Spring tips to keep your plumbing humming
Spring in Colorado: What a tricky time. It will be sunny one day and cold the next. The wind will howl on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon the sky will be so blue you’ll swear it’s the start of summer.
Spring, the time of new life and snow melt, is actually the perfect time to check up on the invisible workhorse that toils away for you night and day: your home’s plumbing.
Let’s revisit five sure-fire spring preventative maintenance tasks to tackle that will keep your plumbing humming along all year.
Check toilets for leaks
Be honest. Have you noticed the water turning on and off in your toilet tank for a while now? Even when you aren’t using a particular bathroom? It’s time to discover why.
Perhaps you haven’t heard your tank making noises. That’s great.
Leaks can be slow and small though, so you might want to perform the following test just the same. Toilet use accounts for as much as one quarter of the average family’s household water usage per year. If your toilet leaks, that’s a precious lot of water wasted every month.
Plus, an astounding one in five toilets in the U.S. leaks! Perform this simple test for peace of mind:
- Purchase a package of toilet leak detection dye tablets. Garvin’s of Denver, Fredrick, Firestone, Dacono, Greeley and Evans can provide them for you, or you can get them at your local hardware store.
- Remove the toilet tank lid.
- Open the dye tablet package. Drop the tablets into your toilet tank. The water will turn blue.
- Replace the toilet tank lid. Let the tablets dissolve for 10 to 15 minutes. DO NOT FLUSH!
- When 10 to 15 minutes have passed, return to your bathroom and check the bowl of your toilet.
- Is the water in the bowl any shade of blue? If yes, it means your toilet tank is leaking and wasting water.
- Call a plumber for help resolving the leak.
Check outside pipes and hoses
Once the snow melts, it’s time to start thinking about yard maintenance again. The first thing you might want to do is turn on your hoses and give your lawn and bushes a nice drink. Do it slowly.
As you start to turn the water back on to your hose bibbs, notice if they are leaking on the exterior of your home.
Take a careful look at the interior foundation walls of your house too. Are the walls and ceiling opposite your outside spigot wet? Is unexplained moisture dripping from the ceiling? If so, you may need the help of a plumber to avoid costly damage.
Examine your hoses and sprinklers. Have any heads broken off? Do auxiliary hoses have pin holes that are leaking and wasting water? Replace the heads and old hoses to prevent water waste.
Examine your sump pump
Your sump pump should be there for you when spring rains come and the water table swells. And because we live in Colorado, we can’t always predict when that’s going to be.
According to freshwatersystems.com, here are a few things to keep in mind when inspecting your sump pump:
- The average sump pump needs to be replaced after about 10 years.
- Really loud noises from your sump pit aren’t good. Pumps will make some noise. However, if your pump is whining, grinding or protesting and you can hear it upstairs, it may need to be repaired or replaced.
- Constant running is a bad sign. Continual pumping could mean part of your pump, such as a float switch, has stopped functioning properly. If your pump runs day and night for no discernable reason, it could wear out quickly. Get it checked by a professional.
To learn more about sump pumps, read this article.
Check your water meter
If your water bill is high and you haven’t increased your water usage, you might have a leak. You can check for possible leakage by checking your water meter.
First, locate the meter. It could be inside your house, outside the perimeter of your house or in your front yard. Here’s how to check it:
- Prepare: Turn off all water-using appliances in your house. Wait 30 minutes and proceed with checking your meter. Remember to tell your family not to use any water inside or outside your house for 30 minutes.
Collect things you might need for the test: a screwdriver (for prying), paper towel (for cleaning off the meter face) a flashlight (in case the light is low around your meter), light gloves (if you have a nice manicure), a notepad and pen.
- If you have an outdoor water meter pit, you may need to remove a nut to loosen the lid on the cover and remove the cover to look at the meter.
- Look at the large dial on the meter. Is the dial moving? If not, you may still have a tiny secondary dial that is spinning. If you see either dial moving and everything (including the sprinkler system) that uses water in your home is shut off, you may have a leak.
- Look at the numbers on your meter. Write them down on your notepad. Wait 30 minutes.
- Return to the meter after 30 minutes and note the numbers on your meter. Is the number higher than the first number you wrote down in step 4? You may have a leak.
Even a tiny leak can add up to hundreds of gallons a month in waste. Contact your local plumbing professional for help.
Consider drain and sewer cleaning
Roots from trees in your or your neighbor’s yard begin to seek out water at this time of year. The roots can invade your sewer line and cause clogs over time. Be proactive and call a local sewer cleaning service for preventative maintenance to clear the roots out of your main line before they become a long-term problem that requires a sewer line replacement.
Regular cleaning can also stop those really disruptive sewer line back-ups no one likes.
Establish a partnership
Garvin’s of Denver and Englewood provides sewer and drain cleaning, preventative maintenance and a full array of plumbing services. We can be your partners in establishing a plumbing maintenance routine as well as come to your aid when you need repairs.
While we do basic drain cleaning and sewer service, we also employ half-a-dozen service plumbers who replace faucets and toilets, repair leaks, winterize homes, repair and replace water heaters, install gas lines and more. Call today for an appointment or fill out our online form for a quote.