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New HomeownersSo, you are the proud new owner of a Sacramento area home. Congratulations! While we welcome you into our beautiful community, we would like to share with you some critical insights about how you can take care of your new home's plumbing.

Plumbing Tips For Homeowners

  • Regularly check your home's plumbing system. Hopefully, you have a head start on the ongoing process of home plumbing maintenance from the plumbing inspection you performed before you purchased your home. In any case, you should inspect your home's sinks, pipes, toilets, exterior hose bibs, and water heater for signs of corrosion, damage, and leaks at least once a season. During your check, run faucets, flush toilets, and see how quickly they drain or refill. Also, make sure the water heater does not have any signs of corrosion in the storage tank. If the sinks drain slowly or the heater puts out discolored water when drained, then you may have an issue that requires immediate attention.

  • Use a drain snake instead of chemical drain products. For most clogged drains, there is a physical obstruction consisting of thick masses of hair and soap that can be grabbed and pulled out with a drain snake. The use of a drain snake removes the source of the clog without causing unnecessary corrosion to the pipes, unlike certain chemical drain products. This is especially true of homes with plastic plumbing pipes. Thankfully, drain snakes are a fairly common plumbing tool and should be readily available at your local home improvement store. 

  • Dispose of grease and cooking oil properly. It is tempting to just pour that wasted cooking grease or oil down the drain and be done with it, but you really should avoid pouring grease down your sink, especially with hot or warm water. Hot cooking oil or grease will flow partway down your home's pipes, then solidify later down the line, forming an obstruction where you are less likely to be able to reach it.

    Instead, you should pour your excess cooking oil and grease into a disposable container. As a matter of fact, the City of Sacramento website recommends that you dispose of old cooking oil into "an empty jar or coffee can… if the fats, oils and grease will not solidify, pour the liquids into a jar and the jar to the City of Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station at 8491 Fruitridge Road or to the Sacramento County North Area Recovery Station at 4450 Roseville Road for proper disposal."

  • Take proper care of your garbage disposal. There is a lot of conflicting advice about how to care for your garbage disposal unit. For example, the website recommends that you avoid pouring water while the disposal is running, but almost every other advice site out there will tell you to run cold water while using your disposal. Truthfully, you should be running cool water before, during, and after the use of the disposal to prevent issues from overheating. Some other common disposal tips include:

    • Cleaning your disposal with ice cubes once in a while. Although they may not actually sharpen your disposal's blades as some advice sites say they will, it will remove chunks of food debris from the blades to make them operate more efficiently.

    • Avoid putting hard objects down the disposal, such as bones, silverware, your hands, and trash. Placing items that are too solid into the disposal can cause it to jam, and damage the blades.

    • Avoid putting fibrous materials and starchy food down the disposal. Banana peels, potatoes, and other fibrous or starchy foods can become a soft, water-absorbent paste-like material that clogs the disposal and the drain.

    • Run your disposal regularly. If left sitting too long, a garbage disposal can eventually begin to rust. Operate your disposal from time to time to prevent buildup of rust and other deposits. 

  • Insulate and maintain your hot water pipes. By insulating your hot water pipes, you can prevent the loss of temperature in the water flowing from your heater to your water fixtures, resulting in less time spent on waiting for hot water to flow. This saves you time (and money, if you are on the new metered water system in Sacramento) since the water in the pipes will be warmer than it would be without the insulation.

  • Regulate your water heater's temperature. Make sure the temperature is not too high. Ideally, your water heater should be set to no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order to prevent scalding when someone uses the hot water. Plus, keeping your water heater set to this temperature or less can save on monthly electric bills.

  • Use drain strainers/covers. Using mesh drain covers in your sinks and showers can keep loose debris and hair from flowing into your home's pipes, preventing clogs from forming in the first place and keeping your drains operating smoothly. This is perhaps one of the most effective ways in which you can prevent common plumbing headaches from striking your home.

  • If you are on a metered water system, keep an eye on your water usage bill. If you see a sharp, sudden increase in water usage but have not changed your usage habits, or if the bill remains high despite you cutting down water use, it may be a sign that you have a severe leak in your home that needs to be repaired. If you cannot find the source of the leak, it could be occurring in an area where you cannot see it, such as underneath your home's foundation. While not all Sacramento homes are on the new meter system yet, the City of Sacramento is in the process of installing these new meters.

With a little care and preventative maintenance, your Sacramento home can be the perfect retreat from the hassles of your busy day. If you need any more advice about how to care for your home's plumbing system, or need expert help to locate and fix your plumbing issues, do not wait until it is too late and water begins flooding your home. Call your trusted Sacramento area experts today for all of your service needs.

If your home has a serious leak in a hard-to-reach area, such as under your foundation, we may be able to effect repairs without having to break your home with loud, heavy construction equipment thanks to our trenchless pipe repair technologies.

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Topics: Plumbing in Sacramento, Home Plumbing, Drain Cleaning and Repair, New Homeowners