Like spring cleaning, the start of spring is a good reminder to check up on plumbing. And it often saves time to do your major cleaning and plumbing checks together. So here are some simple spring cleaning plumbing tips to help you save money, inconveniences, and possibly major water damage.
Special in Spring
A few of our tips are specific to the winter to spring switch outdoors.
Remove any temporary insulation from hose bibs and check all your outdoor faucets for leaks after opening and closing the valve a few times. If you have a sprinkler system, open its supply valve and check for leaks.
With warmer weather you can turn down the temperature on your water heater’s thermostat. That saves energy and extends the lifetime of the heater. While you’re at it, check for leaks and any signs of rust and corrosion. And even if you have a water softener an annual drain and flush is recommended.
Did You Know? A single small leak can easily waste 20 gallons per day, for a whopping 7,300 gallons in a year. So it pays to check from time to time.
These remaining spring plumbing tips cover items you should take care of at least once a year.
Check all your sink, shower, and tub faucets for leaks. Better still, shut off all water users (don’t forget things like ice makers) and compare water meter readings from a couple of hours apart. Your utility company’s website should have pictures and instructions for the type of meters used in your area. If there’s a change there’s a significant leak somewhere.
Inspect the flex connections to toilets, sinks, dishwashers, and water heaters for leaks. While you’re at it, open and close their shutoff-valves. That helps keep them from jamming and makes sure they’re working should you need them in an emergency. Likewise the main shutoff valve often jams after several years, so give it a close-and-open as well. The same goes for any faucets and taps that you rarely use.
Did You Know? Burst washing machine hoses are one of the main causes of home flooding. Immediately replace any that are cracked or bulging. Replace rubber-only hoses with more durable ones having a steel sheathing. And even those should be replaced every 5-10 years.
Are your toilets flushing properly? Or have you gotten in the habit of ignoring a problem. A leak from the tank to the bowl can waste a lot of water, and cause the noise of frequent refills. To test this, put about a half-dozen drops of food coloring into the tank and wait a half-hour. Has any color made it into the bowl? If so, there’s a leak. This makes a pretty cool experiment for kids.
Pour a gallon or so of water into infrequently used sinks and floor drains. That checks drainage and fills the “trap” that blocks sewer gases.
Clean mineral buildup from your shower heads for more enjoyable showering.
Did You Know? You don’t need any special calcium or lime cleaners for this. Regular vinegar will do. But it takes a full day, so put it in a plastic bag and attach the bag with rubber bands.
If you have a flood alarm or sump pump, test them. If you don’t, consider installing them.
While you’re in plumbing mode, consider upgrading to ultra-low flow toilets, shower heads, and faucets. Or even a high-performance or tankless water heater.
ASAP Plumbing & Drains Spring Cleaning for Plumbing
If all this seems like a bit too much we can provide an annual inspection and maintenance service, including the hot water heater drain and flush recommended by manufacturers.