Each new season brings its own set of home care tasks. When it comes to plumbing projects you are best to leave these tasks to the professionals. If you don’t know what you’re doing, messing with a plumbing system can result in not only serious damage and expensive repair bills, but potential health hazards.
Below are some good “spring cleaning” tips brought to you by the Plumbers of America.
- Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
- Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
- Ensure that all drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap and debris from clogging the drain lines.
- Inspect tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
- Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking.
- Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They're inexpensive and you'll notice a lower water bill.
- Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
- Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient.
- Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
- Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
- If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
- Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into homes. This device will prevent future backups.
- Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
- Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
- Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.