When it comes to maintenance in the home, the general rule is that prevention is better (and cheaper) than a cure. This is especially when it comes to plumbing problems. Regardless of the age of your home, inspecting certain areas in the home regularly allows you to spot minor problems before they turn into an expensive maintenance issue, but it is recommended that you do it more frequently the older your home is.
If you live in a home older than 60 years or are thinking about purchasing an older house, the most important advice to remember is to pay for a proper inspection. Water pipes, drains and PVC sewerage lines are only made have a certain lifespan, so it’s best to determine from the start how long it will be before anything needs to be replaced.
Although most work will need to be completed by professional plumbing services, by casting an eye over the home regularly you can hopefully prevent costly emergency repairs. Some of the signs to watch out for include:
- Rust on the outside of pipes can be a sign of bigger problems. Replace the rusty section immediately – don’t wait until it corrodes entirely and bursts!
- Discoloured or cloudy coloured water can signal rust on the inside of the water pipes. A professional plumber is the best option for tracing the source.
- Leaky underground water or sewerage lines usually create excess water in the yard. It may appear as a slushy, wet patch on the lawn or you may actually see pools of water on the grounds surface. Either way, this calls for professional help.
- Check the hot water service for signs of leaking water or rust marks and remember to release the safety relief valve every 6 months.
- Drains which regularly block up could have tree root or build-up problems. Again, it is best to hire a professional for this job.
Problems to look out for in the indoor wet areas (bathroom, toilet, laundry and kitchen) are:
- Stains and discoloration on the walls or floor can signal leaking water while loose or cracked tiles allows water to seep through to walls or flooring.
- Flaking metal pipes are the start of more serious problems. Even though steel, copper and brass water pipes generally last for around 80 to 100 years, it’s always best to check. After all, you are drinking the stuff.
- Whitish coloured stains are a sign of water seepage from somewhere.
- Mould issues first appears as dark stains and can signal rot underneath the tiles
You should also remember that a minor maintenance issue can turn into highly expensive repairs when plumbing problems are left unattended for too long.