Top 7 Spring Plumbing Tips
The sun is shining and spring is upon us (I hope!). After a long, cold and challenging winter, it’s a good time to check your home’s plumbing to prevent problems. Here are our top 7 spring tips:
- Check Outside Hosebibs – When you turn on your outside tap, or ‘hosebib’, for the first time, be sure to go back into the house and check to see if there are any leaks. The inside valve or pipe may have frozen over the winter and cracked. We get more calls in spring for leaks and water damage from this.
- Test Your Sump Pump – Our second most common plumbing emergency. Test your pump by pouring a couple of buckets of water into the pit to see if it turns on and removes the water. Also make sure the pit is free of debris so as not to clog the pump just when you most need it to work. Ensure that the float is allowed to move freely to function correctly. Check the discharge line outside and clear it of any ice, gravel and debris to prevent water from backing up into your home. If you have a battery back-up sump pump, check the battery. If you don’t have one, consider getting one installed in case of a power outage which usually occurs during rain storms.
Extra tip: If your pump is continuously running but no water is being pumped out, there’s probably a blockage somewhere. Turn off the power to the pump immediately to prevent the motor from burning out and check all the above or call a professional.
- Care For Your Septic – Spring runoff can quickly fill your septic tank and cause backups. Divert run- off water away from your septic tank and field. During an extreme thaw or heavy rains, limit the use of water in your home. Spread clothes washing over a couple of days to reduce overloading the tank. Use a liquid laundry detergent as powdered detergents contain fillers which solidify in the tank. Switch to dryer sheets as liquid fabric softeners interfere with the breakdown of waste. Also, keep the manway cover on to prevent excess water from entering.
- Test Your Drinking Water – Most people are unaware that spring run-off can affect their well water. Contaminants are more likely to enter wells during the spring thaw. If your water changes colour or develops an odour, get your water tested. Also seriously consider installing a proper filter and/or sterilizer in your home to protect you and your family.
- Look For Leaks – Check under all sinks and cabinets for signs of leaking water. Even a small leak left unchecked could cause mould and water damage over time.
- Save Your Hot Water Tank – Spring is the perfect time to drain your hot water tank and flush out sediment which causes corrosion, reduces heating efficiency and shortens the lifespan of your hot water tank.
- Look Up, Way Up – Make sure your plumbing vents are clear of ice, debris and even nests to prevent odour and back-ups. Clear out your gutters and downspouts and check for damage to them and your roof’s shingles. During winter, ice can form in old gutters and lift up shingles allowing water to enter the home making many people believe they have a plumbing leak.
If you are unable to perform the above, please call a professional. Happy Spring!
Deanna R. Jones on
Thanks for the tips! I liked your tip about testing my sump pump. I’ve never known how to find out if it’s working properly, so I never had it tested. It seems like pouring a couple of buckets of water to see if it will remove it is a good way to make sure that it’s still working. Since it’s that easy, I should grab a couple of buckets of water to use for testing it out.
Charlotte Eddington on
Your comment about testing the water, is great advice. I don’t know much about plumbing, so I usually just trust the professional’s work. But, I should make sure that their plumbing service was worth it, and test the water. Thanks for sharing your comments.
Susan Hirst on
Thank you very much for these plumbing tips. I’m living on my own for the first time, and I’m trying to learn everything I can about maintaining my home. Your advice to turn on the outside tap and check for hose leaks was very helpful. I’ll be sure to do that.
Plumb Perfect on
I’m glad you found the information helpful. First-time home ownership can sometimes be overwhelming so if you have any questions please feel free to email or call!
Steve Maitland Plumbing Tips on
Thank you for sharing your valuable advice and tips relating to Plumbing
Natalie Darcy on
Around this time last year, I had a lot of plumbing problems. I would like to avoid similar problems this year, but I was still kind of confused on what caused the problems or what I could do to prevent them. I really appreciate your tip about checking outside taps, as well as all of your other tips! This particular issue I hadn’t thought to check and I am glad that you suggested it, thank you!
Rachelle Reeves on
Thanks for the tips. I’ll make sure to check my sump pump this spring because I don’t want any problems with that. I’ll also check for leaks everywhere, because plumbing problems aren’t fun to deal with. How do you know if something is wrong with your water tank?
