Updated: April 28, 2023
The kitchen and bathroom sinks in most households are just two of many drains. When these drains are operating normally, people don’t give much thought to their plumbing, but when something goes wrong, it can be a home plumbing maintenance nightmare.
Although there are excellent plumbing services available in Mississauga, it is possible to avoid the expense and inconvenience of drain repair by simply keeping your drains in good working order. Preventing drain damage requires a number of critical measures.
Best Ways to Take Care of Pipes and Drains
1. Invest in Drain Guards
One of the least expensive ways of home plumbing maintenance is with a drain guard. A drain guard is a metal or plastic cover for your drain that has tiny holes in it, as the name suggests. Only water can pass through this filtering cap.
The drain guard is easy to install and does a good job once it’s in place. Simply insert the drain guard into the drain opening whenever you need to do work in or near the sink. With this simple precaution in place, you may rest assured that only water and not food scraps will be flushed down the toilet.
You can remove the lid and clean out any other debris, such as hair or larger objects, that have no business being in the drain.
Leftover particles from washing a cutting board or rinsing fruit in the sink will eventually make their way down the drain. The situation can become even more unpleasant if your waste disposal is not fitted. A drain guard is a useful tool for maintaining a clean drain.
It can also serve as a protection for your belongings. A wedding ring falling down the drain is one of the worst things that can fall down your drain. Although many are retrievable from the p-trap of a drain pipe by turning off the water and calling for assistance immediately, the faucet is often left on in a state of panic, rendering the p-trap inaccessible.
2. Clean Drains Regularly
Maintaining clean pipes and drains is one of the simplest methods for home plumbing maintenance and extends its useful life. If the pipes and drains aren’t regularly cleaned, sewer gas and water might leak back into the house.
Multiple detergents and chemicals are now readily available in most grocery stores, making it easy to clean the pipes and drains. It’s important to use enzyme-based cleaning solutions rather than chemical ones, as the latter might actually damage the pipes.
You may easily make your own drain cleaner if you can’t find one that works. Simply combine baking soda and vinegar and flush the drain with the resulting solution. After 15 to 20 minutes, run some hot water through the pipes to flush out the solution. Once a month, use a drain cleaning solution and then rinse the pipes with hot water to kill any remaining bacteria.
It’s not normal for water to “stand” in the drain and then slowly gurgle its way down the pipe (if this is happening, you should clean the drain). If you keep your sink drain and other plumbing fixtures clean, you won’t have to worry as much about backups or pools of water. Plus, keeping the pipes in the toilet clear is very crucial for avoiding backflow.
3. Prevent Pipes from Freezing
Your pipes are at risk of freezing if the temperature drops to -15 degrees Celsius or lower. Water freezing in pipes and drains is a common problem for homeowners throughout the winter. This is quite bad for the plumbing and drains in your home and will require home plumbing maintenance.
Water running through pipes is unproblematic, but a freeze in the centre of the pipe might lead to a backup. Because of this, water may begin to back up in your drains and possibly seep from your pipes. If the water in your pipes freezes, it could burst and flood your home with potentially hazardous water. This is an emergency that needs fixing right now, and the cost could be high.
Preventative maintenance is the key to avoiding plumbing catastrophes. Water freezing in pipes can be avoided through routine draining and maintaining a constant flow of water.
To prevent pipes from freezing, temporarily seal any crawl areas. Put in insulation in the attic, basement, and crawl space, and weather-strip the doors and windows. This will minimize the quantity of cold air that gets into the crawlspace and will reduce the chance of your pipes freezing.
If you are experiencing temperatures that are colder than normal, do not try to lower your utility bill by lowering the temperature. If you will be away, keep the thermostat at 12 degrees Celsius or higher.
4. Insulate Exposed Pipes
If you discover that your pipes are frozen, you should insulate any exposed drain line. It is important to insulate the hot and cold lines of the water supply if you have any exposed pipes, such as those in a septic or sewer system. If you want to preserve the heat inside your house, you may also want to insulate the pipes that carry sewer and septic waste away.
