Tips for Avoiding Expensive Plumbing Problems
1. Maintain your water heater
Your water heater is one of the most expensive plumbing appliances to replace. Unfortunately, a lot of times water heaters have to be repaired or replaced because of poor maintenance, faulty installation, or changes in conditions at the home.
One of the common reasons that water heaters fail is thermal expansion. Thermal expansion is when water expands as it heats up. This expansion doesn’t have anywhere to go. Most homes in Albuquerque have a check valve at the water meter, which means water doesn’t expand back to the city. With nothing to release the pressure, the water tank itself begins to swell and eventually cracks.
This can be solved with a thermal expansion tank. Older water heaters were not required to have these tanks. A thermal expansion tank takes the extra pressure created from the expanding hot water and absorbs the pressure so the tank doesn’t have to.
This is important because most water heaters have a glass liner inside of the tank that, once cracked, will likely stop working. Your expansion tank prevents your water heater from cracking or bursting and flooding.
If your water heater does not have a thermal expansion tank, you may already have some of the damage caused by expansion. If you have an expansion tank installed, make sure you hire a licensed plumber to ensure it’s installed correctly. If you have concerns about your water heater, call a plumber to assess its age and condition.
2. Install a water softener
A water softener, such as Kinetico water softeners, can reduce calcium buildup in your entire plumbing system. No homeowner wants to hear that they need to replace all the plumbing in the house. It’s easy to notice hard water when faucets calcify or shower doors get stained. It’s even easier to miss the damage that can’t be seen in the pipes that are in the walls and under the floor. These hidden problems usually are the most expensive.
By installing a water softener that removes the minerals causing the hard water build-up, you can avoid having to repair and replace fixtures, prolong the life of the plumbing you can’t see, and even prevent backup of drains in your home. You can also avoid the white crusty buildup that hard water leaves on your sinks, dishes, and shower doors.
3. Know what type of pipes you have
Some types of pipes and plumbing equipment are more prone to break than others. By identifying the type of plumbing you have, you can plan ahead and be prepared for any unexpected problems. Let’s look at the two plumbing materials that, if you have, you will eventually need to address:
The first one is Kitec plumbing. Kitec piping has been recalled due to the failure of the fittings and piping. Kitec was used in freshwater and hydronic heating, which is difficult to replace. If you have Kitec, you should start preparing to have it replaced as soon as possible.
The second type, Polybutylene, is also a recalled plastic waterline. Instead of the fittings being the primary issue, the plastic itself becomes brittle over time and breaks. When high-pressure water hits it, resulting in a water hammer, it can cause cracks throughout the system. Many homes in Rio Rancho were built with this kind of plumbing. As with Kitec plumbing, we highly suggest you start saving to get this replaced.
Learn How to Find Out if You have Kitec or Polybutylene Plumbing.
4. Check for toilet leaks
Did you know your toilet can be wasting gallons of water a day? If your toilet flapper isn’t working properly, your toilet is leaking water constantly into the bowl. The toilet flapper is the device that stops the water from running after you flush the toilet. It can break down and fall apart over time. One of our plumbers tells a story of a $400 water bill that was caused simply by a bad toilet flapper. This and a leaking irrigation system are the top two reasons for high water bills in the City of Albuquerque.
Luckily, it’s easy to Check for a Toilet Leak.
It’s really amazing how much water can be wasted by leaky, dripping fixtures. Thankfully, these repairs aren’t as expensive as some of the others. It’s the water bill that might get you. If you are concerned about leaky faucets or flappers, contact a local plumber near you today.
What’s the bottom line?
Most costly plumbing repairs can be avoided with regular maintenance. Armed with a little knowledge, you can protect yourself from major plumbing emergencies. Many homeowners don’t think to have a plumbing inspection regularly. TLC offers Preventive Maintenance that includes an annual plumbing inspection to give you peace of mind and protect your home.
Have questions? Ask a Pro today or call 505-761-9696.