Tips and checklist to protect your plumbing system against damaging leaks.
Anyone who has experienced water leaks in their home knows that they’re rarely simple fixes. Average leak repairs can cost anywhere from $125 to $800, depending on the size of the job, according to HomeGuide.
But that’s not including the cost of water damage restoration, mold remediation or personal property replacement. At the end of the ordeal, repairing your home back to its pre-leak state could set you back thousands of dollars.
The best way to keep your hard-earned money from going toward leak repair and water damage restoration is to perform routine preventative plumbing maintenance. Below, you’ll find a plumbing maintenance checklist you can review regularly to help prevent leaks.
Plumbing Maintenance Checklist
1. Fix leaky faucets and showerheads.
A slowly dripping faucet in the guest bathroom might sound like nothing more than an annoyance, but it could turn into a bigger leak — and a bigger repair bill — if left unfixed.
Fix leaky shower heads and faucets: Faucets and showerheads may drip because of corroded valve seats or improper installation. Whatever the cause, the leak needs to be repaired before it has the chance to cause water damage, mold and property loss. Don’t forget to check faucets, outdoor spigots and water-using appliances you don’t use often.
2. Check home water pressure.
If your plumbing system’s pressure is too high, hoses and pipes could fail and cause water damage. On the other hand, pressure that’s too low could indicate a leak has already happened.
How to check home water pressure: If you don’t have a water control valve that alerts you to too high or too low water pressure, you can check your home water pressure using a water pressure gauge. The pressure should be between 30 and 80 psi.
3. Insulate pipes.
When temperatures drop, water in the basement or attic pipes can freeze and expand, causing them to burst. If you live in a warm climate, insulate your pipes to prevent them from freezing and breaking by wrapping them in foam pipe insulation or heat tape.
4. Check for cracked pipes and roots.
Yes, this is a thing. If your sewage line is cracked, tree roots can burrow their way into the pipe and expand, causing a major blockage in your system. Have a plumber check the line with a special camera to ensure it is clear of clogs, cracks and roots. If you regularly have toilet backups and clogs, you need to have your sewage line checked as soon as possible. But it’s never a bad idea to proactively have a plumber come out to check before it becomes a major, expensive problem.
5. Winterize outdoor faucets.
Like the pipes inside your home, the outdoor faucets need to be protected against freezing. Consider installing a frost-free sillcock that extends into the warm part of the home and includes a shut-off valve. Make sure the valve is closed during the winter, and drain the faucet. If there is a hose attached to the faucet, disconnect, drain and store it for the winter to protect it against the elements.
6. Winterize your irrigation or sprinkler system.
To prevent leaks in your lawn sprinklers during cold weather months, drain your irrigation system in the fall. The sprinkler system may have a manual or automatic valve, or you may need to hire a professional to help you blow out the sprinkler system using compressed air.
Year-round, Whole-Home Leak Detection
Preventative plumbing maintenance is an excellent way to minimize your risk of leaks, but they can still occur when you least expect it. No homeowner should be without a leak detection device to alert them to leaks, changes in pressure, temperature and other elements that can lead to plumbing issues.
Look for leak detectors that learn your home’s water usage and detect abnormal patterns, which can indicate a leak or appliance failure. Some leak detection devices are installed in the main water line and will shut off the water automatically if it detects a leak, potentially saving you thousands in water remediation and property loss costs.
Compare the StreamLabs Monitor and Control to see if our leak detection devices are a good fit for your home.