A health plan for your plumbing

It’s the New Year and we’ve all gone fitness mad. However, the likelihood is that most of us will have given up by the 17th January, which is officially ‘Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day’.

Before you cave, put your plumbing through its paces with our simple tips for healthy pipes and fittings.

Exercise your plumbing

Every time you turn on the tap or the heating, think of it like you’re sending your plumbing system to the gym or for a run – exercise that is essential for its long-term health.

If left sedentary for too long, water inside pipes can freeze (especially in the winter) or cause corrosion to your pipework and fittings.

When heading off on an elongated holiday and leaving your home empty, treat your plumbing like you do your electrics – turn it off. The water supply can be controlled via the main valve outside the house or at the meter, which should reassure you that you won’t come home to find a leak, or worse, a flood.

In addition, it’s worth asking a neighbour, friend or family member to drop by once a week in your absence to carry out a quick house check. They can flush the toilets, turn on the faucets and check that your heating and air conditioning units have not conked out. That way, they can call a plumber straight away before the problem worsens or causes other costly ailments, such as damp, mould or corrosion.

Put your plumbing on a diet

Does your sink guzzle down fat, oil and grease left over from your cooking? Honestly, these play havoc with drains and are the primary cause for 75%1 of all drain and sewer blockages.

This year, make a pact to allow these substances to cool before pouring them into a separate container and disposing of them via the bin rather than the sink – your drains will be less likely to clog, reducing the risk of wastewater and bad smells backing up into your home and the streets.

Secondly, your toilet needs to stop unhealthy consumption. Cotton wool, plasters, nappies and sanitary items were never intended to be flushed – even those ‘flushable’ wet wipes don’t break down fast enough to be suitable for the toilet system – so place a bin next to your loo and use it!

Superfood to feed your plumbing

One word: lemons.

The juice can be used to break down limescale (the white chalky stuff that you may see around your taps and inside your toilet) in a cheap and natural way.

Limescale is a deposit of calcium carbonate and the residue of other minerals left behind by hard water, which predominantly irks people on an aesthetic level. However, the substance also poses greater problems, as it’s not uncommon for limescale to accumulate within a plumbing system, eventually restricting water flow. When it comes to other appliances, such as your washing machine or dishwasher, these build-ups affect energy efficiency and cause your bills to soar.

Give your plumbing a healthy dose of lemon juice in the following ways:

  • Pour some lemon juice into your toilet bowl over night
  • Replace a non-effective cleaner with a solution of lemon juice and water
  • Run a hot cycle through your washing machine and dishwasher, swapping your regular detergent for lemon juice

The effect is not always immediate, especially if you’re dealing with severe limescale stains, but you will notice the results if done regularly.

Don’t become a statistic

Only 8%2 of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

If you’ve promised yourself that you’ll take more care of your home in 2015, bookmark our simple plumbing health plan and stick to it! It’s unlikely you’ll regret that, but you would be annoyed if you neglected your home maintenance and had to fork out the expenses to correct leaks and breaks.

1 Southern Water, 2015. Pain in the Drain. [Online] Available at: https://www.southernwater.co.uk/pain-in-the-drain.
1 Statistic Brain, 2014. New Years Resolution Statistics. [Online] Available at: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/.
All information sources accessed on the 8th of January 2015.

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