Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Plumbing Tips for Spring
Guest contributor Patricia Bonacorda

As spring approaches, it is time to get ready for warmer weather. There are plenty of items to check both inside and outside of the home. Here are some fast and easy ways to prevent plumbing problems from occurring after the seasons have changed.

Exterior Home Prep

Clean the gutters: It is important to head to the roof and clear out the gutters and downspouts. Throughout the winter, debris builds up which can lead to clogs. These blockages may cause water damage, mold growth or costly leaks. Cleaning out the area will prevent these problems.

2. Examine the sump pump: Spring can be a rainy time, so it is essential to make sure the sump pump is in working order. To test the pump, you’ll have to pour some water into the pit. The pump should start after a few seconds, eliminate the water and shut back off. If this does not occur, it is important to contact a plumber. This will prevent the pump from burning out.

3. Check the outside hose bibs and faucets: When the ground thaws, one should check outdoor faucets for drips and leaks. A pipe may have frozen over winter and will need to be repaired. Look here for guidance if you need to replace one.

Interior Home Prep

1. Examine toilets: It is vital to check a toilet for leaks. To do this, drop some food coloring into the tank and wait an hour to see if the bowl water changes color. If that happens, it means the toilet is leaking. This can waste a great deal of water and raise monthly water bills. A plumber can easily fix the problem. Also, it is important to make sure the toilet is properly flushing. If it is necessary to wiggle the handle, it’s time to replace one or more of the parts inside the tank — they’re usually inexpensive.

Clean the showerhead: Many homes have water filled with minerals that deposit over time. Vinegar can be used to open the clogs in a showerhead and return it to like-new condition. Fill a plastic bag with vinegar and secure it around the showerhead. After soaking overnight, the mineral deposits should be gone.

3. Tend to drains: It is essential to make sure all drains have strainers that prevent clogs. Bathroom pipes can collect hair and soap, and kitchen pipes may collect pieces of food. These can lead to blockages that must be opened by a plumber. For the do-it-yourself person, try these methods on how to clean and unclog drains without the use of chemicals or fancy tools.

4. Inspect all pipes: Bathroom and kitchen sinks often have pipes you can easily see by opening the cabinets underneath. It is vital to inspect all pipes for leaks. Replacing damaged pipes will avoid expensive water damage.

5. Check the washing machine and dishwasher: The washing machine and dishwasher are two appliances that contain many hoses. Check for bulges or leaks in these hoses, and if there are any signs of weakness, or if the items are older than 10 years, it is wise to replace them. This will avoid messy leaks.

6. Inspect the water heater: It is essential to make sure the water heater's temperature setting is not above 120 degrees. This will prevent scalding and save energy. Also, when a home has a conventional tank-style appliance, it is important to drain a few gallons and flush away sediment that builds. This sediment causes corrosion and lowers efficiency. A tankless water heater should be flushed to remove deposits as well. Read and watch a video on the importance of water heater safety here.

The above tips are just a few easy ways to get your home ready for spring. Checking these things will help avoid costly water and repair bills, and certain items may be easily fixed without help. However, if the repairs seem too difficult, a qualified plumber will be able to solve the problem quickly and efficiently.

Author Bio:
Patricia Bonacorda is the President of Spartan Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, a plumbing and HVAC company that has assisted commercial restaurants and residential homes since 1964. Spartan Plumbing is a licensed, bonded and insured business that has provided professional plumbing, heating and air conditioning services throughout the DC Region.

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