The main reason that keeping up with a proper plumbing maintenance schedule is to keep the costs for repairs down as much as possible.

Truth is - plumbing problems do not go away by themselves, in fact they get worse and worse over time. The longer a plumbing issue is left unattended - the higher the cost to repair it usually is.

So, we strongly recommend to keep up with regular maintenance of your home's plumbing systems.

Maintenance Tasks For Garbage Disposals

In general, most of us don't think about "cleaning" our garbage disposal units. But, like any other appliance, if they are maintained on a regular basis they will tend to last longer and work better.

  1. Turn off the disposal unit.
  2. Remove any large items that may have fallen into the garbage disposal preferrably using long handled tongs.
  3. Turn the unit back on.
  4. Turn on your cold water faucet and then turn on your garbage disposal. While that water is running throw down about a cup of ice cubes (or frozen cubes of white vinegar). Then, while the disposal is still running, pour down one cup of rock salt. This combination helps to scrub away any debris that has gotten stuck and it also helps to sharpen the blades of the disposal unit.
  5. The rubber flaps that you see as you stare down into your drain where your garbage disposal sits also needs a little cleaning every now and then. The best way to do this is to use a brush (even a toothbrush will help) along with your favorite all purpose cleaner or white vinegar and baking soda.
  6. Repeat this process every 2 weeks.

Maintenance Of Toilets

Most (if not all) of us clean our toilets on a regular basis - but is that all there is to properly maintain a toilet?

  1. Thoroughly cleaning your toilets at least once a week (including scrubbing under the rim of the toilet bowl) will help to keep your toilet working in good condition for longer.
  2. Running your fingers along the base of the toilet bowl and undernearth the toilet tank to check for leaks after cleaning will help to prevent a surprise problem.
  3. Place a few drops of food coloring in your toilet's tank. Wait 30 minutes and then come back. If you see food coloring in your toilet bowl - you have a leak somewhere.
  4. Replacing components such as the toilet float (which are inexpensive) when they begin to give you problems can help to prevent bigger problems down the road.
  5. Attending to clogs immediately is also a very important aspect of proper toilet maintenance.

Maintenance Of Washing Machines

Following these maintenance tips will help to keep your washing machine running efficiently longer.

  1. Never stuff your washing machine - in other words do not overload it. If you have something bulky to wash like a comforter don't put anything else in there with it.
  2. Use the right kind of detergent and don't use too much detergent. All this does is leave residue in the machine and on your clothes.
  3. Between washes keep the lid open to help prevent musty odors and mildew. On front loading machines, wipe down the rubber seal around the door before every wash or after every wash.
  4. Clean the lint filter. Yes, there's a lint filter in your washing machine, not just your dryer. The location will differ between manufacturers and models so check the paperwork that came with your machine or find the information online.
  5. Every 3 - 5 years, check the water hoses in the back of your washing machine. If you notice any bulging, cracks, fraying, etc., replace them to help prevent any water damage from a malfunctioning hose.
  6. Once a month clean your washing machine using a commercial product like Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner or a combination of distilled white vinegar and baking soda.

Maintenance Of Dishwashers

There are many different brands and models of dishwashers and you can certainly look up what the manufacturer of your particular dishwasher recommends as proper maintenance. But generally speaking, here are the steps for the proper maintenance of dishwashers.

  1. If your dishwasher has a filter - remove it and clean it. Clear out any debris that may have gotten trapped in and around the filter cartridge.
  2. Wipe down the diswasher door and seals with soapy water and/or distilled white vinegar.
  3. Wipe down the spray arm with soapy water and/or distilled white vinegar.
  4. Place a cup of distilled white vinegar in a cup and place that cup sitting up in the upper rack. Run the dishwasher through a hot water cycle.
  5. Sprinkle one cup of baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher and run another (shorter) hot water cycle.
  6. Repeat this cleaning once a month.

Maintenance Of Hot Water Heaters

Hot water heaters are one of those appliances we don't think much about until it stops working. Keeping it well maintained can help to prevent any problems and extend the life of your unit.

  1. Check the pressure relief valve by positioning a bucket under the discharge pipe of your tank and gently begin lifting the pressure relief valve. Water should be released.
  2. Flush the water heater once a year. Sediment naturally accumulates in any body of water that sits in one place for a long time. If the sediment hardens it can cause problems in your water heater which in turn could decrease the lifespan of your unit.
  3. Check your water heater's temperature that the dial reads 120 degrees F. If the temperature is higher this can increase the amount of sediment buildup in the unit.

Maintenance Of Outdoor Plumbing

Damage to outdoor pipes and faucets can be costly to repair so properly maintaining them could save you a good amount of money.

  1. Plant trees that are considered safe at least 10 feet away from any sewer lines - if possible. This isn't a foolproof prevention but it will take the tree roots much longer to get to your pipes if they are further away to begin with. Read more here.
  2. If you suspect you may have tree roots - request a sewer camera inspection.
  3. Insulate faucets and pipes that are exposed to the outdoors to help keep them from freezing and possibly bursting. Read more here.

Maintenance Of Septic Tanks

Problems with a septic tank can lead to some very unpleasant situations so proper maintenance of these is very important.

  1. We recommend that if your household is 4 people or less, then have your septic tank inspected every 4 years. If your household is 5 people or more then you should have your tank inspected every 2 years. This schedule will ensure that you avoid any major sewage backups.
  2. When it comes to actually pumping out your septic tank, the schedule should be every 3 to 5 years. Again, it depends on how much it's used which of course depends on the number of people in the household.
  3. The 3 characteristics you should look for in septic safe toilet paper is biodegradable, recycled and/or septic safe. Any one of these traits are indications that the toilet paper product is safe to use in septic systems.

If you have any questions about your plumbing maintenance or are having problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.