It’s spring-cleaning time, and while that may mean scouring the house, getting rid of old and unused items, and maybe even adding a fresh coat of paint to a wall or two, you should also remember your plumbing. The winter can do a number on pipes, fixtures, and even appliances, so our friendly Santa Maria plumbers have put together a list of spring plumbing tips to ensure your entire house is ready to go for the summer.
1. Clear Outdoor Drains, Gutters, and Downspouts
Winter storms (as few and far between as they are here on California’s Central Coast) and early spring wind can leave all kinds of sticks, twigs, and other debris accumulated on your roof and in your gutters and drains. Make sure all that debris is cleared out to prevent problems when the rains hit again.
2. Check Outdoor Faucets
While you’re outside, check all of your home’s outdoor fixtures. It can get cold around here, especially in the inland valleys and up in the hills. That means damage from frozen pipes can occur. If a leak seems to appear after turning on your garden hose, or the outdoor faucet only drips rather than flowing normally, you may have a cracked pipe on your hands. That could mean you’ll need a professional plumber on the job.
3. Drain and Inspect the Water Heater
It’s just good practice to give your water heater a once over every so often, and spring is as good a time as any to make that happen. Sediment can build up over time, which can cause corrosion, reduce efficiency and shorten its lifespan. While you’re at it, check the temperature setting; a good place to set it at is 120 degrees. For more water heater inspection tips, check out our blog on the topic.
4. Check for Hidden Leaks
What would be the point of all that spring cleaning if you’re just ripping out a bathroom floor because of a hidden leak you didn’t discover until it was too late? Check around your toilets, under your sinks and appliances, and hidden pipes in the basement or in walls for signs of water damage or the drip, drip of a slow leak. Toilet leaks especially can be tricky to discover. If it’s running every so often for no reason that could mean there’s a leak somewhere. Or, try putting some food dye in the tank, and if it shows up in the bowl after about 30 minutes, that’s another sign there’s a leak.
5. Time for a Root Inspection?
If you’re taking all the proper spring drain cleaning precautions and you’ve followed all our cleaning tips, but you’re still getting frequent clogs or backups, you might have a bigger, unseen problem.
Yes, roots can grow into the cracks or joints of sewer pipes in search of water and cause serious damage. Clay or concrete installed between 1920 and 1970 are especially vulnerable because they were not always water-tight when installed. That means roots can have room to grow freely into the pipes. Even the smallest leak or crack in your underground pipes will attract tree root growth.
If this is the case, it’s likely time for our plumbing pros to tackle this problem with a drain pipe inspection and cleaning.
If you have any more spring plumbing questions, our Santa Maria plumbers are always a call or click away.