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Springtime Plumbing Checkup

Finally, spring has arrived and along with her fresh rays of sunlight comes the annual ritual of “Spring Cleaning”. Yes, it is that time of year where we all go through our homes dusting… cleaning… fixing… mending all those items that winter has taken its toll on. This is also the best time of year to ensure that your home’s plumbing systems are working properly… not leaking… and possibly inflating your already oversized water bill or causing unforeseen damage to your property. So, in an effort to assist your family with this year’s Spring Cleaning, we have outlined a few areas to inspect plumbing wise that my help easy your mind and easy the stress upon your pocketbook:

  1. Check your home’s faucets for drips and leaks. Make repairs where necessary.
  2. Make sure strainers are installed above all drains to prevent hair, soap and debris from accumulating inside the drain lines.
  3. Check toilets for concealed/slow leaks. Simply add a few drops of food coloring to the water inside the toilet tank and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. If there is a leak, the color will appear in the toilet bowl.
  4. This is also a great time to address those irritating flush issues… i.e. having to hold the handle down to completely flush or jiggling the handle to stop the flow of water. Replace any worn parts that maybe causing these issues. Most of these parts are inexpensive, easy to install and make a large impact on your water bill.
  5. Unscrew old shower heads that are clogged with mineral deposits. Soak them in vinegar overnight and then scrub away the crusty deposits with an old toothbrush.
  6. Ensure that your water heater is set no higher than 120°F. This helps prevent accidental scalding and reduces your home’s energy consumption.
  7. Inspect your water heater’s date of manufacture (This should be the tank’s first four digits of the serial number, month and year). If this date is older than 15 years, consider purchasing a newer, more energy efficient water heater.
  8. Carefully drain out a few gallons of water from your heater’s tank. Make sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting this. Doing this will help flush out energy reducing sediment that can accumulate at the bottom of the tank.
  9. Inspect dishwasher, washing machine and ice makers supply hoses for swellings, bumps, knots or leaks. Replace any hoses showing signs of damage, aging or with a manufacture date older than ten years. Whenever possible replace with stainless steel hoses.
  10. Check to make sure your washing machine’s drain is not accumulating lint.  Some newer washing machines have lint traps; ensure that the trap is clean.
  11. Pour water down seldomly used drains to fill the trap. This helps stop foul odors from entering the house through unused drain pipes.
  12. Inspect the pipes under sinks, beneath the home or in the basement for any leaks.
  13. For homes with a sump pump, test that the pump is working properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. If it is functioning properly, the pump should quickly engage, drain the water and shut itself off.
  14. Clean out any debris affecting yard drains, gutters and downspouts.
  15. Lastly, check for any unseen leaks by recording your water meter’s reading just before bedtime. In the morning, before any water is used, check to see if the reading has changed. If there is a difference between the two readings you may have a concealed leak that needs to be addressed.

Taking the time to check these few areas each spring will help you identify many minor plumbing issues before they become larger plumbing concerns. If you do happen to experience a plumbing problem or just have a question, contact us. We have been serving the Seattle area since 1964 and look forward to helping your family experience many more beautiful springs in the Evergreen State.

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