Your plumbing system is an integral part of your home. Without it, you could not wash your clothes, take a shower, or cook without considerable extra effort. So, it’s important to keep that system in the best possible condition. Here are some tips to help you stay up to date on plumbing maintenance, save water and enjoy your home the way it was designed to be enjoyed.

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Clear the Drains Weekly

Your kitchen drain pipes can have grease and food build up within them. That’s why it’s so important to clear your drains regularly using vinegar or boiling water. When done on a regular basis, this simple process will dramatically reduce the chances of a clogged or backed up drain.

This works for all of your drains too – not just your kitchen sink. Clear out the bath tub, toilet and any other drains on your property regularly and you should be able to avoid any unnecessary calls to the plumber for expensive repairs.

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Insulate Pipes

Insulation around your pipes does a number of things. Though Californians don’t often need to worry about their pipes freezing in winter, there are other reasons for insulation. It keeps in the warmth as the piping passes from one part of your home to the next, ensuring you lose as little heat as possible from your water heater. It also protects pipes from corrosion and wear that tends to develop over time.

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Watch Your Water Meter

It’s important to keep a close eye on your water meter at all times so you can spot any unusual increases in water usage. Spikes in water usage are often indicators that there’s a leak somewhere on your property. Most leaks don’t become obvious until well after they’ve started. If you notice a wet spot on your ceiling or a puddle in your yard, the pipe that caused it has probably been leaking for days or even weeks already.

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Replace Water Wasting Fixtures

Everyone likes to save money, so consider for a moment the sheer volume of water used by old, less environmentally friendly fixtures. Toilets, for example, were long built to flush 3.5 gallons at a time. However, newer toilets flush only 1.6 and can flush as little as 1.25 when placed in lower flush mode. This will save the average family of four up to 22,000 gallons of water every year. That’s a lot of water and a whole lot of money.

Other simple upgrades around your house that save money include low flow shower heads, aerators for your faucets and water pressure regulators to minimize the amount of water coming through your pipes.

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Running Toilet

Running toilets are among the most common plumbing issues experienced in the modern home. Usually when a toilet runs constantly or flushes at random, it’s a problem with the flapper valve. Check the valve in your toilet to ensure the seal is still good. If the seal is bad, it will appear cracked or it won’t be fully attached to the bowl. This can result in a constant leak of water into the bowl of your toilet tank.

If you’ve got a toilet that seems to run constantly, call a plumber today. It’s likely that a simple fix to a component in the tank will address the problem, but if the toilet itself is broken, you want the issue addressed as soon as possible so you can stop wasting water!