Strategies for Preventative Plumbing Maintenance

Preventive plumbing maintenance involves scheduling routine maintenance tasks at regular intervals to support the continuous upkeep of assets through regular checks and inspections. In the context of plumbing, preventive maintenance is a valuable practice that ensures essential assets remain in good condition and function properly.

Let’s explore the most effective methods for maintaining your current plumbing.

Ensure proper maintenance of your ageing shut-off valves

The water shut-off valve plays a crucial role in cutting off the water supply during prolonged absences, preventative plumbing, plumbing repairs, installations, and emergencies. If the knob, handle, or lever accumulates rust and debris over time or isn’t regularly operated, it can lead to significant problems when a plumbing emergency occurs.

Therefore, if you’re concerned about water safety in your home and the well-being of your neighbours’ properties, it’s essential to ensure that your shut-off valve functions correctly. A helpful tip is to periodically turn the shut-off valve on and off, ideally at least once every six months. This practice prevents the valve from becoming stuck in one position and ensures it remains operational when needed. Lastly, if you discover that your old shut-off valve has exceeded its useful life, it’s advisable to replace it with a new one.

Keep water pressure at an appropriate level

Your plumbing system and appliances are not built to withstand high water pressure. While strong water pressure can provide a refreshing shower experience, excessive pressure can significantly shorten the lifespan of your plumbing.

High domestic water pressure results in a large volume of water flowing from your home’s fixtures. This not only strains your finances but also poses a risk to your pipes. It often leads to pipe erosion, pinhole leaks, and, in severe cases, water damage if left unaddressed.

If you suspect that your sink, shower, or faucet is experiencing excessive water pressure, it’s advisable to test your system. A water pressure gauge is a useful tool to determine if the water pressure falls within a healthy range (typically 40-60 PSI). If you have some plumbing expertise, you can install a pressure reduction valve during your plumbing projects to prevent future issues. However, if your domestic water pressure consistently exceeds the recommended values by a significant margin, it’s best to contact your water supply company to address the situation.

Stay vigilant if you notice constant or intermittent banging sounds from your pipes, a continuously running toilet, or dripping faucets and taps – these could all be indicators of excessively high home water pressure.

Utilise appropriate tools for drain maintenance

A clogged toilet or sink can be frustrating and an immediate concern for your household. Resist the temptation to take hasty action. Harsh chemical solutions may promise quick results in cleaning your drains, but a manual repair is the dependable choice that can help with preventative plumbing. If your drains are frequently blocked by dirt, debris, or food waste, consider investing in a plunger and pipe wrench to handle minor problems. For deeper clogs within the plumbing system, opt for a drain snake.

Regularly maintain your bathroom fixtures to prolong their lifespan and avoid premature replacements

Avoid using harsh detergents to remove mineral deposits from your shower head, as they can scratch and damage the surface of your shower, sink, or toilet. Instead, opt for a natural solution by mixing hot water and vinegar in a small bowl. Allow the stained shower head surface to soak in the mixture for half an hour. Afterward, rinse it with water and use a small brush to remove the limescale.

Like many components, shower head parts such as O-rings and washers are prone to wear and tear. If you notice any shower drips, leaks, or water sprouting from various places, the cause could be cracked or broken watertight seals between the connections. However, there’s no need to replace your entire shower. To keep your shower in excellent condition, it’s best to replace the rubber washer annually. All you need is a tap washer kit to complete the installation.

Understanding your pipes’ or drains’ capacity is essential to prevent blockages

Blocked drains can be inconvenient, unpleasant, and often occur at the most inconvenient times. Fortunately, preventing clogs in your drainage system largely depends on your habits when it comes to flushing items down the drain.

It’s essential to set strict limits for yourself and ensure that only toilet paper is flushed, as even items labelled as ‘flushable,’ such as thicker sanitary wipes, food waste, or eggshells, can wreak havoc on your plumbing system.

If disposing of hair down the drain is a common practice, it’s only a matter of time before a large ball of debris forms. It’s wise to refrain from discarding cooking waste products and substances like oil, grease, milk, or other liquids, which can eventually accumulate as debris, adhering to the pipe surface and mixing with other materials.

