The Do’s and Don’ts of Preventing Plumbing Nightmares

December 1, 2023

Plumbing issues can quickly turn into nightmares if not handled properly. At Kelleher HVAC, we understand the importance of a smoothly functioning plumbing system. With over 55 years of serving the Richmond, VA area, we’ve seen our fair share of common plumbing problems. In this blog post, we’ll share some essential do’s and don’ts to help you prevent plumbing nightmares, from dealing with clogged drains to knowing when to call a plumber.

Our first word of advice is to know where your main water cut offs are. There is usually one within the house, usually located in a crawl area, utility room or basement. The easiest one to get to is usually in the yard at your water meter and you can buy a water meter wrench inexpensively at the hardware or on Amazon. There are also valves for washer hook ups and for each sink or tub throughout your home.

Worried young woman calling plumber while water is leaking from the ceiling that she is catching in a bucket

Do: Regularly Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal is a workhorse in your kitchen, but it can easily become a source of plumbing issues if not properly maintained. To keep it in top shape, run cold water while using it, and avoid disposing of items like bones, grease, or fibrous vegetables. Periodically, grind some ice cubes and citrus peels to clean and refresh the disposal.

Don’t: Force Non-Food Items Down the Disposal

It’s tempting to use your disposal as a catch-all for waste, but it’s not designed to handle non-food items. Items like bottle caps, utensils, kitty litter, feminine hygiene products or plastic can damage the disposal and lead to costly repairs.

Man wearing green rubber gloves holds a plunger in his clogged kitchen sink

Do: Address Clogged Drains Promptly

Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing issues homeowners face. Act promptly when you notice slow-draining sinks or water pooling around your feet while showering. Use a plunger or a drain snake to clear minor clogs. For more stubborn blockages, consider using a natural drain cleaner or calling a professional.

Don’t: Rely Exclusively on Chemical Drain Cleaners

While chemical drain cleaners can be effective, they also contain harsh chemicals that can corrode pipes over time. It’s best to use them sparingly and opt for more eco-friendly alternatives or professional assistance when possible.

Do: Insulate Pipes in Cold Weather

Richmond, VA, experiences its fair share of cold weather during the winter months. To prevent frozen pipes, insulate them in areas where they are exposed to the cold, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Additionally, let a trickle of water run through faucets during extremely cold nights to keep water flowing. Also, open cabinets under plumbing that is on the outside walls of your home to let warm air in and keep pipes thawed out. 

Don’t: Neglect Outdoor Plumbing Fixtures

Outdoor faucets and hoses are susceptible to freezing during winter. Disconnect hoses, drain outdoor faucets, and cover them with insulating materials to protect them from the cold. Installing frost free hose bibs is also something Kelleher can do for you. 

Frozen pipes and spigot with icicles

Do: Monitor Your Water Bill

A sudden, unexplained increase in your water bill could be a sign of a hidden plumbing issue. Keep an eye on your water usage and if you notice a spike, investigate the cause promptly.

Don’t: Delay Repairs

If you suspect a plumbing issue, don’t put off repairs. Even a minor leak can lead to significant water damage and mold growth over time.

Do: Know When to Call a Plumber

Certain plumbing issues are best left to the experts. If you’re facing a major leak, burst pipes, sewer line problems, or issues with your water heater, it’s crucial to call a professional plumber right away. Trying to tackle complex plumbing problems on your own can exacerbate the issue and potentially lead to extensive water damage.

Don’t: Ignore Warning Signs

If you notice any signs of plumbing issues, such as unusual noises, low water pressure, high water bills, or water stains, don’t ignore them. Addressing these early can prevent more significant problems down the line.

Man Looking At Sink Pipe Leakage needs to call a professional plumberPreventing plumbing nightmares requires a proactive approach and a bit of know-how. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can maintain a smoothly functioning plumbing system and avoid costly repairs. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt, it’s always best to call a professional plumber. At Kelleher Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re here to assist you with all your plumbing needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and experience the peace of mind that comes with expert plumbing services.