We know… plumbing projects are not the most fun job, but it’s one that is well worth it! Tackling these spring plumbing maintenance musts will help you avoid unnecessary hassles, inconveniences, and expenses down the road.
Spring Plumbing Maintenance Musts
1. Start with the Kitchen and Bathrooms
The kitchen and bathrooms are among the most frequently used rooms in the house. And, of course, given the plumbing elements present in each, it is a logical place to start your to-do list:
- Check for leaks and drips. Over time, these can result in increased water and utility bills. If you need help fixing them, give Barlow Plumbing a call.
- Put strainers in your sinks and shower to catch debris, hair, soap, scraps, etc., from clogging your drains.
- Flush your toilet and see if you have to hold the handle down to get it to flush or jiggle it to stop the tank from running. Often, these are signs of inexpensive parts that are worn. A simple repair will usually get it back up and running properly.
- Add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank. Why? Science experiment? Fun? No, it has practical use! If you see the color in the bowl in 30 minutes or so, you know that your tank is leaking. Again, this is a relatively inexpensive fix that a plumber can do quickly.
- Clean your showerhead. There are a few easy ways to do this. You can take it off and soak it in vinegar, or if that is not possible, fill a baggie with vinegar and place it over the showerhead. Secure it with a rubber band or a hairband if you have one handy.
Soak it overnight and use a toothbrush to gently remove mineral deposits. Note: Special finishes may change color if submerged in vinegar so use caution! Spot test first or call the manufacturer to get directions before cleaning with anything other than mild soap and water.
2. Check Your Water-Using Appliances
Time to check out your water heater, dishwasher, and washing machine to ensure they are in tip-top shape.
Your water heater has been working hard all winter. Take a few minutes to inspect it:
- Check your temperature setting using a thermometer. If it’s higher than 120 degrees, turn it down a bit to prevent scalding and to keep energy use in line. Cauton: Before adjusting thermostats, check the manufacturer’s instructions for doing so, AND be sure the power is OFF. Electric water heaters are HIGH-VOLTAGE.
- After a long winter, your tank may have built-up sediment, which can cause corrosion. Drain several gallons from the tank to flush this out. It may help boost energy efficiency and lengthen the lifespan of your water heater. Check your manufacturer’s instructions or give us a call; we’re happy to flush it for you.
- If your water heater is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it.
Now, onto your dishwasher and washing machine:
- Check the hoses in these appliances. Make sure they do not have leaks and bulges in the supply hoses.
- If hoses appear worn or are older, replace them. Stainless steel is more durable and reliable. If you have sand in your well water, please note that there are screens inside the hoses and/or the inlets on these appliances that should be cleaned periodically to ensure full water flow.
3. Tackle All-House Plumbing Projects
Some other spring plumbing maintenance must-dos:
- Flush drains that are not frequently used. These drains can cause odors in the house. To prevent this, pour a gallon of water down drains you do not use frequently.
- Snake any floor drains to keep them clear.
- Check pipes in your basement for signs of leaks and wear.
- If you have a sump pump, pour a few gallons of water into the pit. This should cause the pump to come on immediately. It will discharge the water and then turn off. If it doesn’t, give us a call.
- Test for slow leaks. How? Take a look at your water meter before bed - and then don’t use the water! The next morning, take another reading. If there is a discrepancy, you may have a slow leak somewhere. Barlow Plumbing’s experienced plumbers can diagnose and fix these for you so you can save water and money.
4. Get Outside!
It’s spring; we all want to get outside and enjoy ourselves. While you do, knock a few tasks off your list:
- Check for leaks in your outdoor faucets and spigots (and in their inside water sources). VERY important to remember: did you leave a water hose attached to the outdoor faucet this winter? If so, the outside faucet may have frozen and broken INSIDE THE WALL.
IF IT DID, you may not see this and when used, due to outside faucet design, it could leak unseen in the wall of your home, basement, crawl space, etc., and cause extreme damage. Check it carefully before using it!
- Check your garden hoses for leaks. It’s better to start the season off right, and not wasting this precious resource (or running up your bill unnecessarily).
- Clean gutters, downspouts, and yard drain of leaves, debris, and gunk that’s built up over the winter.
- If you have a sprinkler system, leak for leaks. Some signs that you have a problem include sunken patches, bubbling water, pooling water, and dead spots on your lawn.
Don’t have time to take care of spring plumbing maintenance tasks? Need help with bigger jobs, such as leak repair or water heater replacement? Contact Buncombe County’s most trusted plumber. Barlow Plumbing is just a call away; we’ll cut your to-do list down to size so you can get out and make the most of the warm weather!