A practical and cost-effective way to safeguard your drains is by using small metal, mesh, or silicone sieves over your plugholes. Additionally, consider installing covers on bath and shower drains to prevent hairball blockages.

Ensure your plumbing remains in excellent condition during the winter months

When temperatures drop below freezing, pipes, especially exposed ones, are at risk of freezing or bursting. Just a few minutes of extreme cold can transform any remaining water in the pipes into solid ice. Even more concerning is the fact that frozen pipes can burst during the night.

To prepare for the impending cold weather, it’s important to take precautions. Disconnect all drain hoses from the outside taps before the cold snap arrives. Additionally, ensure proper insulation for exposed pipes, particularly those connected to the central heating system, running near exterior walls, or located in unheated rooms and crawl spaces.

Avoid excessive tightening of fittings and valves

When conducting plumbing work at home, it’s common to underestimate the importance of properly tightening screws, valves, and connections. To avoid issues like broken bolts, stripped screws, and potential leaks, refrain from over-tightening these components. While it might seem tempting to use brute force to secure your cold and hot water faucets, doing so can have the opposite effect, resulting in unwanted drips and puddles on your floor.

What’s the significance of dedicating time to preventive maintenance?

While preventative maintenance may not be essential for the day-to-day operation of plumbing-related assets, it plays a crucial role in cost reduction, minimizing repair time, and reducing downtime. A well-structured preventative maintenance schedule ensures that assets such as sinks, toilets, pipes, etc., are consistently well-maintained and operate efficiently, thus reducing the likelihood of damage.

Investing time upfront to establish a preventative maintenance plan ultimately saves both time and potentially thousands of pounds in repair costs down the road. It’s important to note that while preventative maintenance can mitigate costly issues, there may still be instances of emergency maintenance. These emergencies could arise from accidental damage to pipes or weather-related issues, which are often beyond your control.

Although emergency maintenance can be unavoidable, plumbers can help manage and even reduce the frequency of emergency call-outs through an effective preventative maintenance strategy. To keep track of both scheduled preventative maintenance and emergency repairs, many businesses opt for a Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) or a digital tracking system.

What is a Computerised Maintenance Management System?

A Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a software application designed to streamline and optimise maintenance management activities within an organisation. CMMS software helps businesses and institutions efficiently manage and maintain their assets, equipment, and facilities by providing a centralised platform for tracking and scheduling maintenance tasks.

CMMS systems typically offer a range of features, including:

  • Asset Management: The ability to catalogue and track all physical assets, such as machinery, equipment, vehicles, and facilities.
  • Preventive Maintenance: Scheduling and automating routine maintenance tasks to prevent breakdowns and extend the lifespan of assets.
  • Work Order Management: Generating, assigning, and tracking work orders for maintenance and repairs, along with documenting completed tasks.
  • Inventory Management: Managing spare parts and inventory levels to ensure timely access to replacement components.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Generating reports and analytics to monitor asset performance, maintenance costs, and other key metrics.
  • Downtime Reduction: Minimising equipment downtime by proactively addressing maintenance needs.
  • Compliance and Documentation: Maintaining records of maintenance activities to meet regulatory requirements and ensure compliance.
  • Cost Control: Monitoring and controlling maintenance expenses, optimising resource allocation, and reducing operational costs.
  • Mobile Access: Allowing maintenance teams to access and update information in the field using mobile devices.

Overall, a CMMS simplifies maintenance processes, enhances asset reliability, and improves overall operational efficiency, making it an invaluable tool for organisations in various industries.

In what ways does a CMMS assist in implementing preventative maintenance for plumbing systems?

A CMMS serves as a digital repository for recording all preventative maintenance activities. Its user-friendly digital scheduler guarantees that crucial plumbing tasks are scheduled on their respective dates, ensuring optimal efficiency. Furthermore, CMMS can be particularly beneficial for larger plumbing enterprises with extensive teams, as it facilitates the distribution of tickets and tasks across various teams.

The scheduler function enables administrators to assign tickets to team members with the appropriate skill sets and in alignment with their available working dates and times.

Need a Plumber?

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