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  • Do not pour fats or cooking oils down the drain as they will harden in the pipes and create clogs.
  • Make sure that all drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap and debris from clogging the drain lines.
  • Sewer lines should be inspected at least once every 3 years to check for any bellies, breaks or roots in the line.
  • Sewer line backups and floods can be extremely harmful to your health and can cause excessive damage to your home.

Disposals (Garburators)

  • Never put hard-to grind waste into the disposal (ex., chicken skins, bones, carrots, celery or banana peels) as they will clog the drain.
  • Run cold water down the drain for about 15 seconds before and after using the disposal to flush waste down the main line.
  • Turn on the disposal before adding food waste.

Dishwasher and Washing Machine

  • Run your dishwasher and washing machine only when full at night or at off-times to conserve water temperature and pressure.
  • Check all supply hoses for bulges, leaks or signs of weakness.
  • Clean out your washing machine lint trap and put a wire trap or a piece of pantyhose over the end of the hose that drains the washer.
  • Check to make sure that all connections are tight and leak-free.


  • Never flush cotton swabs/balls, hair, facial scrub pads, diapers, sanitary products or similar items down the toilet.
  • Inspect the tank and bowl for cracks or leaks
  • Check around the base of the toilet for signs of water damage (rolled vinyl, black or white stains)
  • Make sure the toilets flush properly.  If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running, you may need to replace worn tank parts.  They are inexpensive and this will help reduce your water bill.

Floors, Sumps and Walls

  • Slow floor drains should be snaked to make sure they will carry away waste fast if there is a flood.
  • If you have a sump pump, make sure it works by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  • Check for leaky or loose wall tiles by pressing on them where they come in contact with the bathtub.  If the wall is soft, there might be some water damage.

General Water Lines

  • Check under all sinks and water lines to look for rusted fittings, green calcium build-up or leaks.
  • These are signs of a disaster waiting to happen – i.e. water damage to counters or flooring.

Hot Water Tanks

  • Check the temperature setting on the hot water tank.  It should be set no higher than 120F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  • Carefully drain several gallons from the hot water tank to flush out corrosion causing sediment which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater.
  • Consider replacing a hot water tank more than 15 years old.  A rusty tank is a sign of pending problems.  Newer tanks are more energy efficient.
  • Make sure flammables are not stored near the hot water tank or furnace.


  • Know where all your shut-off valves are located.
  • Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking.

Main Water Shut-off valve

  • Your home’s plumbing system can have hundreds of different valves, but knowing the location of just one can prevent thousands of dollars in damage to a home.  The main shut-off valve is your key source of defence from major water damage to your house.
  • The main water valve controls the flow of all water into your home and must work properly to prevent disaster.


  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open and free of debris.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely.  If an outdoor faucet drips or if it leaks inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.
  • Standing water is a common problem caused by a leaky or broken pipe.  Excess water in a yard may mean a damaged sewer line and may contain waste from the home.  This is very unhealthy for children and pets, and is a breeding ground for insects and germs.
  • Drain tiles, storm sumps and catch basins should be serviced once every year (depending on the age and condition).  Scheduled hydro-flushing is strongly recommended for preventative maintenance of your drain tiles. Damaged drain tiles are the main cause of flooding in our homes and regular maintenance should never be overlooked.
  • To avoid severe flooding if a plumbing problem were to occur, find the main water valve which is usually located at the lowest level of you home near the street, then test the valve to make sure if turns off properly.
  • Hang a large tag labeled main valve from the valve handle to make sure all members of your household can find it before a flood sets in.
  • If the home will be empty for a prolonged period of time, it is a good idea to shut off this valve before leaving in order to avoid a plumbing problem whilst you are gone.
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