Before using your garbage disposal, Run cold water, turn disposal on, then add a small amount of waste at a time. When you are finished, run the water for 10 seconds to help flush the debris down the drain.
If you have a main water shut off, turn your water off before leaving for the weekend or vacation. If you don't have one, get one installed.
Brand name products mean a lot when buying plumbing fixtures. The cheapest product almost always means the poorest performance.
Drain your water heater once a year to flush out lime and sediment deposits. It will extend the life of your heater.
Chemical drain cleaners rarely work. In order to sell them to the general public, they must be diluted. If a drain is slow, they may help, but if the drain is not draining at all, then you wasted your money.
A pressure tank is important to your well system. They extend the life of your pump. You can check yours by having someone turn on the water, while you listen for a distinct click sound. If the tank is bad, the click will take place as soon as the water is turned on. Otherwise, it should take 30 seconds or longer to hear the switch click.
Your sewer bill is based on your water usage. In Anderson, it is around 2.5 times your water bill. If you have a running toilet, dripping faucet or a leak on a water line, ignoring it cost far more than a plumber's repair bill in most cases.
If you have copper water lines and you find yourself having them repaired once a year or more, it's time to replace them. It's not as costly as many people think and new material is available that will outlast any copper manufactured today.
Did you know plumbers are the experts on natural gas lines? Yes. Gas lines fall under the plumbing code and should be repaired, replaced,modified or installed by licensed plumbers. Safety is paramount when working with natural gas.
Most water heaters are manufactured outside the United States. NAFTA did not only affect the auto industry. Many manufacturing jobs moved outside the U.S. including most water heater manufacturers. We have witnessed the decline in quality of many national brands. Ask me what brand I recommend, whether you buy it from me or simply want me to install it for you. More importantly, do you research. It may surprise you.
Have you ever tried to use a shut off valve under your sink only to find that it is stuck and won't move? These are called gate valves. My first recommendation would be to replace these gate valves with ball valves. They look similar but are completely different. While the gate valve has a series of threads that screw down to push a rubber bib washer onto a seat to stop the flow, the ball valve literally has a ball with a hole through the center of it. When the hole is lined up with the pipe, the water flows through. Turning the valve 90 degrees will cause the hole to go out of line and the sides of the ball block the flow of water. This is a much more efficient method and I would highly recommend you replace old gate valves with ball valves as you need to. Even 1 room or 1 sink at a time. If it is not too late for your existing gate valve style shut offs, here is a trick that often prevents them from seizing up. When you turn the valve on, turn it all the way on until the valve stops. Then back the valve off 1/4 of a turn. Since it may be 10 or 20 years before you use the valve again, this will prevent the stem from corroding to the body of the valve. Many times the gate valves will leak at the stems when you start using them. Often this can be fixed simply by tightening the nut just below the handle slightly.
Let's talk about something that may be uncomfortable for some. Feminine products, towelettes and baby wipes. While some of these items even have written on the packaging telling you they are "flushable", this is a costly mistake. Your toilet can most likely flush these things down. It is your sewer line that will begin collecting them. They do not flow well through sewer pipe and often get caught on ledges in the pipe or tree roots or other obstacles within your sewer system. They do not decompose. So if you routinely flush these items, you may find a costly repair in your future. Not to mention the hassle of having your sewer stop up which prevent you from flushing a toilet or taking a shower and may cause water damage to your home, until the problem is fixed.
I had a customer tell me once, "I've been pouring grease down my drains for 50 years and never had a problem before. I run hot water down the drain and it melts it away." For small amounts, this may prolong the life of the drain but it certainly does not prevent the problem. The water cools very quickly when put into your drainage system. The average ground temperature is around 54 degrees. If you have galvanized steel or copper drain lines, the water will cool even faster. Meaning, the grease just put down the drain was simply thinned out and moved throughout the drainage system to solidify and create the build up that will eventually lead to a clog. Think of your drain lines as arteries. Over time, they can develop a buildup of things we put in them. Like a clogged artery, your drain will eventually stop up. Grease is difficult to clear from a drain line and often requires the drain to be re-piped. The best way to avoid this is to empty your grease into a container and wipe away the excess to minimize the amount that ends up in your drains.
I hope these tips help. Much of it are things many plumbers don't want you to know. Life is always better when you arm yourself with knowledge.