Getting Your Plumbing Ready for Spring
We’re a few days into April now, so we think it’s safe to tentatively call it spring. We hope. Now that we can safely venture back into that ancient, forgotten place called “outside,” you can make some proactive safety checks to make sure your home’s plumbing survived winter unharmed.
A few quick steps like these will help you prepare for the warmer months ahead, prevent any melting snow-related plumbing catastrophes, and put you in that spring mindset. (At least, until we get a blizzard in a couple weeks…)
Check for Leaks
Winter is as hard on plumbing as it is on… well, everything else. Even though you no doubt took all the proper steps to ensure your pipes didn’t freeze, the cold and increased demand for hot water likely put your system under a lot of stress.
For older pipes, or corroded, rusty, or damaged pipes, a long winter might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. A lot of minor leaks spring up over the winter. If left alone, even the smallest leak won’t be small for long. Check out your home’s pipes. Look for dislocation, puddling, condensation, and the other telltale signs of leaking. Fixing a minor problem today will save you a major headache tomorrow.
Check Outdoor Faucets
You (hopefully) turned off your outside water for the winter, and now it’s time to turn it back on. When you do, you should also check on all of your outdoor faucets. Just run a little water to make sure they’re working correctly and not leaking. Close the valve and wait for a minute or so to look for excess dripping.
You should always check on appliances after they haven’t seen consistent use, whether they’re outdoor faucets after a long winter or you’re getting back from an extended vacation. It only takes a minute and you can head off potential problems early.
Check Downspouts and Gutters
Everyone knows that “April showers bring May flowers,” but April showers can also bring structural catastrophe… if you don’t double-check your gutters, downspouts, and yard drains. The gutters on your roof catch rain water as it cascades off of your sloped roof. Then, it funnels that runoff water to the downspout. The runoff drains out of the downspout onto the ground, where it can’t hurt your roof or home. Yard drains and gutters do the same thing: they collect the rainwater that might build up and flood your foundation and transfer it safely into the sewer instead.
Oftentimes, debris can get caught in gutters or downspouts. If leaves, branches, trash, or anything else impede water flow, you could be at risk of flooding, roof damage, sinkholes, or worse. It’s a really, really good idea to make sure all your home’s gutters, yard drains, and downspouts are functioning effectively.
Check Sump Pump
If your home has a basement or crawl space, chances are you have a sump pump. A sump pump is a small, (usually) automatic pump installed in a “sump pit” in your basement. It keeps your basement from flooding. Water from the soil around the foundation of your home flows down to the sump pit via gravity. Once enough water has entered the pit to trip a sensor, the pump pushes water out of the pit and through a discharge pipe or tube. The discharge pipe empties the water far enough away that it can’t hurt your foundation.
You can make sure the sump pump is active by dumping about a gallon of water into the pit. The sump pump should activate and send the water out of the discharge pipe. Make sure the discharge pipe is clear, clean, and positioned where it should be. You can usually find the discharge pipe in your backyard. If you find out your sump pump isn’t working, give us a call–preferably before the next rainy day.
After making it through another winter, you deserve to enjoy your spring to the fullest. You shouldn’t have to spend some of the nicest days of the year fixing a plumbing problem or trying to clean up damaged property.
Convince yourself to do these simple chores while going outside still feels novel, and you can save yourself a big hassle when the weather is even nicer. And of course, if you want a professional to put your mind at ease, you can call Ben Franklin anytime. Happy spring!
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