In Canada, where the winter brings frost, the spring is a relief as it brings warmer temperatures. Most people get excited with the change, and as they concentrate on spring cleaning, they can often forget the plumbing system. Plumbing contributes to about 15% of your home’s total value, making it vital to perform a comprehensive examination of the system to ensure no issues compromise its efficiency. Here is a comprehensive checklist for use in your plumbing system this spring.

1. Pipe and Faucet Leaks

The average household wastes about 11,000 gallons of water yearly due to leaking pipes. Some leaks are easy to identify, especially if the water is gushing out. Leaking faucets will have water around the connections when turned off. You can also walk around the house, checking the piping connections under the sink or basement.

Some pipe leaks may be hidden and can cause water damage that demands expensive repairs if they go undetected for a long time. As a Canadian resident, you can tell if there is a hidden leaking pipe by a sudden spike in water bills and meter readings without a corresponding change in water usage. Regularly checking your water meter and monthly water bills can help you identify when there is a change. Mildew and mold are common on shower walls, but if you notice them on other parts of your house, there may be a leaking pipe around the area. Your home may also develop a musty smell due to the accumulation of old water or mold growth.

To properly detect leaking pipes, contact professional services, who will use specialized tools and techniques. They can check the fixtures and the water meter. They can use video pipe inspection equipment for precise detection. This is a flexible fiber optic cable that has small cameras. It is passed through the pipes, and the cameras relay the video to a monitor. The plumber can locate the part of the pipe that is leaking. They may also use listening discs to locate leaking parts through dry walls and cabinets.

2. Outdoor Faucets and Irrigation Systems

Check the outdoor faucets and irrigation systems to ensure no freeze damage or debris may obstruct water flow. You may turn on the faucet to see if it is working properly. There may be worn-out washers that can allow water leakage. If your faucet seems corroded, ensure a professional plumber checks it for partial or complete replacement. The garden hoses may also have splits, cracks or other issues, and you may have to replace them if the damage is extensive.

The lawn and garden do not need irrigation during the winter, and most homeowners turn their irrigation systems off. During the spring, you need to turn them on. A plumber will check the sprinkler head and ensure none are capped by debris during winter. To look for sprinkler leaks, the plumber may flush it by slowly turning on the water. If water is turned on too quickly, it can create a water hammer. This can burst the fittings or blow off the sprinkler heads. To ensure your sprinklers are in proper working condition, the plumber may conduct a manual test on all zones. They will run the sprinkler and watch the heads, jotting down any issues.

The plumber will fix all issues in the irrigation system to ensure they are ready for use throughout the season. This may include replacing the damaged sprinkler head and adjusting the spray patterns.

3. Water Heater

Water heaters have an average lifespan of about ten years, after which they need a replacement. Their efficiency can reduce as the system ages, but you can maximize it through regular maintenance. During spring, a professional plumber will drain and flush the system. Over time, sediment can accumulate in the water heater, acting as an insulator. Flashing out the water heater can be dangerous and should be conducted by a professional. They will turn off the power or gas supply to the system, attach a hose to the drain valve and open the valve.

The water tank should be refilled according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, and the plumber will open the hot water faucet to allow air to escape before turning on the power or gas supply. They will also check the pressure relief valve, the component responsible for releasing excess pressure from the tank to prevent it from exploding. This is done by lifting the lever or pulling the trip lever. The valve should release a rush of air or water, failure to which indicates the valve is faulty, and the plumber should repair it.

Also, consider insulating the water pipes to prevent heat loss and keep the pipes from sweating. A water softener may also be added to remove hard minerals from the water.

4. Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are responsible for proper rainwater movement away from your house. If they are blocked, standing water can leak into your home or run off at the base of your building and penetrate the soil near the foundation. Gutter cleaning can be dangerous due to the risk of falling from a height. A professional gutter cleaning service provider will check the gutters for debris and remove it using telescopic gutter clearing and vacuum tools. They will also check the connected downspouts and ensure they direct the water several feet from the house.

Gutter and downspout clearing ensures the melting snow and light spring showers drain properly to prevent water damage in your home.

5. Toilet

Leaking toilets are a significant source of wasted water in Canada, and a home can lose about 60,000 gallons of water in a month. Tests for leakages in the toilet should be conducted at least twice yearly. You can test for a slow leak by adding 15 drops of food coloring into the toilet tank and checking the bowl after 30 minutes without flashing. The water in the bowl of a leaking toilet will have turned color.

A leaking toilet is often due to an improperly working flapper. This is the rubber valve at the bottom of the toilet tank that lifts when someone is flushing. When faulty, it allows water to flow into the bowl even when not flushed. It may also be due to overflow tube leaks. A plumber will confirm if the toilet tank has proper water levels. They can adjust the levels by turning the adjustment screw and repair or replace any faulty components.

6. Sump Pump

The sump pump pumps away any accumulated water in your home and around the foundation to the storm sewer. This is to prevent water damage to the foundation and basement. A professional plumber will ensure all its electrical components are properly working and the pump is plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter. They may also slowly pour five gallons of water around the pump, and if it does not start immediately, the plumber will fix the issue.

Routine plumbing system maintenance ensures all its functions are properly working, and you can have a smooth experience throughout the spring. We have plumbers at Twin Peaks Plumbing, Heating & Gas who provide plumbing services throughout Nanaimo, BC and Vancouver Island and technicians who offer HVAC and gas services. Contact Twin Peaks Plumbing, Heating & Gas today for more information.

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