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Spring is here and the weather is unpredictable. When it is nice out, you might be working in your garden or doing home maintenance repairs. When it is not, then there is spring cleaning in the home to be done. Whether you are inside or outside, remember the plumbing. The weather might be unpredictable and so can be your plumbing. We have a few spring plumbing tips for inside and outside your house.
- Don’t forget to call 811 before you dig. We know you want to water any new plants, shrubs and trees you plant, but you don’t want that water coming from a broken water pipe in your yard! If you have any major repairs in your yard done or are planting flowers, shrubs and trees, one of the first things you need to think about are where the underground lines are located. Allow at least 72 hours to have the lines marked after calling 811. Marking the lines will keep you safe and avoid unnecessary damage.
- Check your yard for signs of unusually wet or soaked areas. Slow drainage can be the sign of something worse. When the rain is forming pools of water that are not draining into the ground properly, that could be a sign that you have a broken pipe. Unfortunately, you might have had some pipes crack from freezes in the winter and they have been leaking long before now. Now that the weather is warmer, go outside to check for moist areas along where your water pipes run from the street to the house.
- Verify suspected leaks. As we mentioned above, winter freezes can cause pipes to crack. Sometimes those cracks are not as obvious because you still have normal running water. The spring is a great time to double check that your lines are not leaking. Turn off any running water in the house. Check to make sure the outside faucets are also off. Go outside to your water meter. Open the lid and check the flow gauge. If nothing is running, the gauge should be completely still. Even a tiny movement on the gauge can be a sign of a leak. Now if you suspect a leak, turn off the main shutoff valve for the water in your home (typically near the water heater). Movement on the flow gauge when the shutoff valve is off is an indication that the leak is outside. If movement is on the flow gauge when the shutoff valve is turned on, then that is an indication of a leak inside.
- Often leaks inside come from your toilets. If you tested your water line for a suspected leak and had all your faucets off but still suspect an inside leak, try the test again by turning off your toilet. There is a knob for turning off your toilet behind it. If this stops the gauge moving at the outside water meter, then your leak is coming from the toilet.
- Speaking of toilets! We hope you did the above test and didn’t find any leaks. So now it is time to clean. When cleaning the toilet bowl, be careful not to scratch it. Spring is a good time to check your brush. Throw the toilet bowl cleaning brush away as soon as the bristles wear down and metal is showing. Once the bowl is scratched, it’s impossible to keep it clean, and you won’t be able to repair the scratches. A plastic brush is less likely to scratch the china.
- The smooth surface of your sinks and bathtubs are easy to clean but can still easily chip. Since spring is a time when many people plan home maintenance, fix your chipped sinks or bathtubs with a porcelain/sink chip repair kit. You can purchase a kit at most home or hardware stores in a range of colors.
- We have one last tip to give you to do before you are off to enjoy the outdoors. Drain your water heater. Over time your water heater can get sediment in it and become less effective. We recommend you drain the sediment from the tank every six months to a year.
We hope you have a wonderful spring season. And if you do find or suspect a leak, don’t delay. When plumbing is a concern, it is better to fix it now rather than have a worse problem later. Remember High Priority Plumbing is here to assist you with all your plumbing needs!