It doesn’t matter if your kitchen is your second living room, or it’s mainly used for reheating meals and washing the dishes, keeping its plumbing in top conditions is important. Read through these kitchen plumbing maintenance and preventive tips to make sure you’re doing everything right.
Kitchen faucet – what can go wrong?
While these fixtures look sturdy and fairly simple to understand, there are a few aspects that need our attention. Low water pressure or inconsistent flow is often caused by the lime build up that blocks the fine grid of the aerator. Unscrew the aerator by turning it counter-clockwise. If the grip of your hand isn’t enough, use your pliers to loosen it, but make sure the jaws are wrapped with masking tape to prevent damage to the faucet lustre. After you’ve taken the aerator head apart, use a fine brush dipped in hot vinegar to remove the sediments.
Remove mineral deposits
According to measurements taken at the Potts Hill water supply system, the Sydney area has moderately hard water. While not as alarming as in other areas such as Adelaide, increased mineral counts ultimately lead to mineral and lime deposits on your faucet or drain. Apart from damaging the aesthetic of your kitchen fixtures, if left unattended, these deposits may reduce the lifespan of the valves and turning handles. While light deposits can be removed with a window cleaner or a mild abrasive, more stubborn layers may require specialized cleaners.
Install a lint catcher
If your washing machine drain has never backwashed, you can consider yourself lucky. Debris like clothes lint, bits of fabric, dead skin tissue and an occasional price tag may find their way through the washer’s drain hose and clog the drain line. Mesh lint traps can be bought at home centres and hardware stores and installed on the discharge hose with a simple zip tie. Check the trap from time to time and replace it when it fills up.
Don’t dump grease
Leftover grease may be warm and liquid when you pour it down the drain, but when it cools down in the pipework, it hardens and starts forming a clog. Other stuff sticks to it over time, and before you know it, you have a sink full of brown water. Instead of dumping leftover grease down the drain, collect it in a jar and throw it into the garbage when full.
Prevent the mainline blockage
If you are having a clogged drain line problem every couple of years, don’t keep cleaning it over and over. It’s time to tackle the cause. However, drain and sewer repair is not a two-guy DIY project. Unlike you and your father-in-law, this Canberra-based plumber uses a range of tools and techniques to determine what’s causing the problem, whether it’s a dislodged pipe, corroded iron cast or a tree root invading through a clay joint. Fixing the cause once for all is definitely less expensive and stressful than dealing with the consequences and sewer cleaning bills every time.
In case you are faced with a drain clog, there are several solutions, but perhaps the most elegant and environmentally-friendly one is to use a bacterial drain cleaner. Unlike most chemical products, these cleaners are non-corrosive to pipes and safe for the environment on the other end of the sewer system. They contain a type of bacteria that breaks down organic matter in your drains. Available in drain and liquid form, when used as instructed, these bacterial cleaners are safe to use in all plumbing systems. It doesn’t get any greener than this.
Clean garbage disposer
Even if it doesn’t clog your drain straight away, food build-up debris in the disposer often causes foul odours in the kitchen. As a preventive measure, never put stringy and fibrous waste such as poultry skins, root veggies, celery and banana peels into the disposer. Also, make sure you flush some water down the drain before and after you use the disposer. If the odour still persists, try grinding some ice cubes and lemon rinds or pour a bit of liquid detergent while the disposer is still spinning. In both cases, finish off with a 30-second rinse with cold water.
Kitchen faucets, drains and the garbage disposal unit are the three main areas that need to be properly maintained in order to prevent unnecessary repairs and inconveniences.