19 Sep Six Plumbing Maintenance Musts For Spring
Winter is hard on your plumbing pipes and appliances. After a chilly start to April, spring is finally here. As you and your family begin your spring projects, take a few minutes to examine your plumbing systems.
Though it is not exhaustive, we have provided this quick checklist to help you make sure your home is ready for spring and summer.
1) Check for Leaks
Pipe failures and leaks caused by extreme temperature swings in winter will decrease your home’s energy efficiency and can lead to major plumbing failures. Even small drips should be repaired as soon as possible. Make sure you check:
- Kitchen and Bathroom Sink Faucets
- Underneath Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks
- Plumbing in Basements and Crawlspaces
- Waterlines to Appliances
- Showerheads and Bathtub Faucets
Replace old hoses that show significant signs of wear. Additionally, if your shower heads are not leaking, but you notice that the flow of water is ineffective, soak the shower-head in vinegar overnight to remove mineral deposits.
According to the EPA, a single leaky faucet can waste as much as 3,000 gallons of water in a year. This translates to $200/per year literally going down the drain.
2) Examine Toilets
Malfunctioning toilets can waste as much as $70/month or $1,000 in a year. When examining your toilets, look for:
- Signs Toilets are Not Flushing Properly: Running toilets are a significant water waster. Make sure toilets flush and fill effectively and efficiently.
- Signs of Cracks in and Around the Bowl
- Signs of Leaks: To test toilet for leaks, add six drops of food coloring into the tank. When the toilet is flushed, you will be able to see food coloring around the base of the bowl if it is indeed leaking.
3) Check Shower, Bathtub, and Floor Drains
Make sure each sink, bathtub, and shower drain is functioning properly. Pour water over drains to test their effectiveness. If a drain is slow, have it snaked before it clogs completely. Furthermore, make sure each drain has a grate to prevent hair and other debris from clogging it in the future.
4) Test Sump Pump
If your home has a sump pump, you can test its effectiveness simply by pouring a gallon of water into the sump pit. If the sump pump is working properly, the pump will turn on in a few seconds, remove the water, and then disengage. If the pump does not disengage immediately, or the water is not removed, call a professional as soon as possible.
5) Maintain Your Water Heater
We have written about water heater maintenance extensively here. We recommend:
- Temperature should be set to 120 degrees. No higher or lower.
- Flush the system at least every six months.
- Check the sacrificial anode rod.
- Check for sings of leaks.
Proper water heater maintenance will increase your home’s energy efficiency; however, if you are considering replacing your water heater, call a professional to see if a tankless unit is right for your home.
6) Check Outdoor Plumbing
Finally, take time to examine and maintain your outdoor plumbing systems:
- Check outdoor faucets for sings of leaks.
- Check hose to make sure it has not broken or cracked over winter.
- Clean your gutters.
Gutters blocked by leaves and other debris can cause further damage to your home in heavy spring and summer thunderstorms. Water spilling out of gutters can damage roofing and siding, leading to wood rot and the development of harmful mold and mildew.