If it sticks or won’t turn at all, replace it! It’s typically an easy and inexpensive fix.
Important Note on Toilets and Valves: Make sure to check your toilet valve! If the toilet backs up or a pipe begins to leak, you definitely need your valve to work. If it breaks off, springs a leak, or gets stuck, you will be in a world of trouble!
#3: Stop disposal abuse!
Unfortunately, many people are putting things down their disposals everyday that are abusive and destructive and that cause pipes to become clogged. Here are some things you should never put in your disposal:
- Stringy vegetables like celery
- Any type of cooking oil, grease or fat
- Too many potato peels
- Egg shells
- Anything else that isn’t supposed to go down a drain (rags, bottle caps, pieces of plastic or wood—you know, the common-sense stuff…)
Also, run ice through your disposal from time to time to keep the blades sharp. Your disposal can last 12-15 years if properly maintained, but if it’s older than eight years and has never had maintenance, it probably needs to be replaced. #4: Install a whole-house water filter Installing a whole-house water filter will get rid of the sediments and scaling problem once and for all. Just make sure to get the water heater tank flushed out at the time of installation.
#4: Install a whole-house water filter
Installing a whole-house water filter will get rid of the sediments and scaling problem once and for all. Just make sure to get the water heater tank flushed out at the time of installation.
#5: Schedule periodic professional drain cleaning
Most people would be disgusted if they only knew what’s actually in their household pipes and drains. Believe us: plumbing is a dirty job. What most homeowners don’t know, however, is just how much bacteria is in the drain system. Professional drain cleaning takes care of all that, and also removes scale buildup that causes pipe narrowing and plugging, as well as substances that are already clogging the drains.
#6: Find (and stick with) the right team of HVAC professionals (Bonus Tip)
Familiarity creates chemistry, and nothing puts an HVAC professional in a position to give you the best service and advice like being familiar with your home. If you’re in Silicon Valley or the south Bay Area, why not let that be us? With over 25 years of commercial and residential plumbing, heating, and air conditioning experience, we know exactly what it takes to keep your home or business in tip-top shape.