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5 Tips for Avoiding a Plumbing Disaster


Unfortunately, plumbing disasters often occur unannounced and at the worst time possible—when you are not home or away for your long-overdue vacation. Since summer is the time when we try to get out of the house as much as possible, it’s worth taking some preventive measures to protect yourself from plumbing mishaps. As your local Maryland plumber, we are happy to offer a few tips to help you leave for your summer vacation with a peace of mind.

Regularly Check for Leaks

Not all plumbing disasters come out of nowhere—a leak is often a precursor. According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, nearly half of all water damage related claims result from faulty water pipes, causing on average $4,300 in damage. Because pipes are for the most part behind walls, many times leaks are difficult to detect. Do your best by inspecting all visible piping and plumbing fixtures to make sure everything is intact and properly sealed. Look for the following warning signs:

  • Rust or corrosion
  • Moisture on the walls, floor or other surfaces
  • Increased water bill

You can also turn on your upstairs tub and/or faucet, then go downstairs and listen for tapping sounds. If you hear tapping or notice a soft spot on your ceiling, you’ve got a leak. After you turn the water off, listen for banging pipes (water hammer)—an indicator of water pressure issues.

Don’t Ignore Ongoing Issues

Another tip is not to ignore ongoing plumbing issues, such as low/high water pressure or a dripping faucet. They might be manageable right now, but one of your pipes could burst any minute if the pressure isn’t right. Call your Maryland plumber right away with any plumbing problems. Otherwise, you risk leaving for a vacation with a gurgling toilet and coming back to a sewer backup.

Install a Backflow Prevention Device

If your home’s sewer line is connected to the municipal sewer system, you are at risk of sewer backups. This is a particularly relevant issue for homes located below street level or homes with older piping. If you don’t already have one, installing a backflow prevention device can help prevent the sewage from entering your home. This device has a flap that closes as it detects the backflow and directs it back where it’s supposed to go. Any experienced Maryland plumber is familiar with backflow protection and can install such a device on your plumbing system. Since minor digging is involved, this is also a good chance to assess the condition of your pipes.

Consider a Leak Detection System

If you are not at home for extended periods of time, the risk of a plumbing disaster increases, because you are not there to catch the warning signs. If this is the case, it may make sense to install a whole-home leak detection system. Such a system will detect unnatural water flow and shut of water automatically, saving you from major damage. Any home can benefit from this smart device, especially vacation properties that may sit unused for extended periods of time.

Maintain Your Drains

Keeping your drains clean and free of foreign objects. Make sure your sink, shower and bathtub drains have a drain stopper to catch any debris. Never pour oil or grease down your kitchen sink drain, as it will harden and stick to the inside of the pipe. For a small amount of oil, wipe it down with a paper towel. For large amounts, pour grease in a container and discard as trash.

Another tip is to be careful with what you flush down the toilet. Even if the packaging of an item says it’s safe for flushing, throw it in a trash can whenever possible. A clogged toilet drain is a nasty plumbing disaster, and also one you can easily prevent. Check out our post on preventing clogged drains for more tips.

If you need help implementing any of the above preventive measures, give Michael Runk Plumbing and Heating a call. We’ll be happy to assist you in maintaining your plumbing system disaster-free.

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