Forgetting to Maintain Your Plumbing and Electrical Systems Can Cost You
Chances are you probably aren’t spending a lot of time thinking about the system of water and sewer pipes inside your walls that deliver hot and cold water and eliminate waste. After all, the greater part of your plumbing isn’t visible, so unless you’re a plumber, it’s easy to forget about pipes, valves and drains that carry water to and from your sinks, toilets, and showers.
Truth is, although the pipes and drains of a plumbing system are constructed for durability, they still require routine care to keep them from aging too rapidly and leading to various repairs and replacements.
The same thing can be said for your home’s electrical system. The electrical wiring of your home is mostly hidden, and this is one of the reasons why its maintenance is often set aside. Over time, the wires will suffer wear and tear and impact the equipment and appliances that operate on the circuit. Eventually, you’ll have to deal with electrical problems more frequently than you need to.
Out of sight, out of mind, right? But like your other home maintenance needs, chiefly your HVAC system, taking a proactive approach to your home’s plumbing and electrical systems can mean considerable savings and benefits.
For instance, did you know that leaky faucets can waste more than 3000 gallons of water a year or that a leaky toilet can squander over 200 gallons of water every day?
On the other hand, electrical incidents and wirings can spark home fires. Out-of-date electrical systems, wiring, and fixtures are frequently the root cause of these accidents. Having an annual check-up of your electrical system will help ensure that the power source, electrical lines, wiring, and outlets are up to date and functioning correctly.
Bottom line: When you don’t think about your plumbing and electricity, you forget that these systems – like your vehicle or HVAC system – need routine maintenance to guarantee their working properly.
How important is plumbing maintenance?
When was the last time you thought about your plumbing? Was it while ago? Aside from the occasional toilet clog, most Pittsburgh homeowners seldom think about it.
The problem is when it comes to plumbing maintenance, most people look the other way. Plumbing systems tend to be one of the most overlooked systems in the home, but it can actually lead to some of the most expensive repairs a homeowner can face.
What makes maintenance so vital with plumbing systems is that it’s hard to catch plumbing problems early on. As we’ve described, most of the system is hidden from view. Unfortunately, a small plumbing problem can quickly go from bad to worse without warning.
The name of the game is problem prevention. Getting annual maintenance inspections can forewarn you to any issues before they get out of hand, saving you thousands of dollars in potential system and property damage.
Professional inspections by a certified plumber have a number of significant benefits compared to attempting to perform them yourself. You can count not only on a plumber’s experience and expertise if they do find something amiss, but also have them worry about the things you probably don’t want to deal with.
What includes routine maintenance? Plumbing maintenance involves more than simply checking if your pipes have leaks or are suffering from corrosion. Maintenance also includes the major appliances you use routinely, which can undergo considerable stress during the year.
As a prime example, your water heater is part of regular plumbing maintenance, and it must have yearly inspections and tune-ups to make sure it works efficiently and correctly. You’ll need a new water heater long before you’ll need new pipes and a certified plumbing technician will be able to identify when it’s time to retire your current heater.
Let’s say you bought your house five years ago and have never had a maintenance check performed on your hot water heater. After all, it’s tucked away in the utility closet, and the only time you even look at it is when you’re in there to grab a broom or mop. So, when you come home from running errands one day and discover an inch of water on your floor and a hole in your water heater, it’s a total shock. And the bills will be an even bigger shock!
Like hundreds, or, thousands to replace the water heater; VERSUS likely thousands for flood clean-up; and up to tens of thousands for water damage restoration, depending on what was damaged!
Plus, much of that might not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance as some insurance companies require there be a record of regular preventive maintenance to honor a claim of a plumbing failure.
Dollar for dollar, plumbing maintenance is the most critical planned maintenance task you can invest in.
What to expect
A quality home plumbing inspection will include checks anywhere water runs through your house, including sinks, toilets, tubs, lines, and pipes. Underneath and outside of your house, a plumbing technician will check pipes for leaks, as well as check for proper support to ensure anti-freeze protection.
Toilets and water heaters get an additional inspection. Toilets will have their water levels, flappers, and filler mechanisms checked. Water heaters will receive water temperature checks and have pressure relief valves and pipes tested before being flushed.
At the end of the maintenance visit, your plumber should provide you with a list of suggestions for repairs or advice that will help you continue to keep your home safe from water and sewer damage.
What to do in between annual plumbing maintenance inspections
If you see any leaks, call a professional as soon as possible. Water can be the single most destructive force on the house and should be dealt with straight away.
