Plumbing can be intimidating, especially for newer homeowners. You may feel like you have no idea where to start when it comes to maintaining your plumbing system, and you might even be afraid to tinker with any of the parts. While it’s best to leave major plumbing projects to a professional, there are steps you can take to save water at home and prevent costly repairs. Take a look at these DIY plumbing and water saving tips to keep your home flowing.
Install Low-Flow Toilets, Faucets & Shower Heads
A great first step to optimizing your plumbing system is purchasing low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. A 10-minute shower with a conventional showerhead can use up to 42 gallons of water. Depending on how many showers your family takes, that could mean thousands of gallons per year! Replacing your showerhead with a low-flow model is easy to do and only costs between $10 – $40. Low-flow faucets and aerators can cut down your water consumption by up to 50 percent. You can replace the entire faucet for $100 – $200, or simply add an aerator for a few dollars.
Low-flow toilets keep your water usage at a minimum, using up to 20 percent less water with every flush. These toilets tend to be more expensive than regular models, but they can pay for themselves within a year via water bill savings. Choosing low-flow models can help both the environment and your wallet.
Use a Strainer in Your Drains
There are simple precautions you can take to prevent dangerous materials from going down your drains and damaging your pipes. Use strainers in your sink and bathtub drains to keep hair and soap out of your pipes and avoid expensive clogs.
Also, avoid using harsh chemical drain cleaners when a clog does happen: They are harmful to the environment and your pipes. Instead, try pouring one cup of baking soda into your drain followed by one cup of vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then flush out with boiling water. This natural remedy is effective and gentler on your pipes.
Keep Fats and Oils Out of Your Drains
Other hazardous materials that clog up your pipes are fats and oils from cooking. When grease cools, it solidifies and sticks to the insides of your pipes. Over time, it will build up and block the entire pipe, which can cause serious sewer backups. These backups can affect your home and any Other hazardous materials that clog up your pipes are fats and oils from cooking. When grease cools, it solidifies and sticks to the insides of your pipes. Over time, it will build up and block the entire pipe, which can cause serious sewer backups. These backups can affect your home and any neighbours who share the same water supply. Next time you cook some delicious bacon for breakfast, let the grease cool, wipe it out with a paper towel, and toss it into your green bin.
Check Your Toilet for Leaks
It may not seem like a leaky toilet could impact your water usage too much, but in fact, one leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons per day! If you have two toilets in your home, that could cost you hundreds of extra dollars a month. To test your toilet for leaks, drop some food colouring into the tank. If the colour seeps into the toilet bowl within 10 to 15 minutes, there is probably a leak. Be aware, there is a possibility the food dye stains your toilet tank. As for the leak, it’s likely that the toilet flapper needs to be replaced, which you can purchase for as little as $10 to $20. If replacing the flapper doesn’t fix the leak, call a plumber to have it professionally checked and repaired.
Be Careful What You Flush
Another way to protect your toilet is not to treat it like a trash can. The only things that should be flushed down your toilet are human waste and toilet paper. Items such as feminine hygiene products, wipes, paper towels, and diapers should always be placed in the trash. Dental floss is another item to keep out of your toilet. Today’s dental floss is shed-resistant and won’t break down. When these items enter the sewage system, it bonds with other waste and forms large clumps that block pipes. Also, do not flush hair to help avoid a backed up toilet.
Turn Off Your Faucets
Like a leaky toilet, a leaky faucet can cause thousands of gallons of wasted water per year if not taken care of. First, make sure that you’re preventing any leaks by turning your tap off all the way each time you use a faucet in your home. If you turn it off completely and it continues to leak, have it repaired or replaced by a plumber.
Investing in plumbing maintenance early can help you save money in the long run. Although some plumbing repairs are unavoidable, there is a lot you can do to prevent or minimize these problems.
If you’ve tried these DIY tips and are still experiencing issues, contact Enercare to have your plumbing system inspected by one of our experts.