How to Prevent Flood Damage, Leaks and Clogs

Technician working on sink pipe

You rely on your home’s plumbing system to support daily chores and plumbing fixtures, but potential problems can hide everywhere. Luckily, you can prevent clogs, leaky pipes and water damage with a little routine care. Here’s the way to keep your plumbing in check and your stress levels low.

Learn to Recognize and Stop Leaking

Most of your home system of plumbing pipes and fixtures is hidden, so water issues often go unnoticed until they cause major problems. Regularly checking for leaks can help you spot trouble before it gets worse. Here’s what to do:

  • Inspect under the sink for signs of damp spots, wood rot or mildew.
  • Find slow leaks in your toilet by adding a few drops of coloring to the tank. If the color shows up in the bowl after 30 minutes without flushing, you have a leak.
  • Inspect around and behind your kitchen appliances, including the dishwasher or washing machine, for signs of water damage or leaks.
  • Have a professional perform a water meter test.
    • To start, shut off all water in your home via the home’s water main.
    • Then, head outside to read the water meter. Check it again after two hours, and do your best not to use any water before the test is done.
    • If the reading is different, it means there’s a leak somewhere.

Employ Mesh Strainers

A simple way to prevent clogging is to place drain strainers over your kitchen sinks and bath drains. They collect hair, pieces of soap, crusty toothpaste and other debris as water flows down the drain. Regularly clean these strainers to keep your drains running smoothly.

Be Aware of What Not to Flush

Toilets are designed to dispose of human waste and toilet paper. Here’s what you should never flush:

  • Wet wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Soft cotton
  • Sanitary products
  • Baby diapers
  • Floss
  • Out-of-date medications

Know What Not to Rinse

Many kitchen sinks may be fitted with a garbage disposal, but certain food items still should go in the trash or compost heapp, not rinsed down the drain, including:

  • Grease, oil and cooking fat
  • Fibrous foods like corn and celery stalks
  • Sticky foods like boiled rice or coffee grounds
  • Tough pieces of food like gristle and bones
  • Anything that isn’t edible. Silverware and other small items can fall into the disposal and cause damage when you turn it on.

Install a Sump Pump

Installing a sump pump helps prevent flooding, especially in climates prone to lots of rain. This device extracts water that accumulates in something called the sump basin, usually found in the basement, and pumps it out away from the house. For homes that already have a sump pump, check it every now and then by adding some water into the pit. If the pump activates and the pit drains, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t work properly, you have time to call a professional to service the pump before the next big storm.

Know Where the Main Shutoff Valve Is Located

Being familiar with your plumbing system means knowing the location of your main water shutoff valve. This valve controls water entering your home, so knowing where it is means you can turn it off quickly in a plumbing emergency. It’s also wise to shut off this valve before leaving town for an extended period. Common locations for the main shutoff valve include the basement, near the water heater, in a utility closet or outside the home buried underground.

Protect Your Pipes from Freezing

In climates with cold winters, protecting the plumbing pipes is vital if you want to prevent freezing and bursting. Here is what you can do:

  • Wrap the pipes in insulation in unheated areas like the basement, garage or attic using insulating foam or heating tape.
  • Unhook garden hoses from outdoor faucets throughout the winter to keep ice from forming inside the pipes.
  • Keep all cabinets with plumbing pipes open during cold spells to keep warm air circulating around the pipes.

Install a Backflow Valve

Experienced plumbers often suggest that homeowners set up a backflow valve in the basement floor drain to prevent sewage from flowing back into their homes during heavy rainfall. Local expert plumbers can install this effective defense against sewage flowing back into the house.

Install Flood Alarms

Just as smoke alarms help improve fire safety, flood alarms can help avoid water damage. These wired or battery-operated devices sense pooling water at the earliest stages of flooding or leaks, setting off an alarm to alert you. For enhanced protection, integrate smart flood alarms into your home security system. This alerts you on your phone after water is detected, enabling you to address leaks before they cause significant damage.

Trust Dependable Local Plumbers for Support

While you can take these and other preventive steps on your own to help prevent clogs, leaks and flooding, it’s never a bad idea to have Expert local plumbers to keep things flowing smoothly. That’s where Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing excels. We are a network of plumbers supporting U.S. homeowners from coast to coast with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

If you’re not completely happy with our services up to a year later, we will do whatever it takes to make it right. This commitment shows how we ensure a complete sense of comfort in your life. For Expert plumbing service that exceeds expectations, please contact us today.