Winter is finally winding down here in Winnipeg, and warmer weather is on the way. After our notoriously cold and harsh winters, there could be a lot of unforeseen plumbing issues waiting to be found. To avoid any surprises, we’re giving you the 15 most important spring plumbing tips.
In all reality, you could do these at any time, but as spring is famous for spring cleaning and starting anew, think of this as your spring cleaning to do list.
1. Check faucets for leaks
Look at all your faucets, but especially the ones that might be at a higher risk of being exposed to colder temperatures, such as faucets in your basement, or outside.
If you see any leaks, make sure to repair them asap, as even the smallest leak can add up to big bucks if it goes unnoticed.
2. Check toilets for leaks
Known as the silent leaker, a toilet leak can go unheard for a long time, all the while tallying up a decent water bill. If you get your bill quarterly, as a lot of Winnipeg homeowners do, you’ll have a few months of water waste to pay. And guess, what? You’ll have to pay because it’s your fault for not noticing.
A great way to check if your toilet is leaking is to pour a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. Wait up to 30 minutes. During that time, if any of the food coloring makes its way into the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
3. Keep your drains clean
Look for anything that might be clogging your drains, such as hair, soap, and other debris. You can always be proactive and by some pipe-friendly drain unclogging liquid.
A good idea is to put strainers in your drains to prevent clogging.
4. Toilet bowl and tank
Do a visual test on your toilet bowl and tank for any cracks or leaks. Put your hands on it and gentle move it side to side to see if there is any give. If there is give, you may have to tighten the bolts holding it down or reseal around the base.
5. Water supply valves
Water supply valves under sinks and toilets tend to stiffen over time if they are not exercised. To prevent that, try exercising them so they don’t stick.
6. Toilet flush
Check that all your toilets flush with no problems. Some things to look out for are if you have to hold the handle down for a few seconds to get a full flush or if you have to jiggle the handle to get the water to stop running.
These toilet replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to replace. For a few bucks, you’ll see a big difference in your water bill.
7. Water heater temperature
The temperature on your water heater can have a financial impact as well as a comfort impact. You really don’t want the gauge more than 120°F, as this will prevent scalding and also reduce energy consumption.
8. Flush water heater tank
With time, sediment starts to build up in your water heater, which then reduces heating efficiency and also shortens your water heater’s lifespan.
With care, drain a few gallons from the tank to flush out sediment that causes corrosion.
9. One more year goes by
Time flies. It really does. Before you know it, your water is 12 or 15 years old and in need of replacement. A good idea is to perform regular maintenance on your water heater and have a certified, professional Winnipeg plumber check it out.
Remember that the first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.
10. Drain preventive maintenance
To prevent odour from coming into the house from less frequently used drains, pour a few gallons of water into the drain to fill the trap. If you notice the water drains slowly, try snaking it to make sure that it’s not clogged.
11. Check exposed piping
If you have any exposed piping either in the house or outside, check them for leaks and cracks.
12. Test your sump pump
If your home has a sump pump, you’ll want to test it to make sure that it’s going to work when it needs to. Pour some water into your sump pit. Your pump should turn on and discharge the water, then shut off.
If your sump pump doesn’t turn off or if it doesn’t turn on, you may have an electrical problem or need to replace the actual pump.
13. Backflow valves
A great idea for homes that are located in areas where sewers sometimes backup. By installing a back up valve, you are insuring that you won’t have the unpleasant experience of a sewer back up in the future. Plus, you might even get a discount on your home insurance.
14. Outside your home
Outside your home is just as important as inside. Check your yard drains, gutters and downsprouts to make sure they are free of debris.
15. Faucets and hose bibs
If you are using an outdoor faucet for the first time after winter, check inside your house for any visible leaks. Make sure that the faucets don’t drip. These signs may mean that you have a frozen pipe somewhere that could be cracked.
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