How can you prevent plumbing leaks in your home and avoid a major plumbing bill or water damage catastrophe? One way to take preventive action is by reducing the stress on your hard working pipes and plumbing system. Here are some great ways to do that from Houselogic.com
By Joe Bousquin
Long-term stress on pipes can result in plumbing leaks. And replacing plumbing in a 1,500 sq. ft. home is an expensive proposition ($2,000 to $15,000). Instead, preserve the integrity of pipes and avoid plumbing leaks by checking water pressure and installing a water softener.
Reduce water pressure to prevent plumbing leaks
As nice as high water pressure can be when you’re taking a shower or filling a stockpot, it stresses your pipes, increasing the likelihood of a plumbing leak. “That drastically reduces the life of your plumbing,” says Phoenix, Ariz., plumber Alex Sarandos. “It makes your pipe joints, faucets, and appliance valves work harder.”
You can measure your water pressure with a hose bib gauge, available at the hardware store for under $10. Attach it to an outside spigot and open the line. Normal pressure will register between 40 and 85 psi. If it’s above that range, consider hiring a plumber to install a pressure reducer (around $400).
By the way, you won’t reduce pressure by installing a low-flow shower head—it only affects the amount of water coming out of the shower head itself.
Soften water to reduce stress on plumbing
If your water has a high mineral content—known as hard water—it can shorten the lifespan of your home’s pipes, resulting in plumbing leaks. Those naturally occurring minerals, usually magnesium or calcium, build up inside pipes and restrict flow, increasing the pressure. Plus, they can corrode joints and fittings.
Although hard water can occur anywhere, it’s most common in the Southwest and parts of the Northeast. A white buildup on shower heads and faucets is a telltale sign of hard water. Or, if your house receives municipal water service, you can easily find out how hard it is. By law, every municipality must file an annual water quality report with the Environmental Protection Agency.