Spring Plumbing Essentials Checklist

Anyone living in Colorado knows to expect snow showers in late April to mid May, even though spring is well under way. This can cause some confus...

Anyone living in Colorado knows to expect snow showers in late April to mid May, even though spring is well under way. This can cause some confusion of what spring plumbing maintenance you should be doing and when you should be doing it.

Here is a simple checklist to follow while inspecting your plumbing, both inside and outside your home.

Indoor Plumbing Checklist

  • Check your basement sump pump to see if it’s clean and working properly. This is a must for people living in potential flood zones, or burn scar areas.
  • Check all the faucets/pipes under sinks and in the dishwasher for leaks, cracks, or old sections that should be replaced.
  • Look inside the toilet tank and test all the different components to make sure they are working properly.
  • If you have a problem with your sewer backing up, a quick and inexpensive solution is to install a backflow valve in the floor drain that allows you to control the reverse flow of potentially hazardous material coming into your home.
  • For faucets and shower heads with build-up, tie a bag of white vinegar around them and allow them to soak overnight.
  • Give your hot water heater a thorough inspection. The temperature shouldn’t be higher than 120 degrees F. Now is the time to flush out your heater to remove the sediment at the bottom which can shorten the life span of your heater and reduce its efficiency.
  • Washer and dryers should be cleaned, paying careful attention to lint traps and lines leading away from your appliances.
  • Clear out all the sink traps by unscrewing the slip nuts, unhooking the trap section, cleaning it out with a brush, and replacing the pipe. If this isn’t feasible, you can always buy Drain-o and a zip tool and try to clear any blockages that way.

Outside Plumbing Checklist

  • Get under your home and inspect all your plumbing lines for leaks, cracks or old sections that should be replaced. Stainless steel holds up better than plastic.
  • Another way to check for leaks is to take a baseline reading from your water meter before you go to bed, and then take another measure when you wake up. If there’s been a change (and no one used the bathroom during the night) you probably have a leak.
  • For people living in Colorado, because we can sometimes dip below freezing well into May, do not leave your water hoses hooked up to outside faucets until we are past the last frost date.
  • Check all gutters and plumbing vent pipes for bird nests, leaves and other debris.
  • Re-grade your foundation if you have a flat or negative grade at the foundation. Any water left to pool could find its way into your home and overwhelm your floor drains.
  • Schedule a sewer line inspection, especially if you have never had one done or do not know how old the system is. This could spare you a costly surprise down the road.
  • Have your sprinkler system started up by a professional. This will help you diagnose early on any potential issues with the system and also ensure that it is working at its best.

It may take you a few weeks to check off all the items on your spring plumbing checklist with Colorado’s surprise snow storms in late spring, but if you tackle a few items each weekend day, you’ll be done in no time. Just remember to save most of your outdoor items until after the last frost date, usually May 15th.

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