The changes in seasons bring more than just alterations in weather and wardrobe. Each season presents unique challenges for homeowners, especially when it comes to maintaining their plumbing systems. From freezing pipes in winter to increased water usage in summer, being aware of these challenges can save homeowners from significant headaches and costly repairs.
To tackle these challenges effectively, homeowners should engage in regular maintenance. In this guide, we’ll explore this essential guide to seasonal plumbing maintenance to keep your system in top shape throughout the year.
As the weather warms up during spring, you’re probably starting to spend more time outdoors. The following are some plumbing maintenance tasks you should do during the spring season.
- Unblock Drains and Gutters
Throughout the winter, debris such as twigs, leaves, and trash can accumulate in gutters and drains. With the arrival of spring and the accompanying rainfall, these blockages can cause substantial water pooling, potentially damaging a home’s foundation and landscaping.
Therefore, it’s essential to thoroughly clean gutters, downspouts, and outdoor drains to prevent these issues. Additionally, install gutter guards as they can help minimize debris accumulation in the future.
- Inspect For Leaks
Winter’s freezing temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and thaw, potentially leading to cracks and leaks. Once spring arrives, it’s crucial to perform a comprehensive inspection of all pipes and plumbing fixtures. Areas prone to leaks include pipe joints, faucet bases, and the undersides of cabinets. Even a slow leak can cause substantial damage over time, including mold growth and wood rot, necessitating costly repairs.
- Test Sump Pumps
Sump pumps are a homeowner’s first line of defense against basement flooding. Over the winter months, sump pumps might see less action and can become clogged or seize up. So, it’s important to test the sump pump by pouring water into the pit and ensuring it activates automatically. Also, checking for unusual noises or slow operation can help identify issues before the heavy spring rains arrive.
However, if you’re uncomfortable doing this task on your own, seeking professional help is always a wise decision. Many reputable plumbing services offer seasonal maintenance packages that ensure your home’s plumbing system remains in optimal condition.
During the summer season, your plumbing system will be working harder than ever to keep up with increased water usage and hotter temperatures.
Here are some plumbing maintenance tips to help you avoid problems during the summer months:
- Monitor Water Usage
Summer often sees a dramatic increase in a household’s water consumption due to activities like filling swimming pools, watering gardens, and taking extra showers. Monitor bills for unexplained spikes to help catch leaks that might be hidden underground or within walls. Also, implement water-saving practices, such as using rain barrels for irrigation or fixing dripping faucets, to mitigate high usage.
- Check The Water Heater
Water heaters work overtime in the winter, and sediment can build up inside, reducing efficiency and lifespan. Summer is the perfect time for maintenance, which includes flushing the tank to remove sediment, checking the temperature and pressure relief valve for proper operation, and inspecting the tank’s exterior for signs of leaks or corrosion.
- Prepare For Vacations
Many families take extended vacations during the summer. Before leaving, you should turn off the main water supply to prevent leaks from going unnoticed, which can cause significant damage. Also, set the water heater to “vacation” mode to help save energy while ensuring it doesn’t overwork in an empty house.
With winter just around the corner, it’s essential to prepare your plumbing system during fall by considering the following tasks:
- Disconnect Outdoor Hoses
As temperatures begin to drop in the fall, water left in outdoor hoses can freeze. If hoses are still connected to the faucet, ice can back up into the pipes inside the home, increasing the risk of a burst. Disconnecting, draining, and properly storing hoses can prevent this issue.
- Insulate Pipes
Pipes in unheated areas are susceptible to freezing during the colder months. Before winter arrives, you should insulate pipes in areas like the garage, attic, and crawl spaces. Use products like foam pipe insulation or heat tape to provide effective protection against freezing temperatures.
- Clear Sewer Lines
Fall foliage is beautiful but fallen leaves can clog outside drain lines and potentially the sewer line. Having a professional inspect and clear the lines can prevent blockages. Additionally, you should ensure leaves are raked away from outdoor drains.
With the threats of frozen pipes and potential bursts looming large in winter, it’s crucial to take preventive measures. Here are some tasks to prioritize:
- Keep The House Warm
A consistently warm home is key to preventing indoor pipes from freezing. Maintain a minimum indoor temperature of 55°F, especially in rooms that don’t receive much heat. For extended absences, keep the heat on to ensure that pipes in walls and floors don’t freeze.
- Open Cabinet Doors
Pipes located in cabinets, especially on exterior walls, can be more prone to freezing due to limited warm air circulation. Open cabinet doors to allow your home’s heat to reach these pipes, helping to prevent freezing.
- Let Faucets Drip
Allowing faucets to drip slightly can relieve pressure in the plumbing system. When pipes freeze, the ice within can cause pressure to build up, leading to bursts. A small trickle of water can alleviate this pressure, preventing costly damage.
Understanding and implementing seasonal plumbing maintenance can significantly impact the longevity and performance of a home’s system. Each season brings unique challenges, but keep the information mentioned above in mind to prevent many common issues that arise. Whether doing it yourself or hiring professional plumbing services, you should prioritize these essential tasks to safeguard your home against the changing seasons.