Prevent plumbing problems
Keep your house in tip-top shape this winter with regular maintenance and a routine check of your pipes, drains and appliances.
No one wants to deal with a plumbing problem - they can be messy, inconvenient and downright annoying! What’s more, plumbing problems have the potential to turn into an insurance claim.
With some forward thinking, there are ways you can help keep your home in tip top shape and prevent the need to make a claim. The beginning of winter is a great time to do a routine check before small problems turn into big problems.
Here are some tips to help prevent damage to your home from leaks, blockages, and water waste.
Drains and rubbish disposal
For the kitchen:
- Never pour oil or grease down the drain (or any drain, for that matter).1
- Don't wash food down the kitchen sink (unless you have a food waste disposer). Even small pieces of food can clog up over time.
- Depending on the type of food, alternative methods of disposal include composting, using a sink strainer, or using a food scrap bin.
- If you do have a food waste disposer, the good news is that most scraps can go in, as long as you use a fair amount of water at the same time.2
For the bathroom:
- Throw only toilet paper in the toilet. Never dispose of sanitary items, paper towels, nappies, or wet wipes down the toilet - these can cause major blockages.
- Try not to wash stray strands of hair down the sink, as this can build up over time and block the drains.
- Remove any stray strands of hair from the shower after each wash, and clear hair out of the shower trap regularly.
Hot water cylinders
When they're hidden inside a cupboard, it's easy to forget that hot water cylinders need maintenance and replacing, just like any other appliance. Consider replacing your cylinder if it's over 20 years old, if it's slow, or if you’re not getting a sufficient amount of hot water from it. A new, more energy efficient cylinder will help save on costs. If it's got some life in it yet, regularly check for any leaks around the pipes and valves.3
Check for leaking taps
Do any of your taps continue to drip water even when they're turned off? If so, you may have a leak (and a much higher water bill!).
Check for leaking pipes
Check the pipes connected to your appliances, such as your washing machine and dishwasher. Not only will leaks contribute to a higher water bill, but they could also cause moisture damage to your home, which could turn into a very mouldy problem.4
Gas and heating
If you have any gas appliances or heating systems, call in a professional to get them serviced each year. Just before winter kicks in is a great time. Keeping them well maintained makes sure they're safe for use, can extend their lifespan, and keep them energy efficient.5
Avoid frozen pipes
If your home is in a colder climate, like the central North Island or South Island, these ones are for you!
- Pipes that are exposed to harsh winter weather or aren't protected by insulation are at risk of freezing.6 If temperatures drop to near or below zero, you could briefly turn on your faucets - just a little bit - to get some water flowing and melting any ice along the way. If you do get frozen, ruptured pipes - it's time to shut off the water supply and call a plumber.
- If you own a holiday home and the house is empty during winter, it could be a good idea to drain the outdoor pipes to prevent them from freezing.6
Has a leak caused damage?
If you have house insurance with Tower, we may contribute to the cost of the repair of damage to your home caused over time by a leak or overflow from an internal water pipe, hose, or tank.* You can learn more about what gradual damage means for your house policy here.
Regular checks and maintenance can be super useful for preventing future plumbing problems, damage, and claims. If you makeit a habit to check these at the start of each season, your house will thank you for it!
Looking for other smart tips? Take a look at our "Dryer safety: Protect your home and belongings" blog for more handy tips on how you can prevent damage to your home and belongings.
*Terms, conditions, exclusions and limits apply. Please read your Tower policy wording to understand these conditions.