It’s no surprise that the kitchen and bathroom are the most frequently used rooms in any home. Being high traffic rooms that are used every day by each member of the household, it’s important to keep them well maintained. To avoid common plumbing issues, we’ve got some easy tips to keep things flowing in your home.

Bathroom:

1. Drips equal dollars — The average Canadian uses about 65% of household water in the bathroom. If you notice your faucet is leaking, repair it as soon as possible. The sooner you repair it, the less damage will take place on your faucet and to the planet. According to a Global News report, a tap that drips six drops a minute will lose approximately 1200 litres of water a year, that’s equivalent to seven bathtubs worth! Be sure to fix those leaking taps and faucets as soon as you notice them.

2. Clean now, save later — Clean your shower heads and faucet aerators regularly. If you notice low water pressure or leaks, this is usually due to lime buildup and sediment blocking. You can easily clean your sink aerator by unscrewing it and taking a small brush or cotton swab dipped in vinegar to remove the build up. Shower heads are equally important to clean and can also become clogged from minerals in the water. Try this tip: put a cup of vinegar in a plastic bag and tie it around the shower head. Leave it like this overnight and in the morning remove the bag and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Cleaning both every month or so will prevent clogs and breaks over time, and save you money on repairs.

32862484ac03484c43dde05744aee8d33. Throw trash in the trash can — When it comes to maintaining your toilet, the best thing you can do is not treat it like a garbage bin. The only material that should be flushed is toilet paper, everything else should go in the trash can. Bathroom items like cotton balls, cotton swabs, make-up remover pads, do not dissolve and will clog your toilet over time and will ultimately result in the need for a plumber. Keep a trash can in the bathroom so there’s no excuse to throw things in the toilet.

4. No brainer strainer — If you’re not already using a strainer in your sink or shower, you should be. Strainers catch hair, jewellery, and broken soap pieces so they don’t go down the drain. They’re also easy to clean and inexpensive. Adding strainers to your home will ensure your drains and pipes stay debris free, and there’s also no need to panic if you accidentally drop your wedding ring in the sink.

Kitchen:

1. Everything but the kitchen sink — Some people think you can throw anything and everything down the sink garbage disposal. Grease should never be poured into the sink, garbage disposal or not. Other items to keep away from the garbage disposal include coffee grounds, chicken skins and certain vegetable and fruit peels, as they are hard to grind down and can clog your pipes. Try running cold water down the drain for 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposal to help push waste through. You can also try adding lemons to help clean and deodorize your garbage disposal.

2. Power cleaning couple — Vinegar and baking soda can clean almost anything, including your pipes and drains. Once a month, mix a cup of baking soda and vinegar together and pour them down your sink to keep it free of clogs.

d3a7e9bddd22419f5979df835416ad9f3. Keep it level — To avoid unwanted dishwasher leaks, make sure your dishwasher is level. To check, place a bubble level inside the dishwasher. If it’s uneven, simply adjust the feet and you should be leak free. If you find your dishwasher is still leaking after levelling it, it’s time to call in a pro.

4. Check pipes during renos — Pipes are hard to reach at the best of times. If you’re doing a kitchen renovation, take the time to ensure your pipes are in working order and don’t need to be replaced. Taking the time while things are exposed will save you money in the long run. You don’t want to complete your new kitchen only to find there’s a bad pipe hiding somewhere. Check them while they’re visible.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be less likely to need an emergency plumber. Still, as prepared as you are, pipes get clogged and leaks happen. When you need a plumber, start on HomeStars, and check out our plumbing category for a professional near you.

Posted by Jessica Greaves