Yesterday was officially the first day of spring - the time when lots of us decide to dust off the winter cobwebs and spruce up our homes for the new season with a bit of spring cleaning. While obvious jobs like washing the windows are often at the top of our "to do" lists, our plumbing systems, which we often take for granted, tend to get forgotten. However, when it comes to seasonal maintenance, a few simple checks could save you time and money over the warmer days to come. We've compiled our top 5 spring plumbing tips to help ensure your waterworks remain in good condition over the spring and summer months.
1. Locate bathroom leaks
A great tip for locating leaks in toilets is to add a few drops of food colouring to the cistern. Leave it for 20-30 minutes before checking the colour of the water in the toilet bowl. If the colour in the bowl is the same as the colour in the cistern then there are probably no issues, however, if it's a different colour then there may be something wrong with one of the mechanisms in the tank.
2. Verify valves are working
It's also important to know that the valves supplying water to your toilets and sinks can also become clogged with rust and mineral deposits over time, reducing your pipework's efficiency. If it becomes difficult to turn valves on and off then they may not be working properly.
3. Study your sump pump
Sump pumps are an important element of your plumbing system, guarding your home against flooding in the rainy spring months. Be sure to conduct regular checks to ensure it's working by simply turning it on and plugging it in to see if it runs. Alternatively, turning water into the sump pit should trigger the pump to activate, turn on automatically, discharge water, then shut off. For extra protection, it may also be worth installing a flood alarm in your basement and bathrooms.
4. Check kitchen appliances
Be sure to check water supply hoses to kitchen appliances such as your ice maker, washing machine and dishwasher for any signs of leakage or bulging. Supply hoses that are 10 years or older are at greater risk of bursting, so it's a good idea to replace these with a durable stainless steel option. Another tip is to check and clean the lint trap of your washing machine, as lint can clog up the drain, resulting in a blockage.
5. Don't forget your outdoor plumbing!
Once you've ensured that all your indoor pipework is in good working order, it's time to turn your attention to your garden drains, gutters and downpipes! Make sure that build ups of debris that can block drains such as leaves are cleared away and that there aren't any feathered friends nesting in your vent pipes! It's also a good idea to check all of your taps and hose bibs to ensure water can flow freely and that turning on a tap outdoors isn't causing a leak inside. If so, it could be an indication of a cracked pipe from a winter freeze and will need to be replaced.
Trying to replace or repair elements in your toilets or sinks yourself may cause even more problems, so be sure to always get a Quality Plumber out for the job. You can find one in your local area in no time by searching at http://www.aphc.co.uk/find_an_installer.asp. Professional installers will also be happy to give your indoor and outdoor plumbing systems a thorough spring check, ensuring your complete peace-of-mind over the milder months to come.