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Your Appliances and Your Plumbing

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - 2:28am

When you picture your plumbing system, you likely imagine pipes, drains, and faucets; you may even picture your toilets, your disposal, or your water heater. However, there are several other appliances in the home that make use of its plumbing system as well, including refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and sump pumps. Understanding how these appliances are tied to your plumbing system, as well as the problems they can cause and how to keep them running smoothly, will help you prevent issues such as water waste and hidden leaks that may lead to water damage in your Vancouver home.

Hard Water and Your Appliances

Hard water can affect your home in many ways. When your water contains a significant percentage of dissolved minerals, it can cause more rapid deterioration of your plumbing pipes, as well as clog fixtures and faucets. Hard water will also affect your other water-using appliances—it will often clog the nozzles in your dishwasher, reducing its efficiency and requiring you to clean the appliance much more often. Mineral buildup inside your sump pump could clog it and cause it to fail, which may result in flooding if this appliance isn’t able to activate in the event of an emergency. Hard water may also cause limescale buildup on the heating element of your washing machine that will shorten the lifespan of this component and cause the washer to use much more electricity than is necessary to heat water for clothing loads. Even if you don’t mind the other effects of hard water on your lifestyle, it’s important to consider how hard water can damage your plumbing and your appliances. Installing a water softening system can help you save money every day by reducing the strain on your appliances, as well as prolonging their functional lifetimes and lowering the likelihood of a major breakdown.

Your Appliances and Leaks

Appliances can develop leaks that affect your water bills and cause water damage. Burst washing machine hoses are one of the most common causes of major flooding in the home, but small, hidden leaks around the plumbing attachments for your washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator can cause problems as well. As your water heater reaches the end of its life, it may develop leaks in the storage tank—the water damage resulting from such a storage tank leak can become extensive if it is not caught for some time. Identifying where your appliances’ plumbing hookups are located and checking these areas regularly for signs of leaks such as condensation, dark streaks, or mold can help you identify a leak soon after it occurs to minimize the cost of wasted water and any damage done to your home. If you aren’t sure how to check your appliances for leaks, your Vancouver plumber can show you during his next service visit.

Appliances and Water Usage

Your appliances also play a significant role in the amount of water your home uses. Older appliances tend to use more water than newer ones, which can affect both your utility bills and the strain placed on your drainage system, including your sewer line. If your appliances use filters, clogged or missing filters can also put your plumbing at risk for drainage issues or even wastewater backups and flooding. Keeping your appliances in good shape and replacing them as they begin to wear out can help you use water more responsibly and reduce the overall strain on your supply pipes and drains for a healthier, more efficient home plumbing system.

Have you ever experienced an appliance-related plumbing problem?

  • I’ve had to replace several appliances due to hard water problems.
  • We’ve had a washing machine hose burst and cause a major flood.

I’ve never had a problem, but now I’ll be on the lookout for potential issues!

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