Helpful Spring Plumbing Tips
Spring is in the air, it’s time for flowers and plumbing maintenance in Asheville!
Here are 10 spring plumbing tips you can use to get your house ready for action.
1. Dewinterize those pipes (if you left for the winter!)
Many people live in the Appalachian mountains of Asheville and Hendersonville for only part of the year. During the cold winter months, they leave for warmer climates. Winterizing is the process of removing water from pipes so that they won’t freeze while they are not being used. Now that Spring is here, they need to be de-winterized! Here’s how to do it: Make sure all the water supply lines are connected, and if not, reconnect them. Turn off the shut-off valves (if there are any). That will allow you to turn plumbing fixtures on individually and check for leaks. Turn on the water, go to each fixture, and let it run for a few minutes. Flush the toilets a few times, looking for water on the floor. Be diligent in checking for leaks since they don’t always appear right away. Take your time and double check everything!
2. Take note of low water pressure
Low water pressure can be caused by many different things, but often it is a sign of something going wrong in your plumbing system. It could be a problem with your water heater or pressure reducing valve, you might need to change the media in your water filters, have a hidden leak, have mineral deposits in your plumbing, or have a problem with your well pressure pump. If you notice low water pressure, be sure to read on! These tips might help you find the culprit.
3. Check your hose bib (spigot)
Not a lot of outdoor watering goes on in Asheville in the winter, but as soon as spring rolls around it is the perfect time to check your hose bib (spigot) and the water line that goes to it to make sure it has not been damaged by winter’s freezing temperatures. If an outdoor faucet drips, has low water pressure, or you notice water inside your basement, crawlspace or house when the hose is turned on for the first time in the spring, you may have a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced. This often happens if a garden hose was left attached to the spigot during a freeze.
4. Check for other leaks
Leaks can cause serious damage before you even realize they are there. Check for water under your refrigerator, damp spots or stains on your walls or ceilings, and musty smells. Ice maker lines, dishwasher lines, washing machine hoses, exposed pipes under sinks and in basements are some places to check for bulges in the line or water on the floor. If you have city water, something you can check is the leak indicator on the meter. It is a small red triangle that moves when water is flowing. If yours doesn’t have one, you can take a reading from your water meter before bedtime. The next morning (making sure no one used any water during the night) check it again. If the number has changed you know you have a leak that needs to be repaired.
5. Check your water heater
Set the temperature gauge on your water heater to 120℉ to save energy and prevent burns. Inspect the area around your water heater and make sure there is nothing flammable nearby. If your water heater is old, look at the serial number. The first four digits are often the month and year that your water heater was made. Anything 15 years or older should probably be replaced. Newer water heaters save money because they are much more energy efficient, and chances are, since it’s that old, it’s going to give out pretty soon (probably at the most inconvenient time!)
If you have a tank-type standard water heater, plan to do a quick flush to remove the sediment and corrosion that can build up on the bottom of your tank. Any crud inside can reduce the life expectancy of your water heater and reduce its efficiency. Just attach a garden hose to the tank spigot with the other end draining somewhere outside and turn it on until it runs clear and steady. If nothing comes out, you know you have a problem!
If you have a tankless water heater, spring is the perfect time to do your yearly descaling and cleaning of the combustion chamber.
6. Check your toilets
Check for leaks from the tank into the bowl by putting food coloring into the tank. If you see colored water in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a sneaky leak that could be costing you! While you’re looking, check the bowl for cracks or leaks there too.
Make sure your toilets are flushing the way they should. If you have to jiggle the handle or hold it down, that’s a sign that the inner parts of your toilet need to be rebuilt. Fortunately it is not a very expensive fix and can end up saving you money on your water bill in the long run.
7. Check your filters
Check and change the cartridges or media in your sediment filters, fridge water filters, or water softeners. Here are some simple steps to do it: Turn off the water. Unscrew the outer housing. Remove and throw away the old filter cartridge. (You might want to have a bucket underneath.) Remove and lubricate the O-ring with clean plumber’s faucet grease and put it back in place. Fit new filter cartridge over the centering knob in the bottom of the housing. Screw housing onto cap and hand-tighten. Turn water supply back on. Now your water filtration system can do its job!
8. Check your shower heads
If you see white mineral deposits around the water holes in your shower head, you have hard water and you might consider installing a water softener. Calcium build-up not only clogs shower heads, but does the same thing to all your plumbing fixtures! You can clean off your shower head by scrubbing it with white vinegar and clearing the holes with a toothpick or wire, allowing it to flow freely again. Some people suggest soaking your entire shower head in vinegar over night. That works, and is less labor, but a vinegar soak might damage the finish on your showerhead, so we don’t recommend trying it unless you feel sure it won’t.
9. Check your sump pump (if you have one)
Spring rains are coming! Prime your sump pump to make sure it is ready for some hard work. If you have not checked your sump pump recently, test it by pouring a few gallons of water into the pit. The pump should turn on in a few seconds, drain the water, then turn off automatically. If it does not, call your local Asheville plumber and have us check your sump pump before it completely burns out and leaves you at risk for flooding.
10. Check your drains
Pour a gallon or so of water into any drains (sinks, tubs, floor drains) that have not been used recently. This fills their P- traps and prevents sewage odors from entering your living space. Snake slow floor drains to make sure that they will drain quickly in case of a springtime flood.
Hopefully these spring plumbing tips have been useful to you. If you would like help with any of these plumbing maintenance items, or if you discovered a plumbing repair that needs to be done, please call us at Goodman Plumbing Asheville, we’ll be right over. 828-774-7076. Need a professional, licensed and courteous Asheville Plumber? — You Need a Good Man for the Job!