Common plumbing systems in basements include water heaters, water softeners, boilers, sump pumps, septic tanks, sprinkler line valves, washing machines, bathrooms or kitchens, and more. All home plumbing systems are different, but they will all have one thing in common in terms of basement plumbing: the need for regular maintenance. Continue reading to learn some tips for proper basement plumbing care, and who to call when you need a master plumber in your neighborhood.
Where to Start…
It is important to first consider safety when you are inspecting and servicing your basement plumbing appliances and systems. Never store flammable liquids or chemicals near water heaters, gas furnaces, or any other type of fuel-powered appliance. This includes gasoline, propane tanks, liquid adhesives, solvents, and anything else that has a flammable warning. On the topic of natural gas, it is important to make sure sewer gases are not building up too much within household drains, mostly drains that are not used as often like basement floor drains. To prevent sewer gases from backing up, simply pour a bucket of clean water down the drain every other month to keep the trap seal full.
Moving on, you should always inspect and pump your home’s sump pump periodically to prevent costly repairs like filter field replacement. Do this every three to five years, depending on the size of the home and the age of the sump pump. Another area of concern for basement flooding is your washing machine. Be sure to regularly inspect the machine and the connective hoses to check for bulges, leaks, and kinks. Catching a washing machine problem early on will not only save money on potential flooding repairs and renovations, it will also avoid having to buy a new washing machine.
If you like to save energy, be sure to also maintain a moderate water heater temperature setting. Not only does this reduce energy consumption, it also prevents dangerous scalding accidents. A good temperature setting for water heaters is anywhere between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If your water heater temperature is set above 120, consider lowering it a bit for safety and energy efficiency.
If you have water hammering problems, or loud noises from water usage, consider installing shock absorbers. These absorb vibrations in the water lines, muffling the obnoxious sounds made from water hammering. And for water leaks, there is an easy way to test for them that should be done every month or so. During a time that water is not being used in the house, simply read your water meter, taking notes on what you see, then check the meter again 12 hours later to see if anything has changed. If there has been a radical change in the past 12 hours that water was not used, it could be an indication of a leak. In this case, you would need to call a master plumber for professional water leak diagnostics and repair.