Springtime in Central Ohio means it is time for festival season, trips to the #1 Zoo in the country and the Memorial Golf Tournament. It is also a good time for spring-cleaning and if you want to extend that, a good time for checking those inner workings of your home. Of course, we are talking about the plumbing.
Some of the most common areas to check include an inspection of your drains, gutters, and downspouts to ensure proper operation during those heavy spring rains. Make sure all areas are clear and free of debris that can build up over the winter months. Excess built-up debris can clog drains and gutters and turn it into a bigger problem: leaks, water damage, and mold.
Excess rain can also test another crucial item in your home: the sump pump. Make sure this little item is in prime operating condition. Most plumbing companies recommend homeowners install a backup sump pump with a battery. If the power goes out, that does not stop the rain from flowing in. To test it, pour a few buckets of water into the sump pit. Once the water hits the fill line, the pump should kick on and allow the water to flow out, and then turn itself off. If the pump continues to run, you have an issue as all the pump is doing at that point is recirculating the water. Time to call your local plumber.
Do a lot of gardening? You will most certainly want to check your hose bib. If you did not disconnect the garden hose last fall, the water supply tends to sit in the pipe and, if cold enough, freezes. When spring comes and the water thaws out, it can cause the hose to expand and crack. That is why it is so very crucial to check the outside hook-up and the pipe and hose underneath your home, typically in the basement. David Specht, CEO of The Waterworks, recommends that this be a two-person job. “Have one person stand outside when the water is turned on and the other in the basement near the hook-up. Once the water is turned on, a leak will be immediately detected,” commented Specht.
Some other quick checks include checking the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom for leaks. This can help you save water and money. Make sure that there are filters on drains. This will help prevent hair, soap and other substances that may block your drains.
Check your toilet for leaks. A fast and inexpensive way to do this is to put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If there is a leak, the food color will end up in the bowl within half an hour. In addition, do not forget to check out the bowl for any cracks or leaks. Also, make sure your toilets are flushing correctly. If you must hold or shake the handle, you need to replace those parts of the toilet. They do not cost a lot and in the end will save you money on your water bill.
Finally, clean your showerhead with vinegar to remove mineral deposits that can clog. Here is a little tip: take a Ziploc bag and fill it with white vinegar, then place the Ziploc bag over the showerhead and secure in place with few rubber bands. Let it sit 24 hours. The mineral deposits should breakdown and leave you with a sparkling clean showerhead.
Completing this inspection now will prepare your home for the heavy rains of spring and will help you discover ways to keep your plumbing in tiptop shape and save your money.