If you leave your pipes outside in the cold, water in your pipes and drains could freeze, causing a major problem. Frozen water expands, causing breaks and leaks in your pipes in addition to the misery of a cold shower. The likelihood of this issue arising can be decreased by insulating them.
Using foam pipe sleeves is a simple way of insulation. For longer, straight pipes that need protection, this is the best alternative. Depending on the diameter of the pipe, sleeves can be purchased in increments of six feet.
If you need to insulate a short section of pipe, pipe wrap is a quick and easy solution. Rubber pipe insulation tape, bubble film pipe wrap, foil-backed natural cotton wrap, and flexible foam with rubber backing tape are just a few examples.
Protecting outdoor faucets from freezing temperatures and falling ice chunks from your roof and eaves is easy with a durable foam faucet cover. You may find faucet covers at any hardware store or buy them online.
5. Don’t Flush Everything Directly
The best thing you can do for your home plumbing maintenance is to avoid having to deal with clogged toilets. If you perform routine maintenance on your plumbing system, it could last even longer than you anticipate.
However, a common bad behaviour is to flush anything that doesn’t belong in the toilet. Human excrement is the only thing that can go down the drain. Everything else will clog them up. Diapers, sanitary pads, and anything else that isn’t human waste belongs in the trash can, not the toilet.
Maintaining a healthy plumbing system primarily entails weekly drain cleaning. A combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar will do the trick. Just dump both chemicals down the toilet and wait for the froth to settle before flushing. This will unclog your system of any lingering debris. However, a blockage is still possible on occasion.
Having a professional drain cleaning service done once a year is also suggested for reducing the frequency of obstructions. When it comes to your plumbing system, only a skilled professional can spot both prospective trouble spots and existing issues. If you get your system serviced by a professional once a year, you may expect it to last even longer.
6. Stop Pouring Grease Down The Drain
Grease is notorious for clogging pipes because it adheres to the inside of drains. So, the kitchen sink and drain should never be used as a disposal for grease or oil. Grease that builds up in the kitchen sink can cause major problems for your plumbing if it solidifies and clogs the main drain.
Pouring hot grease down the drain is simple because of its fluidity. Grease can be easily removed when it is warm, but when the temperature drops, it freezes and creates a blockage. Even if you have no idea that grease is building up in your pipes and causing a clog or other plumbing issues, that day will come.
Grease cools and hardens in your plumbing within minutes. This solid mass can trap other debris that is travelling through the pipes and lead to a major clog. Slow or no drainage from the kitchen sink could be a sign of clogged pipes.
Clogs can be removed with a mixture of 50 percent vinegar and water at boiling temperature. If the drain is really clogged with grease, you can give it a little more aid by pouring a few tablespoons of baking soda down it first.
7. Never Put Leftovers in the Drain
Many times people put the vegetable waste and other such items directly into the drains while they are preparing anything. Leftovers can cause clogs, and if it sits in the pipes for more than a few days, they will begin to decay, releasing foul odours into your home.
Bigger pieces of leftovers can get stuck in the drains and cause blockages which can result in water flowing back from the drains.
In case your toddlers accidentally push food down the drain, use a flat-bottomed plunger to create a watertight seal along the sink. Put the cup over the drain and fill the sink until the water reaches the edge of the plunger. Repeatedly and forcefully moving the plunger up and down can help break up the food clog. See if the food has been flushed away by testing the drain.
You can also try the good old hot water method, but if your pipes are made of PVC, you shouldn’t use this method. Alternatively, you can use a plumbing auger. When the cable meets resistance, crank the auger to break up the food blockage. Run water down the drain to help flush off any leftover food.
8. Reduce Water Pressure
A steady stream of water can be sent via pipes and drains without any problems, but the high-pressure water flow is not what they were designed for.
Each pipe has a maximum pressure it can withstand before bursting, and if that pressure is exceeded, leaks can occur. To avoid damaging the pipes, limit the water pressure to no more than 80 PSI.
Damage to water-using appliances is common if your water pressure is too high. Most washing machines and dishwashers can function with very low water pressure. Early breakdowns brought on by high water pressure can result in costly repairs. With routine plumbing inspections, you can avoid these problems entirely.