Otherwise, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having a maintenance routine can stop many problems before they start. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Unclog slow drains. You might want to use a homemade mixture of vinegar and hot water to flush down the drain and unclog any debris.
- Fix leaking faucets and showerheads. Dripping faucets can waste a lot of water and a drip can get worse over time, causing water damage.
- Install mesh strainers over tub and shower drains to prevent hair and soap chunks from going down the drain.
- Be careful what you flush down the toilet or pour down the drain.
- Check hoses for signs of cracks, brittleness, or leaking.
Many problems can be caught early or avoided altogether by establishing and following through on your plumbing maintenance routine.
Is electrical maintenance just as critical? You bet it is!
So, have you performed an electrical maintenance inspection in recent years? If not, don’t feel bad. Most homeowners don’t even realize that they should have a regular check – at least once a year – on their home’s electrical system.
It’s easy to see the need for annual maintenance on your HVAC system; it’s not as easy to see the need for annual electrical maintenance. After all, your electrical system doesn’t really have moving parts, so how much maintenance can it really need?
You might be surprised to find out your wiring actually requires regular maintenance just as much as your home comfort system. In fact, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), your electrical components are three times as likely to fail without a maintenance plan in place. Looked at another way, without preventive maintenance, you’re three times more apt to have unforeseen electrical expenses to pay.
A licensed electrician is your best friend when it comes to maintaining and updating your electrical system. Keep in mind that regular electrical services are not that expensive. Plus, they’re quick, compared to extensive repairs caused by poorly maintained electric lines.
Here are some money-saving benefits of electrical maintenance:
- Electrical maintenance avoids electrical failures. Fully half of all electrical failures are due to loose parts and connections, exposure to moisture, and dirty electrical panels. This means that half of all electrical failures can be avoided with routine maintenance.
- You can steer clear of a home rewiring project. Depending on your home’s age, your electrical system may have wiring components that are not compatible with today’s industry guidelines. As such, a single failed component could lead to a complete rewiring of your house. Electrical preventive maintenance will keep your current wiring in good shape, so there should be no need for a total rewiring before you’re better prepared for the expense.
- Regular maintenance can save you money. Loose and dirty connections have more resistance causing power loss as it moves through your wiring, which necessitates more electricity to power your home. Electrical connections are cleaned and tightened during regular maintenance, reducing resistance, and improving energy efficiency.
Nonetheless, the biggest advantage of electrical maintenance is the safety factor.
Okay, you might be happy as long as the appliance in your home functions properly, and the lights go on when you flip the switch. More importantly, however, home electrical maintenance also has to do with fire safety.
Home safety is obviously one of the most dearly held goals by most, if not all, homeowners everywhere. A home is designed to be a safe haven for its dwellers and anything and everything that favors home safety should always be accorded first priority. Electrical maintenance for the home is, without a doubt, one of the surest steps toward bringing about a safe house.
As a prime example, opting for a maintenance check could reveal that your house isn’t grounded, which could pose a severe threat to your family. While this project can take some time and money, it’s worth it to protect your loved ones. Without home electrical inspections, you may not know your house lacks grounding. In fact, you may not even know what grounding is and why it matters.
Does your house meet code?
Another issue is meeting code. While you might not realize it, the electricity in your home must meet the National Electrical Code standards to protect you with the highest safety levels. When new work is performed, it has to meet this code. Opting for annual home electrical maintenance can let you know if your home is not up to code.
Why can’t you have code requirements checked once and be done with it? The fact is the code changes. Chances are more requirements aimed at your safety will be put into place in the future.
The urge to do things yourself when it comes to taking care of your home is always there and often comes with a great feeling of satisfaction. Even as DIY comes off as a benefit, there are those things that are wisely better left to the experts, and electrical repairs top the list.
Preparing for a sale?
One final consideration. If you’re planning to sell your house, you may need to make some changes. When you have your annual plumbing and electrical maintenance appointment, you can speak with the team about changes that can enhance your home. Also, when your house is not up to code or contains serious, even dangerous issues, you are likely to encounter a difficult time selling the property. Dealing with that stress and extra time, later on, can add to the burden of selling your home. Take the time to deal with these issuers now.
Why not consider worry-free protection with an annual maintenance plan?
It pays to have a plan for your home’s most critical systems, and J&A South Park’s premier maintenance plans are among the best in the business. With this plan, you can receive annual inspections on your plumbing and electrical as well as your HVAC systems at one predetermined price. You’ll also receive priority service, a discount on service calls, parts, and labor, and you’ll never pay emergency rates.