It’s the holiday season! Many of you have hosting duties to look forward to this time of year. You may be having a holiday party; guests might be staying the night, or it could be that you will have the whole family over. No matter what you are doing, you will likely be creating some extra work for your plumbing this season. So, here are several things you can do to prepare your plumbing for guests before they come over.

Check each sink and toilet to make sure the drains are working properly.

A plumbing disaster is the last thing you want to happen on a national holiday, so be prepared. Check all of your sinks and drains and get them cleaned before guests arrive.

Take a look at your water heater.

There are many ways to tell if your water heater is about to go bad. Here are a few:

  • Check the date. Water heaters usually last about 10 years, so if yours is over 10 years old, you may want to keep an eye on it and get it checked out as soon as possible. Unfortunately, water heaters don’t make it easy for homeowners to examine the date it was manufactured, so use this pro tip: figure out the date from the serial number. Your serial number will start with a letter, then two numbers. The letter will indicate the month,  and the next two numbers will indicate the year. So, a water heater serial number starting with B10 was made in February 2010. In this case, “B” is the second letter of the alphabet, so it corresponds to the second month of the year. The more important part of this calculation is the year – a water heater made in 2010 should be good for another three years.
  • Listen. Is your water heater noisy? If so, there may be sediment build up that is making your water heater less efficient and prone to leaks.
  • Check for water leakage. This can be caused by cracks in the water heater itself or by a poor connection to your plumbing system.

Know the location of your main water shut-off valve.

Every home has a main water shut off valve which will turn off all of the water flowing into the home. If you have a plumbing emergency, turning off the water to your home can help you prevent water damage that could otherwise destroy your holiday cheer.

There are many places where your water shut-off valve may be located. Here’s where you can check:

  • In your basement or crawlspace, it would usually be located on an interior wall near the front of your home.
  • Near your water heater.
  • Inside your garage.
  • Outdoors, in a covered “pit” near your property line.

Once you have located the valve, be sure to educate yourself on how to turn off your valve. Because different homes of varying ages and construction have all sorts of quirks, you may not be able to turn your valve off by hand. Be sure to get the appropriate tool and keep it in an easy-to-access location in case of emergency.

Keep a plumbing emergency kit on-hand.

Make sure you have simple plumbing essentials available to you. We covered the contents of a plumbing emergency kit in a previous article, but we’ll go over it again here. You will want to have the following items handy:

  • A plunger
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • An adjustable wrench
  • Clogbusters LLC contact information
  • A note about where the water shut off is – along with any tool you need to turn it off.

Examine your water meter for leaks.

A quick and easy way to tell if your pipes are leaking is to take a look at your water meter. It has a “leak indicator.” Here’s how to use it:

  • Make sure no water is on in your home.
  • Check your leak indicator. If it’s moving, you may have a leak.

Clean off any sediment or build up from hard water.

A quick and easy way to solve an inconsistent water pressure is to clean sediment off of faucets or clean your aerator. The Portland Metro area provides a lot of different types of water and sediment can cause a considerable loss of water pressure – but usually, it’s pretty easy to resolve.

Prevent plumbing problems from happening in the first place.

Many blockages, drain issues, and other plumbing problems are preventable. Here are a few things you can do this holiday season to prevent plumbing issues:

  • Disconnect outdoor hoses from spigots if it looks like we will get freezing temperatures.
  • Don’t put things like potato peels, bones, or grease down the garbage disposal.
  • Ask guests with small children to keep toys and other flushable objects away from the bathroom.
  • Get your drains and pipes cleaned regularly.
  • If you aren’t sure whether something should go down the drain, don’t put it down the drain.

There are many ways you can clog your pipes throughout the year. We hope these plumbing tips help provide you with peace of mind over the holidays – and remember, if you need drain cleaning or sewer services here in Portland, OR, give ClogBusters LLC a call!