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3 Basic Plumbing Maintenance Tips For Your Home

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

corroded pipeSerious indoor water damage can result from something as simple as neglecting basic plumbing maintenance. The water supply lines inside your house carry water at an average of 60 pounds per square inch. That’s more than enough pressure to inundate your home in a matter of minutes. Other less dramatic but chronic plumbing problems can increase monthly water bills and cause fixtures and appliances to perform less efficiently.

Observing a few basic plumbing maintenance practices is always better than dealing with the inconvenience and expense after the fact if water damage occurs. Here are three things you can do on your own.

  1. Look for leaks. No amount of water supply line leakage—including tiny pinholes or minor oozing at joints—is acceptable. In fact, these are often warnings of internal corrosion which could trigger a total pipe rupture at any time. Inspect water supply lines anywhere they are visible, including beneath sinks and in the basement or crawl space, for dripping or seepage. If you find any, call a plumber immediately.
  2. Check washing machine hoses. Ruptured rubber washing machine hoses are frequent culprits when unexpected indoor water damage strikes. Regularly inspect the hoses that connect to hot and cold water faucets on the wall behind the machine. Look for cracks and test flexibility. If the hoses feel hard and brittle, replace them now. Braided steel water lines are a superior, longer-lasting replacement than rubber.
  3. Inspect the water heater. Look for signs of leakage underneath. Any water dripping from the bottom of the unit is evidence of internal corrosion and an impending tank rupture that could flood the house. Also check the temperature and pressure relief valve on the side or top of the water heater for dribbling. Open the valve by lifting the spring-loaded handle and verify that you can see or hear water spurt out, then allow the valve to snap shut. Make sure the valve seals properly afterwards. Report any tank leakage or a dribbling relief valve to a qualified plumber.

Ask the experts at Rytech for more basic plumbing maintenance tips to prevent water damage.

Common Causes of Broken Pipes

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Broken pipes not only cause household damage: they make headlines, too. Recently, we read the story of the Missouri homeowner who was out of town for a brief getaway when a common water supply line inside his house ruptured. He returned to find that his home had been inundated with nearly 45,000 gallons of water in his absence. Broken pipes can inflict severe water damage to structure and valuables, as well as make a house toxic due to mold growth. Most pipe ruptures fall into one of three categories:

broken pipesFreezing

In winter, it’s a major cause of indoor water damage. Anywhere they are contacted by air below 28 degrees Fahrenheit, pipes may freeze and rupture. Pipes in unconditioned areas like crawl spaces and attics are at particular risk. Placing slip-on foam insulating sleeves on accessible pipes helps prevent freezing. So does sealing cracks and openings that allow frigid outside air into crawl spaces or exterior walls where pipes are routed.


While galvanized steel pipes have long been known for corrosion and rupture, copper pipes may internally degrade as well, leading to eventual failure. A major factor in the corrosion of copper pipes is the pH factor of the local municipal water supply. Water with a pH below 7 is acidic and over time corrodes copper piping from the inside out. A red flag is the appearance of pinhole leaks that “weep” small amounts of water. Because they may mask severe internal corrosion and an impending catastrophic pipe rupture, pinhole leaks should never be ignored. Contact a plumber ASAP.

Water Pressure

Water pressure straight from the municipal water supply line would be too high for your household plumbing. Therefore,  a pressure regulator at the meter reduces pressure to a safe level of about 40 to 50 p.s.i. However, if the regulator is defective or out of adjustment, pressure may rise high enough to cause pipe rupture. A plumber can attach a gauge to check the pressure, then check the regulator if necessary.

For more on recognizing and addressing issues that cause broken pipes, contact Rytech, Inc.