If you're like most homeowners, you breathe a sigh of relief when the cold weather ends and you haven't suffered a burst pipe or any other winter-related plumbing issues. However, before you turn your attention to other areas of your home that need some TLC, don't overlook the problems that could arise in your plumbing during the spring. Here are a few plumbing spring cleaning tips to help ensure your system continues to work properly throughout the rest of the year:
Start in the Basement
If you've ever suffered from a springtime flood in the basement, you know how devastating the damage can be. This is why your spring plumbing inspection and cleaning should begin in the basement.
From a minor leak to a major sewer back-up, here are some plumbing tasks you should tackle in the basement:
Grab a flashlight and check all the exposed plumbing in the basement for leaks or other damage. If the damage isn't severe, there are many DIY options to remedy the problem, such as installing a coupling or replacing the pipe. However, if the damage is extensive, contact a plumber to discuss your options.
Speak with your plumber about flushing your water heater. Overtime, minerals found in your water will build-up in your heater's tank, leading to a loss of efficiency and several other issues.
Ask your plumber to install a backflow valve on your basement's floor drain – especially if you live in an area that is prone to springtime flooding. The backwater valve works by detecting the change in the direction the water is flowing. If water begins flowing back into your basement, such as during a flood of if there's an obstruction in your sewer line, the valve automatically shuts down any connection to the main sewer system.
If you have a sump pump, spring is the best time of year to test the unit. According to the North Dakota State University, the easiest way to check your sump pump is pouring water down the unit. Listen for the sump pump to turn on and if it doesn't, contact a plumber to have the unit repaired or replaced.
Check the Kitchen and Bathroom
Once you're finished examining the basement, it's time to move to the kitchen and bathroom. Check the exposed plumbing under the sinks in both the kitchen and bathroom. If you notice any leaks or other damage caused by frozen water, contact your plumber to have the pipes replaced.
While in the kitchen, check the water lines attached to the dishwasher and refrigerator. These pipes can also suffer damage during the winter. If you notice any cracks or bulges, talk with your plumber about having them replaced. Your plumber might recommend replacing the water lines to these appliances and your washing machine with stainless steel models, which are less prone to damage and leaks.
A Simple Trick to Test For Leaks
You've inspected and repaired all the exposed plumbing found throughout your home. However, what if there is a leak that you cannot see, such as behind a wall, that could be causing damage and costing you money?
To check if there is any unexplained water usage in your home, begin by checking your water meter before bed. Make note of the reading and head to sleep, making sure to avoid using any water during the night. The next morning, check the water meter again and if the number is higher, you might have a leak somewhere in your home.
With the help of your plumber, you can easily and inexpensively locate any hidden leaks inside your home. The process only takes a few hours, and you'll be amazed at how much of a difference fixing the leak will have on your home's water bill.
For many Americans, springtime is all about performing all the home maintenance and cleaning that couldn't be done during the winter months. If you're amongst this group, don't forget to add plumbing services to the already long list of chores you will tackle every spring!