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Your home plumbing checkup: make this a habit

Try these DIY prevention tips to stop plumbing problems before they start.

Man checking plumbing under a sink

Plumbing problems can lead to sky-high water bills — not to mention major structural damage to your home. A small leak could waste tens of thousands of gallons of water each year and result in much larger headaches. Use these tips to help make regular DIY plumbing inspections all around your house.

Inspect your pipes

Look for signs of dripping and corrosion in exposed pipes, such as supply lines for toilets and sinks, as well as lines leading to appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerator ice makers, and washing machines. Leaking fixtures may need replacement parts, such as a new O-ring or cartridge for a dripping faucet or a flapper for a leaky toilet.

Sneak up on leaks

Even if you don't see dripping, you may still have a problem. Wall or cabinet stains, rusty water, cracked or warped flooring, and a musty smell may be indicators of plumbing issues.

Be mindful about what goes in the drain

The garbage disposal can be a great tool, but be sure there is plenty of water running when scraps are slowly fed into the drain. Fats and oils can become clogs when poured in the drain. Plumbing issues can be seasonal, such as when you have more guests during holidays. It’s always best to place cotton balls and wipes in the garbage since they also have a tendency to clog drains.

Focus on faulty plumbing

Shutoff valves and copper and brass fittings are the first places corrosion occurs. The likelihood of corrosion is greater if the metals are mismatched, as when galvanized pipes connect directly to copper lines. This should be repaired immediately. But if the pipes are corroded or rusted, have them replaced.

Try the water meter trick

Water meters are great leakage detectors. Note the current level of water usage on your meter, and then suspend all water usage for 30 minutes, making sure all water-using appliances are turned off. Recheck the meter. If the triangular leak indicator is spinning or the dial hand has moved or the number has increased, you may have a leak.

Remedy the problems

You don't have to be an expert to fix small plumbing issues, as long as you feel comfortable and confident taking them on. If you have water-damaged flooring and walls, consider hiring a plumbing pro to fix the leak, and then replace the damaged areas to avoid mold growth. For major problems or anything you're unsure how to fix, always call an expert.

While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.


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