It's easy to fall into a maintenance pattern for your vehicle: check the fluids, make sure the tires have enough air, and take the car in for servicing if a warning light appears. But it's less natural to fall into a home maintenance pattern -- particularly when it comes to checking on the health of your plumbing. There are a few simple checks and actions you can take periodically to make sure no large problem is brewing in your pipes.
Find every exposed water pipe in your home. Exposed simply means that you can see it without opening up a wall, so in the cabinet under the sink still counts. Check each of these exposed pipes for excess moisture. Pipes carrying cold water will often show signs of slight moisture if the surrounding air is warmer than the water within. But you should be able to see at a glance that this is a slight, all-over dampening rather than an actual leak.
If you see water slowly seeping through the surface of the pipe, turn off the water supply to your home immediately and call a plumbing services professional. It's better to have the pipe fixed before it actually bursts than deal with a lot of water damage and cleanup.
Most modern faucets contain an aerator that helps filter the water of debris while also regulating water pressure. Go to your kitchen sink and find the mesh screen located where the water comes out. That's the aerator and it comes off fairly easily. Once removed, let the aerator soak in vinegar overnight to clean it of any potential mineral build-ups that could eventually impair or plug the water output for that faucet.
Shower heads also often have aerators but the removal can vary depending on type. Consult the manufacturer information for your model to learn how to remove and replace the aerator. Remove the aerator and perform the vinegar soak before replacement.
A health check on the toilet involves what's in the tank rather than the actual pipes, which tend to be hidden in the floor and walls. Lift the lid on the back of the toilet and look inside. There's a long arm connected by a chain to a round rubber piece blocking a hole at the bottom of the tank. Then there's a plastic balloon-shaped object floating near the top. These are called the arm, the flapper, and the float, respectively.
Lift and lower the arm manually and ensure that the action causes the rubber flapper to open and close. If the flapper barely opens, you need a new, longer chain to fix the problem. If the chain is too long and gets caught under the flapper when it tries to close, get a shorter chain. Then flush the toilet and watch what happens to the water. The float should prevent the refilling water in the tank from going over the overflow pipe, which is the only pipe sticking up in there. If the water goes over this pipe, get a new float.
Always call a plumber, such as Bode's Electric & Plumbing Inc, if a serious problem presents. It's better to have the issue fixed correctly so it doesn't cause even more trouble