If you’re someone who constantly has at least 5 things going on at one time, from household chores to picking the kids up from school to an exhausting full-time job, you probably don’t want to add time-consuming kitchen and bathroom repair projects to your to-do list. Yet sometimes these projects feel inevitable. Something always seems to go wrong in the kitchen or bathroom at the worst possible time, and then you’re faced with the decision of fixing it yourself or calling in a plumber.
But what would you say if someone told you that there are some simple shortcuts that can save time and money on plumbing repairs in the long run? It’s all about keeping up with maintenance to avoid damaging your plumbing. Check out the tips below to stave off the pricey repairs.
5 Ways How Busy Moms Can Save Money on Kitchen and Bath Repairs
Use biodegradable cleaning products
Using cleaning products with harsh chemicals can wear out your pipes over time… not to mention the fact that keeping cleaning products with toxic chemicals in the house can be dangerous if you have young children who are constantly getting into everything. To save your pipes and create a safer environment for your family, try using natural cleaning alternatives like baking soda and lemon. And if you have a slow-draining sink, resist buying a harsh chemical clog-killer and try another approach, like pouring a quarter cup each of baking soda and vinegar down the drain to dissolve the clog.
Lower the temperature of your water heater
Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than water ever needs to be. Having that thermostat set to an unnecessarily high temperature uses up a lot of energy, which will end up costing you money in the long run. To cut costs here, adjust your heater to 125 degrees. If you have an electronic heater, first turn off the circuit breaker and go to your hot water tank. Look for a thermostat access panel on the side of the tank and remove this with a screwdriver, carefully removing any insulation that is behind it. You should see a dial thumb screw on the thermometer, which you can turn gently counterclockwise to lower your water temperature. If you have a gas hot water heater, you’ll see a thermostat control knob on the face of the gas control valve. Turn this slightly to the left to lower the temperature.
Have your incoming water pressure tested
You’ll need to call in the professionals to do this, but you’ll likely save money long-term because excessive water pressure can damage pipes over time. Make sure that your water pressure does not exceed 60 pounds per square inch.
Check the flapper valve in your toilet
If your toilet seems to be running for an unnecessarily long time after flushing—or it just doesn’t seem to stop running at all—it’s time to take action, because a constantly running toilet is going to seriously raise your utility costs! The most likely cause of a toilet that won’t stop running is the flapper valve (that flat, curved piece on a hinge inside the tank). Take the lid off the tank and check to see if the flapper valve is firmly sealed. If it’s not, water may be leaking from the tank into the bowl. Try firmly pressing the flapper valve down to see if it will stay in place; if not, you may need to replace it, but this is a cheap and easy repair.
Clean your shower head
Low water pressure in your shower can be frustrating, but it’s not necessarily a reason to call in a plumber. The most likely cause of the low water pressure is a mineral deposit buildup on the shower head, and this is easy enough to fix. First try massaging the nozzles of the shower head to remove any easy-to-reach buildup. Then remove your shower head and put it in a container full of vinegar for several hours so that the mineral deposits have time to dissolve. If you can’t detach your shower head, never fear. You can fill up a plastic baggie with vinegar and secure it to the shower head with a rubber band. Problem solved!
So, are you feeling more confident about maintaining your plumbing and keeping your household running smoothly? Regular care goes a long way towards preventing the need for costly plumbing repairs, so try some of the above tips to give yourself greater peace of mind.
Juliana Weiss-Roessler runs enjoys writing about money saving home advice with her husband Josh. Her writing has been featured on high-traffic websites, such as Yahoo.com, and in major publications, such as PARADE and People.