Spring is finally here! The weather is starting to look up a bit, and pretty soon the birds will be chirping as the replacement to the sounds of freezing rain hitting the windows. It’s officially time to do some Spring Cleaning! The gutters are clean, the windows are shimmering and all of your closets are finally organized – but how are your drains doing? A house isn’t truly spic and span until you tackle the sewer smell in the bathroom and give those leaky faucets and running toilets some love. Keeping your drains and plumbing clean can help avoid future water damage.
After a long winter’s use, your plumbing can truly use a little TLC and “freshening up” as much as the rest of your home. Making this kind of yearly maintenance a habit will help your plumbing fixtures and system to perform better for the rest of the year and last longer.
Below are some Spring Cleaning Tips to keep your faucets, drains, and plumbing in tip-top shape for Spring:
- 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, the 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 toilet tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
- Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from
- 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.
- Carefully drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater.
- 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 and will save you money on your energy bill!
- 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
- Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely.
- Check the water supply lines to your washing machine, faucets, toilets, and other water-using appliances or fixtures. If you see bulges, tears, or leaks, replace the lines.
- Clean out your washing machine lint trap.
- Give your garbage disposer a thorough cleaning and repair it if needed.
- Clean the traps beneath your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry sinks.
- Put mesh strainers over all of your drains to help prevent hair and other clogging debris from going down the drain.
- Clear your gutters, downspouts, and vent pipes on the roof.
- Inspect your pipes (or have your plumber inspect them) for leaks, damage, or anything unusual.
- Check your hose bibbs for leaks or damage and replace them if needed. If dripping continues after the spout is replaced, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs repairing.
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.