Five tips: Refresh your plumbing before and after the holidays to avoid buildup in pipes

WHAT: If during the vacation people visit a part of your home that is not used very often, the first thing to do is refresh the water pipes, says a water quality researcher at Purdue University.

This is because the longer the water sits, the higher the concentration of metals that will build up in the water in your pipes. This water then comes out as soon as you turn on a faucet to brush everything from brushing your teeth to getting a glass of water.

The same applies if you come home from vacation after just three days.

Improper maintenance of house lines can have consequences. A recent report in Newark, New Jersey, found that widespread abuse of faucet and jug filters in the home may expose thousands of residents to high levels of lead in drinking water.

At you can find a YouTube video that explains how drinking water ages in plumbing.

A photo of a lead solder stuck in Whelton’s sink faucet aerator. If this lot had completely dissolved, the water lead concentration would have exceeded the American Pediatrics Association recommended exposure limits for children by more than 25,000 times. The US Environmental Protection Agency declares that no lead content in drinking water is safe. (Photo by Andrew Whelton) Download image

EXPERT: Andrew Whelton, Associate Professor of Civil, Environmental and Environmental Engineering at Purdue University studies how pipes affect water quality. To reduce the chances of your water having disease or other harmful effects, Whelton recommends five vacation installation tips:

  1. Update and clean your pipes. To freshen up your pipes, run the water on each faucet for at least five minutes to get cold and then hot water. To clean the pipe, remove the faucet aerators so that the water has a high flow. The faster the water moves, the better the pipe cleaning will be. Keep this in mind before guests arrive, after they return from vacation, and possibly even as an annual habit.
  2. Clean the faucet aerator. Sometimes dirt gets stuck in taps. This material can collect contaminants. Unscrew the aerators from a tap, e.g. B. from a kitchen and a sink to remove the residue.
  3. Replace expired water filters, if any. These devices can be attached to taps, under the sink, or in your refrigerator. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If filters are not routinely replaced, they can become sources of unhealthy water.
  4. Check the water softener. If you have a water softener, make sure there is enough salt. When the softener doesn’t work, minerals can build up in your pipes, which can cause devices to stop working at times. Mineral deposits slow the flow of water out of the faucets.
  5. Winterize plumbing work. Pipes can freeze in cold weather. Consider removing exposed pipes or pipes in uninsulated areas, such as pipelines. Insulate garages, for example, with foam tubing available from your local hardware store. Also ask the neighbors how they insulated their pipes. When warned of a polar vortex or other extreme cold, let the faucets drip to keep the water moving.

QUOTE: “If water doesn’t move through the house, it gets old. Old water can be bad water. In ancient waters, there are sometimes higher amounts of heavy metals and organisms that can cause disease. You can take simple steps to freshen up your plumbing and everyone will benefit. “

MORE INFORMATION: For more installation tips and resources offered by Whelton’s team, visit

Writer: Kayla Wiles, 765-494-2432, [email protected]

Source: Andrew Whelton, [email protected]

Note to journalists: A YouTube video is available at The video was created by Matthew Bolliger and Erin Easterling at Purdue College of Engineering. You can find additional multimedia content in a Google Drive folder at

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