Plumbing emergencies happen, and they suck. A sudden burst pipe or a backed-up sewage system can cause a lot of stress, damage, and financial strain. You can’t always control whether a plumbing emergency is going to occur, but you can reduce the likelihood.  Here are some ways you can help prevent plumbing emergencies through simple at-home maintenance and preparedness tips.

Fix Leaks as Soon as They Happen

Small leaks can lead to big damages later if not fixed early on. Those seemingly harmless leaks will lead to major water damage and mold growth, both of which can be very expensive to get dealt with. Head off the problem before it becomes a major issue and get that leak fixed as soon as you notice it.

Get to Know Your Water Shutoff Valves

Make sure you know where your water shutoff valves are and how to use them—especially the main shutoff for all of the water in your home. If a pipe suddenly bursts, knowing how to shut off the water and being able to do so quickly will save you a ton of water damage.

Usually, the main water shutoff is located in the mechanical room close to the water meter. Sometimes you require a screwdriver or other tool to access the valve. If this is the case, make sure you always keep the tool handy in case of an emergency so you can shut off the water as quickly as possible.

Don’t DIY It

Just don’t. With the exception of very minor issues, we do not recommend that you attempt to do any plumbing repairs on your own. Even if you temporarily fix your immediate problem, you could easily be making things worse for yourself in the future. Unskilled DIY repairs often lead to bigger issues with plumbing, so get it done right the first time by a professional and save yourself the headache (and the expense) later on.

Contact Lone Star Plumbing for professional service you can rely on.

Be Mindful of What Goes Down the Drain

Always be aware of what’s washing down your pipes and do not allow grease or fat, food bits, or other solids to go down the drain. If you are not sure how else to dispose of fat leftover from cooking, pour it into a can or jar and let it cool. Once it cools and solidifies, you can toss the whole thing in the garbage.

Even if you have a garbage disposal, you still need to be careful of what you put in there. Disposals are really just made for small excess bits of food stuck to dishes and should not be used to get rid of larger food scraps like chicken bones, melon rinds, or eggshells.

Likewise, be careful what you flush down the toilet. Don’t flush food scraps, menstrual products, makeup-remover wipes, or anything other than toilet paper and bodily waste. This helps prevent sewage backup, which is not fun to have to deal with—believe us!

Take Care of Your Pipes

Consider installing a water softener. Water softeners work to decrease chemicals and minerals in water, which reduces stress on pipes. This is a good idea if you have hard water in your household. In addition to straining your pipes, hard water can negatively impact the effectiveness of your laundry, dishwasher, and even your shampoo!

Maintenance is key to preventing leaks and burst pipes. Have a professional inspect your pipes regularly.

Don’t hang anything from your pipes. It’s surprisingly common for folks to hang laundry from pipes—probably because laundry is often located in the basement near exposed pipes—but this can harm pipes.

Pay Attention to Changes

A sudden drop in water pressure or unexplained spike in your water bill often indicate a problem with your plumbing. If you notice a sudden unaccounted-for change, call in a plumber to inspect the situation and find out what’s going on. This could save you a lot of money on repair bills in the long run.

Don’t Ignore Warning Signs

If your pipes make banging noises, your drains gurgle, or your hot water tank starts making a popping or knocking sound, don’t just ignore it. These are all signs that indicate problems which could get much worse later if not dealt with. Call in a professional plumber to check things out and fix minor problems before they become emergencies.

We hope you don’t have any plumbing emergencies anytime soon, but if you do, we’re here to help! Call Lone Star for emergencies, regular maintenance, and all your plumbing needs.

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