Each season brings its own set of household tasks and spring certainly has its share. While it’s okay to do little plumbing jobs around your home, the big plumbing projects are best left to the professionals. If you don’t know what you’re doing, messing around with your plumbing can result in serious damage, expensive repairs, not to mention possible health hazards your family.
Below are some “good” spring cleaning tips for the plumbing in your home:
- Clean drains, gutters and downspouts to make sure they are free of debris.
- Check plumbing vent pipes to make sure they are free of birds’ nests.
- Make sure your sump pump operates properly. Check the pump by pouring several buckets of water into the sump pit. If it’s working correctly, the pump will quickly turn on, discharge the water and then shut off.
- If you live in an area where sewers back up into homes, install a backflow valve in the floor drain which will prevent future backups.
- Check to make sure water flows freely from faucets and hose bibs. If the first time you turn on an outside hose the faucet drips or leaks inside your home, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs replacement.
- Looks for signs of leaks in exposed pipes under sinks and in your basement.
- Fix leaky faucets and save water (and money)!
- Check your toilets to make sure they don’t have hidden leaks. An easy way to check is through a simple food coloring test. First, remove the tank lid, then flush. Wait for the flapper to drop and the tank to refill, and then add several drops of dark food coloring. Wait 20-30 minutes and if you see any trace of color in the toilet bowl then there is a leak.
- Check to make sure all your drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap and other debris from clogging the drain lines.
- Check water supply valves under sinks and toilets to make sure they aren’t sticking.
- Check toilets to make sure they flush properly. If your toilet is running you may need to replace worn tank parts. These parts on not only inexpensive but can lower your water bill.
- Check your water heater to make sure the temperature is set no higher than 120°F. This prevents scalding and reduces energy usage.
- If you have a water heater over 15 years old, consider replacement. Newer water heaters are more energy efficient and will lower your monthly utilities.
- In infrequently used drains (and floor drains), pour a gallon of water to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering your house.
- Consider having slow floor drains snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.