April showers bring May flowers - along with pesky spring cleaning chores that many of us put off last spring. As great as warmer weather is, your plumbing can take a hit with spring storms. There are some simple things you can add to your honey-do list this season that will not only ensure your plumbing functions properly but will help save you time and money year-round.
1. Check faucets for drips or leaks and make repairs to save water.
2. Make sure your toilet doesn’t have any hidden leaks. You can do this by adding six drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. If there is a leak, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
3. Inspect the toilet tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
4. Ensure all drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap and general debris from clogging the drains.
5. Make sure your toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a complete flush or jiggled to stop water from running, you may need to replace old tank parts. They’re inexpensive and will save you money on your water bill.
6. Ensure the temperature setting on your water heater is no more than 120°F to reduce energy use and prevent boiling.
7. Carefully drain several gallons from the water heater to flush out corrosion that causes sediment.
8. Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains to fill the trap and stop odors from entering the house.
9. Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old for a more energy efficient model.
10. Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for leaks.
11. Have your sewer line rodded.
12. Test your sump pump by filling it with three to four buckets of water and seeing how it reacts. If the pump turns on quickly, discharges the water, and then shut back off, the sump pump is working properly. On the other hand, if you’re seeing a delay in the pump switching on or it’s not clearing water out, there’s a problem that a professional plumber like Stephen’s needs to fix.
13. For Midwest spring storms, consider buying a battery backup sump pump if you haven’t already. It’s definitely worth the investment if your electricity goes out in a storm and your main pump won’t work.
14. Put in a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers back up into homes to prevent future backups.
15. Make sure your gutters, yard drains, and downspouts are clear.
16. Get rid of mineral deposits in your shower head by soaking the head in white vinegar overnight and scrubbing clean with an old toothbrush.