Spring Cleaning Plumbing Checklist

Spring is an excellent time to make sure everything in your home is in tip-top shape, and that should include your plumbing. Here we have compiled a simple checklist for you to make sure all of your plumbing is working properly after the long winter months.

Kitchen

  • Check faucets for drips and fix them to avoid wasting water.

  • Make sure your kitchen sink drain has a strainer.

  • Check the pipes under the sink for leaks. An under-sink leak can easily go unnoticed, causing water damage and mold growth.

  • Check dishwasher and ice maker supply hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace any hoses that look weak, and use stainless steel hoses whenever possible (they are stronger and resistant to bulging).

 

Bathrooms

  • Check faucets for drips.

  • Make sure drains have strainers or pop-up assembly covers.

  • Check the pipes under sinks for leaks.

  • Inspect toilets for visible cracks on the tank or bowl.

  • Check toilets for leaks. To do this, put 6 drops of food coloring into the toilet tank, and wait 30 minutes. If any color appears in the toilet bowl within that time, your toilet has a leak.

  • Clean mineral deposits from your shower head. You can do this by filling a plastic baggie with vinegar, placing it over the shower head, and holding it in place with a rubber band. Leave it soaking overnight and then use an old toothbrush to scrub away the minerals the next morning.

 

Appliances

  • Make sure your water heater is set no higher than 120 degrees. This ensures maximum efficiency and reduces the risk of scalding injuries.

  • Flush your water heater of sediment, which builds up in the bottom of the tank and shortens the life of your water heater.

  • Check washing machine supply hose for bulges or leaks. Replace any hoses that look weak, and use stainless steel hoses whenever possible.

  • Clean the washing machine lint trap, if you have one. If you don’t, place a wire trap or even a piece of pantyhose over the end of the hose that drains the water from your washing machine.

  • Make sure no flammable items are stored near your furnace or water heater.

 

Basement

  • Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains, like floor drains, to make sure they drain properly and to fill up the trap. A dry trap can allow sewer gases to enter your home. Clear any drains that are draining slowly.

  • Test your sump pump to make sure it is operating properly. To do this, pour buckets of water into the sump pit to make sure the sump pump switches on and pumps the water out. A failing sump pump will mean a flooded basement, especially during a storm.

 

Outdoor

  • Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and open.

  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.

  • Check all hose faucets to make sure water flows freely and there are no leaks. If the faucet drips or there is a leak inside your home after you turn it on, the pipes may have frozen over the winter and need to be repaired.

 

Additional Improvements

  • Install flood alarms in your basement. Flood alarms are similar to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and they sound the alarm when they come into contact with water.

  • Install a backflow valve in your floor drain if you live in an area where the sewers sometimes back up into homes.

  • Consider replacing a water heater that’s over 15 years old. The average lifespan of a water heater is 8-10 years; older ones are prone to leaks and corrosion, and they are much less energy efficient than new ones.
  • Install a sump alarm. If your sump pump fails in the middle of the night, you will have no way of knowing until it's too late. A sump alarm will alert you if the water level in the sump pit gets too high, so you can take action before the water begins to flood your basement.

 

If you prefer to have a professional plumbing technician perform this inspection, or you need a drain cleared or a sump pump replaced, don't hesitate to call us at (586) 459-0040. We're here to help!