While you’re checking off your list of spring cleaning tasks around the house and yard, don’t forget your plumbing! Water usage spikes in the spring and summer as we get ready for the warmer weather. Spring cleaning, filling up pools, lawn and garden irrigation… There are plenty of things that make it important to ensure your pipes and supply lines are in decent shape. By being proactive and detecting any problems early on, you avoid any bigger issues later this season and keep your water bill lower!
Check Faucets and Pipes
Check your sink, bath, and shower hardware for signs of seeping, leaks, rust, or deterioration. Don’t forget the exposed pipes below your sink as well as in your basement and utility room. If you do find any signs of serious damage, it’s best to get it checked out as soon as possible. In many cases, it can turn out to be a simple replacement.
Just like we check for freezing pipes in the winter, you also need to keep an eye out for sweaty pipes in the spring and summer! Pipes sweat because the water running through them is significantly colder than the outside air. This can look like your pipes are leaking, but they aren’t. Sweaty pipes can actually result in the same amount of water loss though, so make sure to wrap your pipes like you would during the winter.
Clean Your Sump Pump
Disconnect the power source, remove, and clean the pump, including the pump screen or inlet. Make sure to consult your user’s manual or give us a call to come help. The pump screen or inlet should be cleaned every three to four months. Once you’ve cleaned it, return the unit and restore the power. You can test it by pouring in some water to make sure it’s working properly.
Check Your Sprinkler System
Making sure your sprinkler system is clear of any debris is a year-round chore, but it is especially important throughout the spring and summer! Things like dirt, pebbles, grass clippings, or other debris can get run through our hoses (that might have been left out over the winter 😬), jam up sprinkler heads, and cause high water pressure which can burst the system’s main water line.
It’s a good idea to check each sprinkler head to make sure they haven’t been damaged either—possibly by a careless pass with the lawnmower. A damaged sprinkler head doesn’t just leave an annoying yellow spot in the yard, it can be a big water waster. If you do find a damaged sprinkler head, have it replaced immediately.
Check Water Hoses
Cold air makes things shrink, and warm air causes expansion. This is very applicable to your water pipes and hoses. If expansion is occurring, it will show in your water hoses first. Rapid expansion caused by temperature increases and direct sunlight can cause hoses or pipes to expand and crack. If you notice any damage like this around your home, it’s important to replace your hoses or piping as quickly as possible. The longer a crack is allowed to exist, the more water will be wasted due to unnecessary leakage.
Test Your Outdoor Water Faucet
Hopefully, your outside water supply was shut off and drained before freezing temperatures arrived last winter. Turn on your water supply, and throw open the valve. You may hear some rushing air and pops at first—that’s ok. Those are just air bubbles running through the pipes. Then, close the valve and check for leaks and drips. You’ll also want to head inside and check the pipes for signs of leaking.
Limit Water Pressure Problems
During the warmer months, overall water usage will increase, which can directly affect your home’s water pressure. Try to avoid peak water usage times during the day and take your shower a little earlier or later than you normally would. You can also take a quick look around your neighborhood to see when most of your neighbors run their sprinklers and set yours to start a little later, saving your water pressure. If you’re diligent with your water usage and your water pressure still seems low, you may have a more serious problem like a ruptured water main. A ruptured water main may not be immediately visible to you, but it will require a professional plumbing repair. In addition to low water pressure, evidence of a ruptured water main may also include dramatic increases to your water bill and soggy/bulging spaces in your yard where underground water pipes run.
Look Out for Slow Drains, Funky Flushing Toilets, and Water Back-Ups.
If your drains start running slowly, your toilet isn’t flushing properly, or if your floor drains start backing up, you may be having issues with your septic system. Your septic system has 2 components: a septic tank that traps and biologically degrades solid waste, and a drain field that provides additional biological treatment as well as infiltrating the water into the ground.
Throughout the winter, normal use of water in a house keeps the soil in and around the drain field and septic tank from freezing. So when the snow starts melting, the run-off water may infiltrate into the drain field area instead of running off. This can cause a temporary “high water table” which can leak into the septic tank or saturate the drain field. When this happens, the wastewater coming from the house cannot move through the septic system easily.
The first thing to do is check faucets, showerheads, toilets, sinks & any other water-using device for leaks & repair them as soon as possible. A drop of water every 15 seconds can add up to a lot of additional water added to the septic system. You’ll also want to reduce water use in your home. Don’t flush the toilet too much, do lots of laundry, or take excessive showers or baths, and only run your dishwasher when it is full. Avoid putting any extra water or fluids into the drain field as well.
Need help with your outdoor spring plumbing checklist or are worried about a bigger plumbing problem? Call us today! (509) 535-3447 for service in Washington, or (208) 649-9991 for Idaho.