Protect Your Pipes!

Your pipes are hidden in your walls, and if you're like most people, you don't give them a whole lot of thought until something goes wrong — such as if your water pressure drops or you get a clogged drain. Have you considered, however, that protecting and taking care of your pipes can prevent such issues? They might be out of sight, but they should not be out of mind. Follow these tips to protect your pipes.

Install a water softener.

Most areas of the country have hard water to some degree. In other words, the water contains a lot of dissolved minerals that slowly settle out of solution over time, forming deposits inside the pipes. If you've ever showered in an old house with old plumbing and noticed that the water pressure was really low, it was because those pipes were laden with years' worth of mineral deposits. Installing a water softener to remove the minerals from the water will prevent such deposits from also forming in your pipes.

Insulate the ones you can see.

Venture down into the basement or crawlspace, and make note of all the pipes you can actually see. Then, wrap a layer of insulation around them. (You can buy black insulating pipe sleeves that look like pool noodles at most home supply stores.) This will decrease the chances of your pipes freezing should the heat happen to fail in the winter. The pipes within your actual walls are probably pretty well insulated already, assuming you have insulation in your walls.

Don't put anything suspect down the drains.

The drain pipes — those that carry wastewater out of your home, require protection, too. The best way to protect them is never to put anything down the drains other than water and soap. Do not dump any grease down the drain, even if you have a garbage disposal. Don't let hair go down the drain, either. Even small items can cause clogs since they can get stuck to any soap scum clinging to the inside of the pipes.

Don't use drain cleaner.

If you do have slow or clogged drains, using drain cleaner is not a good idea. Although one use will have minimal effect, using drain cleaner year after year will slowly cause the pipes to corrode, since the chemicals in drain cleaner are so caustic. Try plunging the drain or using vinegar instead. If those methods do not work, contact a plumber from a company like Complete Plumbing