Dec
27

Basement Plumbing Maintenance Tips

Of all the phases of a construction project in a basement, the plumbing phase can be the hardest to accomplish for a number of reasons. To begin with, any waste water in general, usually has to be pumped out. Secondly, basements tend to be very unforgiving when it comes to leaks, even very minor ones.

 

Although not every home has a basement, those that do require special attention to the plumbing system. Just like the bathroom and the kitchen, the basement plumbing system requires regular maintenance in order to avoid emergency plumbing situations. Follow these basement plumbing tips to keep everything in your home running efficiently.

Understanding the Basics

Water Main Shutoff ValveFirst things first – when you are thinking about the plumbing system in your home, it’s important to know exactly where the water shutoff valve is located. The shutoff valve is usually found right where the main supply pipe enters the house coming up through your basement floor, either next to or very close to the water meter. The main shutoff for the house will be one or two valves near the main water supply pipe that can be turned on and off by hand.

There may also be an additional shutoff outside the house, buried in a cavity that is sometimes referred to as a “buffalo box.” If you have a buffalo box, it will generally be found in the ground near the street or the edge of your property. The box will often have a round metal cover. Pry open the cover and look inside with a flashlight. There will be a valve that you can turn by hand or with a long-handled “key.”

If you will need to shut down the system often during the course of a project, find your external shutoff and use it to shut off the water. Don’t depend entirely on the inside shutoff (particularly if you have an older home) – it can break, leak, or stop shutting off.

Other basic basement plumbing maintenance tips include the following:

  • Check your water meter during a period of time when no water is being used. Make a note of the meter reading and check it eight to 10 hours later. If the meter has moved, there is an indication that you may have an undetected water leak, which should be corrected.
  • Stop annoying water hammer noises by installing shock absorbers that absorb vibrations in water lines.
  • Septic tanks should be inspected and pumped every three to five years to help prevent costly replacement of the filter field.

Basement Clogged Drain Tips

Many basements have floor drains that will remove wastewater from washing machines, air conditioners, water heaters and other things like vehicles covered in snow. Just like other drains, these can collect scum and debris and require regular cleaning and maintenance. Here are a few basement plumbing tips when it comes to floor drains:

  • Clean your drains regularly. Clear them of visible debris and use an old toothbrush to scrub away substances and any dirt you see off the edges.
  • To further clean your drain, pour a bucket of boiling water down and wait 15 minutes. Then add a 16oz box of baking soda down the drain and make it fizzle by adding 3 cups of vinegar. Wait another 10 minutes and add 6 cups of boiling water slowly. Wash away what’s left of the vinegar and baking soda.
  • If you want to attempt clearing a clogged floor drain yourself, rent a power auger with 50 ft or more of cable and follow the instructions for use.

 

See more: http://www.rotorooter.com/plumbing-basics/plumbing-in-your-home/basement-tips-and-maintenance/

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