Plumbing Checklist For Homeowners
Plumbing falls into the dangerous category of 'out of sight, out of mind'. This blameless ignorance can end up costing us thousands in damage and repairs, something everyone would like to avoid if possible. With a plumbing inspection checklist, avoiding these expensive disasters is more than possible. It's a given.
You'll no longer need to fear a sudden leak, burst, or stoppage as long as you keep this checklist in mind.
Kitchens are a high-traffic area in terms of people and plumbing. Water moves in and out frequently, posing a higher risk for clogs and leaks. If left to their own devices, these leaks can eat up hundreds in water bills, no matter how small they may be.
- Check Your Faucet
Incessant drip drip drip sounds coming from your kitchen sink are more than just annoying. A leaky faucet quickly racks up a hefty bill, only adding to your annoyance. Examine the components of your faucet if you notice a leak. If a washer or gasket is damaged, you may only need to replace that part. If you can't spot anything, it's in your best interest to replace the whole faucet. That one-time expense will help you save money down the road.
- Check (And Sniff) Your Disposal
Your garbage disposal should operate without leaks down below or any funny smells. Check the gaskets and drain connects of your disposal for any leaks. If you notice some of the pipes leak, you'll need to tighten the connection points or replace leaky gaskets. An unpleasant smell wafting from your disposal indicates a collection of food and debris left in your disposal. As it sits, it begins to decay and emit a stinky perfume. Mitigate this by running a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and water through your disposal. Any leftover gunk will flush away with the cleaning mixture.
- P-Trap Clogs
The P-trap of your kitchen sink is often where clogs and blockages reside. If you notice your sink is reluctant to drain or doesn't drain at all, you likely have a clog in the P-trap. You can remove the P-trap to check; when replacing it, make sure to properly tighten the connection points. Loose connection points can allow leaking, which is true for all components of your sink's plumbing.
- Check Your Dishwasher
Dishwashers should drain and fill with relative ease and speed. If you notice a long period of silence before your dishwasher begins its cycle, it's likely struggling to fill. This indicates an issue with either its water hose or the valve controlling it. If you pop open your dishwasher at the end of its cycle and see a puddle at the base, it isn't draining properly. Check for any bends or pinches in the discharge hose; if you find one, that's likely all you'll need to correct to solve the problem.
- Visual Inspection Of All Parts
Take a thorough look around your sink cabinet. Empty it out completely to check for any signs of water or discoloration in the wood. If you see moisture, make sure to check and tighten all the pipe connections in the plumbing. Run water through and watch for reoccurring leaks; if you find one after tightening and problem-solving, you might need the help of a plumber.
- Clean And Check Your Fridge
The water lines running to your fridge can experience the same problems as sink plumbing. Lines can clog or leak, presenting as either slow water and inadequate ice production or pooled water around the base. Checking the water lines can be a bit tricky with an unwieldy fridge, but the effort is worth it. You'll also want to replace your fridge's water filter. It's recommended to replace the filter twice a year, that way your ice and water will stay tasty and refreshing.
Moving on to the bathroom--perhaps the most disastrous place to have a plumbing mishap. With its frequent use, and almost all aspects of that use requiring water, plumbing problems are nearly unavoidable. Save yourself the stress and run through this checklist, catching problems before they can become catastrophes.
- Check Your Toilet
You'll notice pretty quickly if your toilet isn't flushing, but there are other issues that can be just as troublesome. Toilets that rock or leak near the base have become disconnected to their drain opening. You'll need to replace the waxy seal around the opening--a quick fix. You'll also want to ensure that your toilet is draining and running properly. Lift the tank lid and give it a flush. It should drain and refill, then stop. If it continues to trickle in water (or keep running) you have a problem. Try to fix it as soon as you can, as running toilets eat through money quickly.
- Check The Faucet(s)
The same idea applies here as it did for your kitchen. Leaks, even small ones, drain money fast. A leaky faucet may need to be fixed or entirely replaced, both of which will save you money in the long run. In your bathroom, you'll need to check your shower and tub faucets, too. Weak or irregular spray often suggests a clog or calcium build-up. Vinegar breaks apart calcium build-ups in a pinch, for both faucets and showerheads.
- Check The Tub Drain
Tub drains seem to accumulate more hair than we have on our heads. Debris and gunk weave with hair to create some impressive clogs, which may cause your tub to drain slowly or not at all. Fortunately, these clogs can be easy to remove. A needle-nosed plier works miracles for clogs close to the drain. For deeper clogs and build-ups, you may need the help of a drain cleaner or a plumber. To avoid this, make it a habit to clean your drains and remove hair before it can become a nasty problem.
- Check Caulk Beads
Cracked or separated caulk poses a threat to your floor and walls. Shower water can easily get between the cracks and gaps, leading to costly damage and mold. Do a quick visual inspection periodically, checking for signs of deterioration. If you see any, simply re-caulk the damaged area. It's a smart idea to remove and replace your bathroom caulking every couple of years.
Sewer And Septic Checklist
A burst or leak in your main sewer line or septic system can be devastating--and expensive. Spotting problems can be more of a challenge too, as lines generally run beneath the ground away from our eyes and ears.
- Check Vent Pipes
Vent pipes run to the roof, where they vent sewer gases and equalize pressure. If blocked, your home's sewer system will struggle to work properly. You'll want to check the pipes after heavy snow or ice, as wintry build-ups are often the culprits behind line blockages.
- Test Your Main Sewer Line
Check the efficiency of your main sewer line by filling each tub and sink in your house and letting them drain. If they drain without issue, your mainline is likely in good condition. Slow drainage or water that travels back up signals a line in poor condition. It may be clogged or damaged by an external factor, like tree roots. In that case, you'll need the expertise of a plumber to help you out.
- Check And Drain Septic Tanks
One of the best ways to avoid septic problems is by monitoring what gets flushed. Food and sanitary products can lead to clogs and build-ups in your septic tank or line, which can be expensive to get rid of. If you have a septic tank, make sure you're getting it drained and serviced regularly to avoid any catastrophes.
Other Places To Check
Unfortunately, plumbing issues aren't limited to. just the bathroom, kitchen, and septic system. There are a few other places you'll want to keep in mind as you complete your plumbing inspection checklist.
Check the hoses and spigots outside your home for leaks and signs of damage. Follow through as you would with inside leaks, replacing and repairing what's damaged. You'll want to check your sprinkler system as well. Before winter strikes, make sure your sprinkler system has been blown or drained of all water. As the weather warms up, check that each sprinkler head is working correctly and not dripping.
- Washing Machine
The hoses running to and from your washing machine can become loose over time. They may start to bulge, signaling that they're at the end of their rope. Keep an eye on these water hoses to ensure they don't split and burst when your back's turned.
- Water Heater
Check your water heater for signs of leaks or damage. You'll also want to drain and clean it periodically. This removes sediment buildup at the bottom, helping it become more efficient. If your water heater is leaking, you'll likely notice pooling water around the base.