No matter how hesitantly it has come, spring is officially here, and it will soon be time to start spring cleaning. This can include a much-needed cleaning and maintenance of your plumbing. You may need to perform repairs as well, as appliances may have had to work extra hard this winter, or pipes that froze earlier may have now cracked. When it’s time to deal with your plumbing, here are some tips so you can enjoy a disaster-free, energy efficient spring.
Your Kitchen & Bathroom
You can start by ensuring that your faucets and drains are in good working condition. First examine faucets to see if any of them are dripping or leaking, and perform any necessary repair work now to save on the next water bill. Then you can double check that every drain has a screen on it to keep out soap scum, hair, and other materials that can clog your drains. Find the water supply valves under every sink and toilet and move them back and forth. That way they won’t be stuck when you actually need to shut off the water supply. Finally, the plumbing in your bathroom will require some additional maintenance:
- Run a test to see if your toilets have any leaks. Put six drops of food coloring into the toilet tank, then check the toilet bowl 30 minutes later. If you see any color in the bowl, you have a leak that needs to be fixed.
- Look at the tank and bowl itself to see if you can find any crack or leak.
- Check that every toilet is flushing well. If you have to repeatedly move the handle or press down the whole time, consider replacing any old tank parts. It’s a cheap fix that can improve your water bill.
- Give your shower head a good cleaning to clear out mineral deposits. Remove it and submerge it in a vinegar solution, or get a plastic bag filled with vinegar and secure it over the shower head using a rubber band. Leave overnight, then follow up by carefully scrubbing with an old toothbrush.
Caring for Your Appliances
After working hard over the winter, your water heater likely needs some maintenance. In fact, if you have an older water heater (one that’s been around for over 15 years), you may want to replace the heater altogether. That way you will have a water heater with greater energy efficiency. You can tell how old your heater is by looking at the first four numbers on the serial number, which give you the month then the year of manufacture. Here are some further water heater tips:
- Clean out your water heater, flushing out the water and any mineral buildup that is slowing your heater down. This will also boost energy efficiency. You can also find instructions on the manufacturer’s site.
- Double check that anything flammable is kept well away from the water heater and furnace.
- Ensure that the water heater is set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, for safety and energy reasons.
Then your dishwasher and washing machine need some attention too:
- Inspect the supply hoses for each of these appliances; look out for any bulging or leaking. If a hose looks to have weakened, or if a hose more than 10 years old, you’ll need to get a new one. If you can, install stainless steel hoses for the replacements, as these will usually last longer. Do the same for the supply hoses to your ice maker.
- Give your washing machine’s lint trap a cleaning, if it has one. Put a wire trap or section of pantyhose over one end of the washer’s draining hose.
From gutters to downspouts, from plumbing vent pipes to yard drains, give your exterior plumbing a once-over:
- Check for and clean out any debris building up in your yard drains, gutters, and downspouts. Leave all of these opened.
- Inspect your plumbing vent pipes to see if there is anything clogging them, such as newly built bird nests.
- Go to every faucet and hose bib to see that water comes out well. If one of these faucets drips, or if there is leaking inside your house when you turn a hose on, this means that you might have a burst pipe. You need to get a replacement pipe as soon as possible.
Tips for Everything Else
Here are tips for just about anything else that has not yet been covered, such as plumbing in your basement, sump pumps, and more:
- Go over the exposed pipes in your basement and under sinks, looking for any leaks.
- Take a gallon of water and send this down drains that are seldom used, such as floor drains, so that the trap will fill up and odors will be swept away from your house.
- If your sewers can back up into your house, put a backflow valve into any floor drain, which should keep you from experiencing any more backups.
- Take a few buckets of water out to a sump pump, if you have one, and pour these down the sump pit, just to make sure it’s working well. This means the pump should activate, release water, and then turn back off.
- Watch for slow leaks by looking at the water meter before you go to bed, and then don’t use the water again. When you get up in the morning, check the meter to see if the reading changed at all. If it did, you need to hunt down and fix a leak.
- Finally, set up flood alarms. This battery-operated alarm goes off whenever it encounters water, which could give you a heads up about a leak or flood.
Call an experienced plumbing technician today!
If you need to replace a cracked pipe, to diagnose a mysterious plumbing problem, or to solve a plumbing emergency, you can find the expertise you need for these issues and more when you contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc. Our team of Kansas City plumbers has more than 45 years of experience you can rely on. No problem is too small or too big for us to handle. We also offer emergency services, even in the evening or during the weekend. Get a quote when you call our office today!