What is plumbing maintenance?

Toilet surrounded by plumbing tools.

Know Your Plumbing Maintenance Needs

Your plumbing is one of the most essential parts of your home. From water coming in to sewage and wastewater going out, plumbing is something we have come to expect and need. With something so important to our daily lives, like our cars, air conditioning, heating, and plumbing, maintenance should be a priority. 

However, while your car, air conditioning, and heating maintenance needs are pretty well established, just what is plumbing maintenance? And just why is plumbing maintenance so important? That’s because, as time goes by, the plumbing in your home will experience issues such as clogs and begin to rust. Plumbing maintenance will ensure that your plumbing pipes continue to work properly, bringing water into your home and draining it out as necessary. 

Plumbing Maintenance Checklist

Every homeowner should have a plumbing maintenance checklist they follow on a regular basis – some of it weekly, some of it monthly. After all, the plumbing system makes up 15% of your home’s value. With that in mind, consider the following plumbing maintenance tips as protection for your investment. 

Daily Plumbing Maintenance Steps:

  • Clear clogs as soon as they happen
  • Be careful what goes down the drains
  • After using the garbage disposal, run cold water for 15 seconds

Weekly Plumbing Maintenance Steps: 

  • Check under all sinks for signs of leaks
  • Check all drains and make sure they are draining 
  • Clean the washing machine lint trap

Seasonal Plumbing Maintenance Steps: 

  • Before the first cold spell, disconnect all outside water hoses and wrap pipes
  • Before summer arrives, check the exterior plumbing for leaks, taking note of any issues with sprinkler heads

Yearly Plumbing Maintenance Steps: 

  • Have a professional plumber inspect the entire house for any plumbing issues you may not have noticed. They can provide plumbing maintenance and repairs for things that are beyond your abilities with their special plumbing maintenance tools.

What do you use to clean plumbing pipes?

Every drain in your home is connected to the sewer lines, aka lateral lines. Those lines connect to a main sewer line, and from there, off to the treatment plant your wastewater goes. Sometimes, a sewer line will begin to smell, become slow draining, or exhibit odd noises. As a part of your homeowner plumbing maintenance, you can do one of the following to keep them running clean and clear. This will also work if you notice your drain is moving a little too slow: 

1. Routine Plumbing Maintenance – Clean the Drain Lines Often

There are enzyme cleaners you can buy at local big box home improvement stores. Several types are available for cleaning out drain lines. Follow the label’s instructions and use them only in large drains, like your basement drain. This type of cleaner is slow acting, so patience is needed as you wait for it to do its thing. 

2. Get a Plumber Snake

Just like a basic household plunger and toilet plunger, it is a good idea for every home to have a plumber snake on hand. These are ideal for any minor clogs the plunger can’t clear with just a little bit of effort. If you can’t get a clog cleared with the snake, call a professional plumber.

3. Baking Soda and Vinegar

An all-natural drain cleaning solution! This will degrease your drain and clear almost anything else that is causing a slow drain. From cooking grease to toothpaste and bath soap, nothing is more natural than baking soda mixed with vinegar, which is usually on hand in most homes. Pour in half a cup of baking soda, follow with a half cup of vinegar, and let it sit for 15 minutes. After that, flush with hot water for 15 minutes. 

4. Flush The Drain Lines

If you don’t have a clog, flush lines with water to keep them from clogging. Pour a little bit of drain cleaner in the drain or the toilet, and then flush with water. If you already have a clog, avoid drain cleaners and try the baking soda with vinegar method first. 

5. Preventative Drain Cleaning

Don’t wait for a clogged drain or a catastrophe. Make this a step you do for your monthly plumbing maintenance and pour baking soda in all your drains every 30 days. Not only will it scour the pipe walls, but it will freshen the drain as well. 

How do you maintain drain pipes?

The drains in your home filter and flush away debris, water, and waste. From bathing products to food particles, and with that activity, they often get clogged up. With a little common sense, you can maintain those drains with these steps for drain plumbing maintenance: 

  • Dispose common waste in other manners besides pouring them down the drain. Pour up cooking grease into a coffee can then toss the can in the trash. Throw your used coffee grounds in the garbage or start a mulch pile. Put a drain screen over the shower drain and all the sink drains too. Wipe the bathroom sink of any hair after brushing and styling your hair. 
  • Run hot water in the kitchen drains after cooking and cleaning. The hot water will help anything in the drain wash on down. 
  • Add a cup of baking soda in the kitchen drain to absorb odors and clean the pipe interiors. 
  • Pour a cup of vinegar in the drain as an acetic acid organic solvent that will remove debris and food buildup in the pipes. Let it sit for 30 minutes then run hot water for 15 minutes. Do the same in the bathtub and bathroom sinks.
  • Be careful in using store-bought cleaners, too much of some ingredients can be dangerous to the pipes, like lye. Follow instructions and wear eye protection. 

How do I clear a main line clog?

Plumbing issues aren’t easy to deal with. In fact, they’re often tricky, which is why you want to have routine plumbing maintenance – keep these things from happening! A clogged main drain line is a big problem, but you may be able to side-step calling a plumber with these tips: 

  • A Basic Clog:

The is a common and fixable clog that usually occurs near a plumbing fixture like the kitchen sink, shower, or toilet. Often you can purchase a chemical drain cleaner at the store if the plunger method doesn’t work or use the baking powder and vinegar method described above. 

  • A Stubborn Clog:

A clog is usually stubborn because you can’t reach it, or it started out small and got bigger. This requires a little more power to clear out than a basic clog, like a plumber’s snake. If this method doesn’t work, you need to call a professional plumber. 

  • For Sewer Line Cleaning: 

This can be a serious matter and if none of the steps we’ve listed have done anything, you need to call your plumber. Problems with the sewer line are major – it could be broken or have tree roots bursting through. In any case, this isn’t meant for a homeowner with DIY tendencies. 

Woman fixing a leaking pipe.

How do you clean toilet plumbing?

You should purchase a toilet plunger – these are different from household plungers and you never use a toilet plunger in the sink because of bacteria. For a slow flushing toilet, use a cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar with a half-gallon of hot water. Pour it into the toilet bowl and let it sit overnight. Then flush the toilet and if the obstruction is gone, congratulations. If not, call your plumber. Need help? Reach out to the Wicked Plumbing team by calling at (508) 272-1196.