Preparing for spring
In our previous post, we covered World Plumbing Day, which takes place on March 11. In keeping with the theme of looking ahead, we’re going to discuss how you manage your plumbing as the days become warmer. Just as you have to take a number of precautions for the winter, you have to be ready for a significant shift in the other direction. Once again, staying on top of the adjustment will prevent expensive and extensive repair.
Sump pump discharge blockage
If you’ve kept up with all of the winter safeguards, you probably won’t be too surprised by what goes into doing the same for the spring and summer. Let’s begin outside. If you have a yard, take a walk and inspect your sump pump discharge pipe. Chances are, over the course of the fall and winter, something may have come into contact with the pipe and clogged it. With further melting snow and, eventually, a lot of rain, you need to make sure the pump is clear.
Gutter and drain blockages
Check out the entirety of your property to ensure nothing is blocking a gutter or an outdoor faucet. Generally, you should be on the lookout for leaves and branches or displaced mud. Even if it’s a little early to turn the outer plumbing on, it’s worth keeping up with the system as it gets warmer and making a habit of monitoring it. Otherwise, make sure any storm drains are unimpeded and all of your downspouts are facing away from your home.
Indoor and outdoor faucets
Clean off your roof as well––in order to prevent blockages that can result in a leak from above. Once you’ve cleared any debris from your yard, it’s time to check the structural integrity of your faucets, indoor and outdoor. One by one, turn on each faucet with hot and cold water, respectively. If you haven’t used the faucets in a while, you can expect a momentary delay as air makes its way out of the system. After a few minutes, the pressure should be normal.
If, however, the pressure is lower than expected, you should call a plumber to see whether you’ve accumulated a leak over the winter. Shut off the water and see whether any pipes have cracks. This is even more likely if you didn’t prepare any of your pipes for the winter. In addition to a crack––as well as ones you may be unable to see, other signs of pipe decay include mold, moss, and discoloration.
Next, check your toilet for a leak. The way to do this is by adding a few drops of food coloring into the water tank and seeing, after a few minutes, whether any of it has ended up in the bowl. If this happens, call a plumber for an effective fix. If you have a septic tank, you should see whether you can find any unprecedented wetness in or on the ground around it. In the event you find considerable wetness, call a plumber for an evaluation and a repair.
Sump pump leaks and blockages
You should be checking your sump pump as the spring approaches and then once every 3 or so months after the first inspection. A lot of people are unaware of the importance of the sump pump and find their basement underwater before they even know there’s a problem. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to identify one. See if anything is blocking the outdoor drain, whether the pump or float valve are displaced, or if electrical wiring or the battery is damaged.
Flush your water heater
Finally, you need to flush your water heater. The more efficient your water heater, the lighter your water bill. Over the course of water moving in and out of the water heater, you can expect a regular buildup of sediment in the bottom. You should be draining the water heater once a year, so now is a good time for it. If you had your heater temperature higher for the winter, turn it to 120º or less. Lowering the temperature will also prevent overheating and scalding.