The laundry room often is overlooked when considering routine plumbing maintenance tasks. However, people depend on their washing machines and the drains and pipes that connect to them every day. Proper maintenance is required here just as much as with kitchen or bathrooms. Here are some do it yourself tips to help prevent having to call a plumber out in an emergency.

Use strainers on all sinks

Hair and debris will accumulate in drain lines causing the line to eventually clog. Using a strainer will help keep the lines clear and reduce the need for emergency plumbing maintenance calls. There are also specially made strainers for washing machine drains. Installing a strainer on the washing machine drain line, and keeping it clean helps keep hair, lint and debris out. Most hardware stores carry these strainers.

Inspect drain lines and water lines for signs of leaks

Inspecting your water lines for signs of wear is a good way to prevent a leak which depending on how long it sits could cause a lot of damage. Rubber hoses should be replaced with stainless steel braided hoses which last longer and are resistant to leaking and cracking. Some signs of leaking include watermarks, corrosion on the pipes, or low water pressure. Low water pressure can also be a sign of sediment buildup in the faucet or showerhead.

Prevent sewer gases from backing up

Infrequently used drains can sometimes allow sewer gases to back up into the house because the trap isn’t full, allowing odors to penetrate the home. A simple fix is to dump a bucket of water down the drain periodically. This helps keep the trap full, and odors out of the home. A foul odor coming from the drain can also be a sign of a clogged pipe in the making. If you do notice a slow drain or an odor coming from the drain, and dumping hot water down the drain does not work, then you can also try to clean out the trap. Some traps come with a cleanout, which is a valve in the trap section that can be unscrewed and then anything collecting in the trap can be removed. If your trap does not come with a cleanout, you can unscrew the pipe, and dump it that way.

Wait for a full load before running your washing machine

Most washing machines only have limited capability for controlling the amount of water that is used to wash a load. Always running a full load will keep your machine running as efficiently as possible.

Old hoses can develop cracks which causes a leak

Consider replacing older, worn out washing machines with more efficient devices. Over time, these machines can help pay for themselves. Similarly, the drain lines under the sink should be periodically checked for signs of leaks or loose fittings.

Get alerted of water leaks

Installing a flood alarm can help alert you of a leak, from a sink, washing machine or water heater. This can allow you to take action immediately, rather than the water sitting and soaking in to the floor or walls.

A slow drain can be a sign of other issues

When drains get clogged up with hair and other debris, the water will stop flowing as quickly. Sometimes, this can be fixed with dumping two quarts of boiling hot water down the drain.

Some other things to keep in mind include not storing flammable objects near gas powered appliances. Some examples include gasoline containers, spray paints and adhesives. These should all be stored away from water heaters, furnaces and dryers.

Maintaining your laundry room

Laundry rooms don’t take a lot of preventive plumbing maintenance. Like most things around the home, a quick visual inspection as you are doing routine chores can prevent a more costly repair later. It only takes a couple of seconds to spot signs of a potential leak coming from pipes that are in the open. Pipes that are inside the walls or below ground also give off warning signs when they start leaking. These signs include greener areas on the lawn, or water accumulating where it hasn’t in the past.

One of the most important things for homeowners to know is when to call in professional assistance and when you can do it yourself. Some things that seem relatively easy can turn into a disaster quickly if you don’t know what you are getting into. Some plumbing maintenance items can be handled by comfortable homeowners easily and some require a professional.

Laundry room plumbing maintenance isn’t something that takes a lot of time but it can be very important to keeping your home working as efficiently as possible and saving money. If you notice signs of a leak or a clogged drain, it’s best to get it taken care of as soon as possible.

If you need professional assistance, contact Bill Fenwick Plumbing today. We have been proudly serving the Jacksonville and north Florida area for over 40 years.