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Last week we talked about what not to do with regard to your home plumbing. This week we’d like to be affirming and talk about what we should do.

* DO open the drain on your water heater twice a year. Our water in West Texas is pretty hard. Which is to say it has a high mineral content. Over time, sediment builds up inside your water heater. When it gets solid, it significantly reduses the efficiency of your water heater. The less efficient it is, the more energy is consumed to achieve the same hot water. Left unattended, it can cause permanent damage up to and including replacing the unit.

Follow the instructions for your particular model of water heater. Draining will help flush out sediment before it becomes a permanent problem.

* DO put some ice cubes down your garbage disposal from time to time. Grinding up ice in the disposalhelps keep your blades sharp.

* DO remove and clean all the aerators in your faucets and shower heads. Back to our hard West Texas water, minerals deposits can accumulate on the screens and aerators, impeding and restricting the flow of water.

Sometimes we think we have a water pressure problem when in reality the aerators simply need a good cleaning. Most of the time a simple removal and rinse will take care of it. In the event of serious mineral build up, soak the aerators in white vinegar. It will dissolve and loosen the scale. Rinse and put back on your faucet. You’ll be good to go.

* DO pour several gallons of boiling water down shower/tub drains once a month. The boiling water helps prevent clogs from building up. The high temperature water can loosen potential clogging agents and wash them down and out.

* DO know where your main water shut off is located. The main water shut off is typically located in the front of your house. This shuts off the water from the supplier’s main line as it leads into your house. In the event of a water emergency, you’re going to want to know where this valve is and exactly how to turn it off. If a pipe breaks in your house, you won’t have time to play hide and seek with the shut off valve. Know where it is and how to turn it off.

* DO clean your gutters. You might not think of gutters as part of the plumbing system. Technically, it isn’t. Yet clogged gutters can cause a bad chain reaction in the event of a big rain. Gutters that don’t drain properly can overflow and/or not drain off in the right direction, causing potential leak and flooding issues.

If you’re able bodied, carefully clean out all the dead leaves and twigs. If you’re not, hire someone to do it. If your roofline is low enough you can possibly use a leaf blower and attachment to blow the leaves out without leaving the ground. However you do it, be safe.

* DO call a professional for plumbing issues that are over your head. Some plumbing issues are easily fixed. Others are more complex and for you to attempt will likely result in a bigger problem and more expensive fix. The experts at Sinclair are here to serve you. We’ll let you know if it’s something you can handle or something we can handle for you. Call us today at 806-749-2665.

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