Spring is a time when many homeowners engage in maintenance tasks like spring cleaning and home renovation. It’s also a good time for homeowners to check up on their plumbing system to protect their home from clogged drains, leaks and water damage. Keeping up with this basic maintenance on a yearly basis can help keep your home functional throughout the year.
Perform a Water Heater Check-Up
You may have turned up the temperature on your water heater when the weather got cold this last winter. As a general rule, professionals recommend keeping your home’s water heater set to 120 degrees. Turning your water heater higher than the recommended setting can result in scalding and may also cut back the service life of your water heater.
While you’re turning down the temp, check your water heater for signs of corrosion and leaks. Look for puddles, rust or soot around the control panel. If you see signs of distress, contact a plumber to get a second opinion.
Don’t forget that water heaters may only last around 10 years. If your water heater is an older unit, consider having your heater tuned up annually by a professional.
Watch for Water Leaks Associated with Sprinklers and Outdoor Faucets
Outdoor pipes attached to sprinklers and faucets can easily freeze and break over the winter. When temperatures outside have thawed, watch your outdoor pipes for signs of water leaks. If you notice a water leak in your home the first time you turn on your hose or other faucets, this could be a sign that one of your pipes froze and broke over the winter.
Turn the Water Valves
Water valves can get hard to turn over time. Once annually, turn off the water valves in your home, then turn them back on just to keep the parts from becoming sticky.
Check Under Sinks and Supply Hoses
Take a look at your sinks and check the supply hoses that run to your dishwasher, clothes washer and other water-using appliances. Look for moisture, puddles, rust, corrosion and other warning signs of a leak.
Drain the Sediment from Your Water Heater
Sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater, which reduces the efficiency of the unit. Draining your water heater every year can extend the life of the appliance.
This chore make take an hour or two, depending on the water heater and whether or not you’ve done it in the past. If you’re not comfortable draining the water heater yourself, get a professional plumber.
Test the Toilets for Leaks
You can test your toilet for leaks by putting food coloring into the tank of your toilet. If the water in the bowl turns the color of the food dye within a half an hour, this is a sign that your toilet has a leak. Replacing the parts in the toilet tank will save you water and money this year.
Clean Gutters and Down Spouts
After a long fall and winter, your gutters and downspouts may be full of pine needles, leaves, twigs and other debris. Clean out your gutters and use a plumber’s auger to clear out your home’s downspouts. This will prevent leaks in your home and prevent water damage during spring showers.