5 Plumbing Maintenance Tasks To Address Before the Summer Months

Could it be real? Summer is finally upon us. And after sitting indoors for a year, you probably have plans to seriously enjoy the warm months and live as carefree as possible. Your home’s plumbing probably isn’t at the top of the list of things to think about right now. But doing preventative maintenance before the summer days come can give you peace of mind all season long.

“You may be hosting families and friends in the summer and your home’s plumbing system will see an increase in usage, so it’s important that you do the necessary maintenance now to avoid unexpected plumbing problems,” says Jack Pruitt, brand manager at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. “Be proactive instead of reactive.”

Make sure to carry out the projects below to ensure a sanitary disaster-free summer.

1. Remove debris from your home’s drain

Over time, drains can get dirty and form residue as a result of daily hand washing, showering and other tasks. While doing your maintenance tasks before summer, it’s important to clean the drains to avoid unexpected blockages.

“While some homeowners rely on commercial drain cleaners to get the job done, it’s not always the best or safest option,” Pruitt says. “Consider using an all-natural and less expensive option to clean your drains.”

He suggests pouring half a cup of baking soda down the drain and then half a cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction helps to dissolve any blockages. After 10 to 15 minutes, pour in hot water slowly to remove any residual residue.

“If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, swap it for lemon juice – the acidity of lemons can have a similar effect on cleaning your drains,” says Pruitt.

2. Clean the gutters before the summer rains

Many plumbers consider gutters to be part of your plumbing system because they drain water from your home. Flooding gutters with water can damage the foundation of the house and the basement walls, causing cracks that can grow over time.

Pruitt says all kinds of debris can end up in your gutters, including leaves, twigs, seeds, and even wind-borne debris like plastic bags.

“When this happens, the roof is the first part of your home to be at risk for water damage, as collecting water can rot your fascia, shingles and the edge of your roofline,” he says.

“To clean your gutters, use a ladder on a flat surface that locks in place,” he says. “Hook an empty bucket at the top of the ladder to catch the debris you are removing, and be sure to use work gloves when removing the debris.”

Using a hand garden tool, such as a trowel, can be helpful when cleaning gutters and can help scrape sludge off the bottom of the gutter. Once the gutter is clear, use a hose to rinse it completely clean and make sure the water flows freely through the downspout.

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Note: Fix your own waste disposal – without calling the plumber

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Test your toilets for leaks

A likely source for leaks in pipes is a faulty valve, a small piece of rubber that acts as a stopper and separates the tank from the bowl. When the toilet is flushed, the flap rises, allowing water to flow into the bowl underneath and flush out the waste. But over time, the rubber can degrade, wear out, and develop cracks.

“A good way to test for a leaking valve is to add a few drops of food coloring to the top of the tank where the valve and flush valve are. Check if the water in the bowl changes the color of the food coloring you added, ”says Aaron Mulder, co-owner and operations manager for Mr. Rooter from San Antonio.

If you see color, you have a leaking / passing flap. Mulder says you can expect to change your flap every two to three years. They can be purchased at a local hardware store or home center.

4. Flush the water heater to remove any build-up of sediment

This is one of those annual tasks that should be addressed with the rest of your spring cleaning. Year-round, calcium and magnesium that can build up in your water heater solidify and mix with dirt and other inclusions, becoming sediment that builds up at the bottom of your tank. The sediment can increase the likelihood of a leak coming from the bottom of the tank and prevent your water heater from heating up as effectively.

“Flushing your boiler is generally a simple task. All you need is a hose that can be firmly connected to the flush valve on the side of your tank and a large bucket, ”says Don Glovan, franchise advisor at Mr. Rooter Plumbing.

He says that you must first shut off the gas or electrical connection to your tank and connect the hose to the drain valve. Make sure the other end of the hose is in a large bucket or rain drain, open the drain valve and let the water flow out. Open your temperature and pressure relief valve at the same time.

If the bucket has sediment crystals on the bottom, let the water drain further. When no more new crystals appear on the bottom, close the drain cock and let the tank refill.

“Then restart your pilot or turn your electrical connection back on, and your tank should warm up again,” he says.

5. Inspect and maintain your septic tank

If your home is running on a septic system, it is a good idea to make sure your septic tank is ready for the additional uses that arise in the summer. This means that you maintain your system properly and observe good septic hygiene.

“Regular maintenance can help prevent problems before they arise so you don’t end up with sewage in your yard or home,” says Pruitt. “How often you need inspection and maintenance depends on the specific type of system you have, but most of them need to be checked by an inspector at least every three years.”

He says a septic inspector will look for leaks, clogs, and other faults and determine if the tank needs to be pumped to remove the solids, the frequency of which will depend on the size of your system, how many people are using it, and how much waste you have. produces.

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