Plumb Perfect on
When it comes to a hot water tank, regular maintenance is key to extending its life. Typically hot water tanks last about 10 – 16 years. Changing the anode rod every 2-3 years (more often if high iron content) and flushing the tank every year can make a huge difference and greatly extend the life of your hot water tank. As for any signs of impending trouble, I have listed below a few things to watch for:
1. If you don’t have any hot water – The element, igniter or another component may not be working, the pilot light could be out or it may be an electrical problem. Even if you managed to get it up and running on your own, it may only be temporary.
2. If your water smells or has a metallic/iron taste – The anode rod should be changed and the hot water tank checked. You should also make sure the temperature is set correctly for your type of hot water tank to prevent the growth of bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease. It should be 60 degrees C (140 degrees F) for electric tanks and 50 degrees C (122 degrees F) for oil or propane tanks. A mixing/tempering valve should be installed on the hot water tank or on each fixture to prevent scalding. You may also want your water tested.
3. If your water is rusty, cloudy or has sediment in it – There is a build up of minerals inside the tank and on the heating elements.
4. If the hot water tank makes noises while heating up, like cracks, groans and pops – Your heating element is probably coated with mineral deposits and is struggling to function.
5. If your water isn’t as hot anymore – The heating element again could be a problem or one of the other components. It could also be a faulty mixing/tempering valve.
6. Leaking from the top – It may be a mixing valve problem, or a loose cold water inlet or hot water outlet connection.
7. Leaking at the bottom – It could be as simple as tightening the drain valve at the bottom. If there is a lot of water, your hot water tank has deteriorated and needs replacing.
Any leak, no matter how small, will not go away over time and is a warning sign of a bigger problem. If you experience any of the above it’s best to call a professional before things get worse.
Delores Lyon on
Thanks for sharing these different spring plumbing tips to help make sure your pipes are working well. I think it is so nice that just testing the drinking water can help you identify any potential problems. However, I didn’t know that contaminants can get through wells and affect drinking water. That is definitely something you don’t want to ignore!
Olivia Sherwin on
These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to test your sump pump. Checking this before the rainy season can help you find problems and fix them before its use is needed. That way, you can avoid an emergency situation later on. Thanks for the great post!
Natalie Darcy on
In my old home, I didn’t have to concern myself with any plumbing beyond my own home. However, my new home has a yard with a lot of water fountains and even a functional well. Naturally, I am a little bit overwhelmed; but your article was really helpful to me. I greatly appreciate the step by step instructions for each individual part of plumbing that falls into this category. Thank you very much for the applicable information.
Aaron Kriegerson on
Thanks for your checklist of what to do for your spring plumbing. You make a good point to check your hosebibs to make sure that they are secure and working properly. Winter can bring cold temperatures that can damage the pipes that lead to your hosebibs. If these are leaking or not working properly, you probably want to call a plumbing service to look at them.
Andy Harrison on
So with testing your drinking water, are there methods that you can do this yourself or does it have to be done by a professional? I’d assume you’d want it to be done by a professional since it would most likely yield better results. You know, I think I might see about using a filter for my water since they just changed our water supplier.
Plumb Perfect on
Melting snow, heavy rainfall and spring run off can carry sediment, chemicals or increase bacterial count. In many cases, simply adding chlorine can kill off most bacteria. Chemicals however, are not affected by chlorine.
If you want to test your well water yourself, there are a variety of water testing kits available for homeowners. You would take a water sample and mail it to a specified lab. Here in Ontario, Canada, we can send our water samples to Public Health Ontario where they will test for bacteria such as E. Coli. but they do not test for chemicals. If you are concerned about more than just bacteria, you would have to check your own area for water testing labs that perform all testing. I know in our area there can be a sand, bacteria and chemicals entering our wells from the surrounding farms so many landowners have reverse osmosis systems and sediment filters installed. Knowing what is in your well water will help you determine exactly what you need for your home. Having a professional test the water is a good idea as they could also help solve any water issues.
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Edmund Berry on
I was really worried about my plumbing system especially during spring. These 7 tips helped me a lot to cope with the issues. You must try out these outstanding tips for your plumbing issues too.