Spring cleaning tips for your home's plumbing and pipes

May is National Home Improvement Month - the perfect time to dust off that home maintenance "to-do" list. And while you're doing your spring cleaning, don't neglect your pipes. American Water Resources has compiled a simple list of five ways to keep your home's plumbing looking and running great.

Keep drains clear, but nix the chemicals:
If you have a clogged drain in your home, don't turn to chemical cleaners. They may eat away at your pipes, eventually damaging them beyond repair. One way to solve the issue is by pouring hot water down the drain.

In the event of a stubborn clog, pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of white vinegar into the drain, followed by three cups of boiling water, and wait for the bubbles in the solution to dissipate. If all else fails, try mechanical means, such as plunging or snaking or hire a plumber to snake the drain and remove the debris blocking the line.

Keep your pipes squeaky clean:
Lime buildup can be unsightly and wreak havoc on your hot water pipes. If your plumbing is sluggish due to lime, empty half of the water in your hot water heater tank and add a bit of lime remover to it. Then refill the hot water tank and let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes. Flush your pipes by running hot water through all of your faucets until the water runs clear and free of bubbles.

Soften your hard water:
Like many cities, Philadelphia has "hard water" - meaning the water supply contains a higher percentage of naturally occurring minerals (usually calcium and magnesium). This buildup may show up as a white deposit in your taps, showerheads, and water using appliances and eventually shorten your plumbing's lifespan.

The only way to completely eliminate issues caused by hard water is to install a water softener. But they can be expensive and increase your utility bills. An alternative is using plain white vinegar to clean the mineral deposits off of plumbing fixtures and appliances like coffeemakers. White vinegar can also be placed in the dishwasher and in the washing machine to prevent residue from forming on your dishes and clothing.

Keep your sewer lines clear:
Your sewer main line is a pipe that connects your home's plumbing to the municipal sewer system and discards the home's waste. A clogged sewage line can back up into your home, and no one wants that mess.

The best way to avoid a blockage is by having it regularly cleaned and maintained by a plumber. Every few years have a plumber snake your main sewage cleanout. This process typically costs around $125-$200 and will remove tree roots and other materials that have worked their way into pipes.

Check your homeowner's insurance policy:
Break out your current policy and brush up on what it does and doesn't cover. Consider enrolling in a protection program to cover issues arising from normal wear and tear, that may not be covered by your home insurance. There are home protection programs available through American Water Resources, visit AWRUSA.com/details to learn more and to see what programs are available in your area. This investment will protect your time, money and peace of mind in the event of a plumbing emergency.

American Water Resources provides peace of mind at a low cost with any combination of programs to protect your home from unexpected repair costs related to your Plumbing, HVAC, or Electrical systems. American Water Resources uses locally licensed and qualified contractors to service their customers across 43 states through a variety of programs.
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