Additionally, old pipes are especially vulnerable to damage from high water pressure. It can increase the likelihood of pipe cracking or breaking. Waste and harm can result from water leaks.
You may not be able to prevent excessive water pressure from occurring due to factors beyond your control. The municipal freshwater system, for instance, may supply your home with pressurized water. However, this problem can be remedied by having a water pressure regulator installed at the main water supply. You can call a plumber near you if you need help with installation.
9. Choose Cleaning Agents Wisely
Home plumbing maintenance is important, but improper cleaning can also cause costly harm. Pipes should not be cleaned with any kind of chemical cleaning.
Strong chemical drain cleansers are dangerous if they come into contact with your eyes, skin, or lungs. Accidental or not, combining drain cleansers with other cleaning solutions can produce lethal fumes. Never use a drain cleaner if there is any water in the toilet or shower drain.
Instead, make enzyme-based cleaners a regular part of your home plumbing maintenance. Baking soda and vinegar are two common household items that can be used to clean pipes and eliminate unpleasant odours.
10. Keep Roots Away From Your Sewer Line
Trees provide character to a yard, but before you plant one there, learn about the damage their roots can do to your pipes. Planting trees or huge bushes too close to your sewer line can lead to blockages and pipe damage from invading roots.
The simplest way to avoid this is to not plant any new shrubs or trees around the pipes. If you already have trees in your backyard, though, this method becomes more complicated.
A physical barrier is an effective and environmentally beneficial approach to prevent tree roots from destroying your plumbing. Alternatively, you could apply a substance like a foaming root killer to the problem areas to kill any roots that might sprout there. However, remember that improper use of these chemicals can result in total tree death.
You should remove any roots that may have made their way into your sewer system. They can be cut with a mechanical auger by a professional, or you can try your hand at it. However, cutting the roots is not the most efficient method because new roots will sprout almost immediately.
Roots can also be eliminated with the use of poison. Copper sulphate septic treatment is the most efficient procedure because it poisons the soil around the pipe, preventing the roots from growing back. The good news is that this treatment will only affect the roots around the pipe and not the tree itself. If you pick this option, keep in mind that it will need to be maintained on a regular basis and that using too much copper might be detrimental. It could make sense to get help from an expert.
11. Invest In Home Insurance For Protection
The timing of calamity is always unpredictable. That’s why it’s crucial to have comprehensive homeowner’s insurance that includes coverage for things like broken sewer lines, flooding, and even plumbing damages.
Water damage is often covered by Canadian homeowners’ insurance policies. Downspouts, eaves, ice dams, burst water mains, and flushes of water or steam from central heating and cooling systems are some of the causes of water damage that most insurance policies cover.
To be covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy, however, water damage must be abrupt and accidental. Leaks and seepage over time are typically not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
It’s also vital to remember that insurance only covers water damage and not the underlying cause.
If a pipe bursts and spills water on your carpet, for instance, the carpet repair costs would be covered but the cost of new pipes might not be. This is because your policy won’t cover pipe damage caused by normal wear and tear, poor installation, or any number of other factors.
12. Get the Pipes Inspected
Every homeowner can benefit from an inspection of their plumbing system. Plumbing emergencies can be avoided through thorough pipe and drain inspections.
Ask your Mississauga plumber for a detailed report outlining all the problems with your pipelines and the solutions that can be implemented. Get in contact with us if you need licensed plumbers to check out your piping system.
We advise having your plumbing checked every two years. More frequent inspections are warranted for older homes. For houses older than 40 years, several experts recommend annual inspections.
13. Replace Old Pipes
Speaking of older homes, you might want to consider replacing old pipes if you’re buying or flipping an old house.
Most people are under the impression that if they take care of their pipes and drains, they will last forever. However, this is not the case.
A brass pipe’s lifespan can be anywhere from 40 to 70 years. Taking into account wear and tear, you should plan on replacing it after 60 to 65 years.
Cast iron drain pipes are highly durable and can survive for up to a century without requiring replacement.
PVC drain pipes, on the other hand, can be installed without further thought until they develop a leak or crack. PVC pipes are guaranteed to be indestructible. If you want to save money over time, replacing your old pipes with PVC ones is the way to go.