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Spring Cleaning for Your Plumbing

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 10:15am

When you think of spring cleaning, you likely envision vacuuming your floors, washing your windows; cleaning out your closets, drawers and cupboards; and re-organizing the garage. However, after a long winter, your plumbing could use a little spring cleaning, too! Taking a little time out of your regular spring cleaning routine to care for your plumbing has several benefits, including lower water bills during the summer and a reduced risk of developing a problematic clog or leak that needs a professional fix.

Check and Clean Outdoor Drains

Drains such as yard drains, garage drains, and driveway drains rarely garner attention. However, these drains can develop clogs in the same way as your indoor drains. They are also particularly prone to debris buildup in the spring, as plants shed both dead leaves and branches from last winter, as well as flowers and seeds during the growing season. It only takes a few minutes to check and clear the area around your outdoor drains, but it will be time well-spent when you avoid backups later in the summer.

Check Outdoor Faucets

Your outdoor faucets can be prone to freezing and other damage during the winter. Spring is a good time to check these faucets by running them for a few minutes each, then turning them off to ensure the flow of water stops without dripping. Drips could indicate damage to the rubber rings inside the faucet that stop the flow of water, meaning they’ll need to be replaced. If your faucets are affected by corrosion or rust, you can try a few simple steps to loosen them; alternatively, contact your plumber for assistance or faucet replacement to prevent the faucet from degrading further and causing a leak.

Drain and Adjust Your Water Heater

Draining your water heater periodically will prevent corrosion from building up inside the tank. To drain your water heater, shut off the incoming water and turn off the power or gas to the heating assembly. Attach a hose to the drain at the bottom of the tank and feed the other end into a garage drain, utility sink, or out into your yard, where the runoff has plenty of space to disperse. Open the drain and let the tank empty completely, then close the drain, open the incoming water line, and restore power. Additionally, spring is a good time to turn down the temperature on your water heater. If the water temperature is set above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, try turning it down to 120 degrees—this will still provide water that is hot enough for your needs and bathing comfort without costing you extra in terms of energy.

Test Your Main Water Shutoff

In a plumbing emergency, you rely on your main water shutoff to stop the flow of incoming water until the problem can be addressed. During your spring plumbing maintenance, locate your home’s water shutoff and make sure you can turn the valve. If the valve is corroded, broken, or otherwise inaccessible, contact your plumber for repairs so you’ll know you can count on this essential contingency measure in case you should ever need it.

These tips will have you well on your way to enjoying problem-free plumbing this spring and summer. If you do notice anything amiss, now is the time to call in your Portland plumber to evaluate and repair the issue, rather than allowing it to persist. We invite you to stay tuned to our blog for more home plumbing tips!

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