Every couple of years protects your pipes/appliances from unnecessary damage
Like most home maintenance projects, being proactive is key to saving money and preserving your systems. Especially because, left unchecked, your pipes and plumbing appliances can corrode or get damaged over time, resulting in costly repairs and nightmare scenarios (such as burst pipes or serious flooding in your home).
The question, though, is how often do you need plumbing maintenance? The answer, while pretty standard, may fluctuate depending on your system’s age—or even how many trees surround your home. Find the right answer for your living space in this informational guide.
How Often Should You Schedule Plumbing Maintenance?
A good general guideline for homeowners is once every two years for a newer plumbing system. If you live in an older home or have historically required frequent tuneups or fixes throughout the year, an annual plumbing maintenance schedule may be best.
This may surprise you, but homes with lots of mature trees surrounding them should probably do more frequent plumbing maintenance, as tree roots are a huge cause of cracked or damaged sewer lines and water main lines. Once a year is probably best if this is the case for your home.
Why Plumbing Maintenance Is Important
Like any system in your home, your pipes, as well as sinks, toilets, water heater, and other equipment, suffer wear and tear over time. Having your plumbing inspected or having a plumbing repair expert do annual or biannual maintenance helps preserve your system.
Regular plumbing maintenance also helps prevent large problems in your water line or sewer line from developing. For example, repairing the main sewer line due to blockage or damage from tree roots could cost up to $6,300. (This figure doesn’t even include potentially thousands more you’ll pay to tear up and replace your driveway or lay new sod after. Yikes!)
Cleaning or descaling the main sewer line, on the other hand, only costs between $175 and $475.
Signs You Need Plumbing Maintenance
If you haven’t had a regular plumbing inspection to date, here are some signs that it’s time to call in a professional.
Signs that you probably need plumbing work include:
Gurgling sounds in your drain
Water pressure that’s too high or too low
Water takes a long time to get hot (or doesn’t get hot at all)
Appliances don’t work or move slowly (i.e., your dishwasher takes several hours longer than intended)
Signs that you need emergency plumbing work include:
No water comes out of sinks
A burst or leaking pipe
A sagging ceiling
Odors coming from the garbage disposal
If you’re adding new appliances, such as a dishwasher or sink, you may also want to seek a pro’s help. More plumbers offer service agreements now, so if you signed one, read it over to see if it covers the signs you’ve noticed.
What Does a Plumbing Maintenance Check Include?
Here’s what you can expect a plumbing professional to do during your annual or biannual maintenance.
Check Water Pressure
Water pressure is one of the keys to preserving your plumbing system. (FYI: ideal water pressure is between 45 and 65 PSI for most homes.)
High water pressure may result from thermal expansion (heat buildup) in pipes. This causes excess stress on your pipes and could lead to leaks, corrosion, or damage.
Low water pressure may result from pinhole leaks (in general, keeping an eye out for leaks is one of the best plumbing maintenance tips you can adopt), tree roots blocking the main water line, clogged pipes, calcium buildup from hard water, or issues caused by your water supplier.
Plumbing maintenance should include checking the water shutoff valves and supply lines below your sink. A pro should also check faucets to make sure they’re working properly and check to see if moisture is building up inside or under the appliance.
There are so many plumbing terms to keep up on—and many of them relate to appliances located in your bathroom(s). A professional will check on your bathroom’s plumbing system, including your toilets, sinks, and showers.
They should also be able to tell if your toilet wastes water (due to it running constantly or minor leaks). A toilet that slowly leaks water wastes as much as 30 gallons of water per day.
A water heater should be flushed and drained annually, and some plumbing maintenance agreements include this as part of their work. Draining and flushing help remove sediment buildup that causes corrosion and uneven heating inside this appliance.
Periodically, city or town regulations change plumbing codes, which could affect your water heater. A professional will be up to date on these regulations and make any necessary fixes.