Plumbing systems provide pests with water, food, and hiding places. Do not forget that pests can cause damage and spread diseases even while out of view. You must be proactive in pest-control measures to keep the animals away from your plumbing system. The following measures should help you keep your plumbing system pest-free.
1. Prevent and Deal With Leaks
Both freshwater and drain leaks increase the risk of pest infestation. Freshwater leaks can attract pests since:
- Some pests live in water or moist areas.
- Some pests breed in water.
- Water softens organic materials and makes it easy for pests to attack and digest the materials. For example, ants and termites attack wet or softwood easier than dry wood.
Drain leaks also create moist environments, which attract pests for the same reasons as above. However, drainage leaks also contain organic wastes that pests feed on. Even the drain smells attract some pests, such as flies.
Below are some tips to prevent plumbing leaks in the house:
- Replace aging or worn-out plumbing pipes or installations, such as corroded pipes.
- Tighten all plumbing connections.
- Maintain safe plumbing pressure.
- Fix plumbing damages, such as broken drain lines, as soon as they occur.
- Insulate water pipes to prevent them from freezing.
Routine plumbing maintenance can take care of most of these issues.
2. Prevent Condensation
Anything that leads to pooling water or moisture issues can lead to the same problems as above. For example, you might think you have a plumbing leak while the issue is condensation. Condensation on plumbing pipes or appliances occurs when warm moist air meets cold plumbing surfaces and condenses.
Prevent plumbing condensation with these tips:
- Insulate your plumbing pipes and water tanks to separate the cold pipe from the warm air.
- Reduce indoor humidity.
- Use a dehumidifier.
- Dry water spills as soon as they occur.
- Prevent leaks.
- Do not dry clothes indoors.
- Ensure adequate ventilation.
A plumber can help you diagnose and deal with the condensation problem.
3. Prevent Slow Drains and Backups
As outlined above, drain backups comprise water and organic wastes that attract pests. Even slow drains that leave water standing in the sinks or on the floor (such as bathroom floors) attract pests.
Drain backups occur when something blocks the drain, and the wastes have nowhere to go. Backups usually start as slow drains. The slow drains turn into backups if you continue using your plumbing without solving the slow drains. For example, you might have drain backups if:
- Tree roots invade and block your drain lines
- Someone flushes dangerous objects down the toilet, such as toys or napkins
- Your drain lines collapse, for example, due to the aging or the weight of construction machinery
Use these tips to prevent drain backups:
- Regularly flush your drains with hot water and vinegar to remove accumulated debris.
- Keep tree roots away from your drainpipes.
- Do not flush things down the toilet other than human waste.
- Use drain guards on your floor drain to catch objects that might go down and block the drains.
- Replace aging drain lines before they collapse.
- Install a backwater prevention valve to ensure your wastes can only flow out of the house but not backward.
Act fast if your drains slow down or block. For example, you can use hot water, an auger, or a plunger to get the toilet water flowing. Call your plumber if your efforts do not work. Wastes will accumulate within the pipes and backup if you delay.