8 Reasons to Include Plumbing in Your Spring Cleaning

Most people probably don’t think about their plumbing when they get ready to tackle spring cleaning. While sparkling windowpanes and shiny woodwork are terrific, spending just a few hours attending to your plumbing can save you from breakdowns and expensive repairs down the road.

Speaking of Cleaning…

Some of the best advice we can give you when it comes to caring for your plumbing is to keep it clean! Keeping your plumbing appliances and fixtures clean not only keeps things sanitary, but keeps away mold and foul smells that can sometimes build up on plumbing.

Buildup of dirt and debris gets in the way of seals working properly and clogs drains and filter screens, all leading to the need for repairs or replacement. Keeping the rubber seals on your refrigerator, dishwasher and clothes washer clean will help seals to remain tight, maintain efficiency, and help them last longer. Dust acts like insulation on the coils of your refrigerator, so give them a thorough vacuuming to prevent overheating.

Tip from the Trade:
Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive cleansers whenever possible. They can cause much more damage than good, corroding pipes and ruining finishes and seals. Try a mixture of baking soda, white vinegar, and soapy water, and use a toothbrush to clean areas for a tried and true cleaning method. Do not, however, use vinegar (or lemon juice/oil) on rubber gaskets and seals – it can dry out surfaces and corrode seals. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning specific appliances and fixtures, as some warranties can be voided if you use the wrong products.

Do a Leak Check

Taking some time to clean your plumbing fixtures also gives you the perfect opportunity to check for leaks or other problems. Inspect your pipes, plumbing under sinks and behind toilets, and other exposed plumbing for leaks, damage, or anything unusual. Water damage caused by leaking plumbing can be hard to notice if you never look carefully. Doing a thorough leak check in and around your home can save you thousands in repairs in the future.

Get Trapped

If you’re handy around plumbing, clean the traps beneath your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry sinks. It’s gross, we know, but a good habit to get into to avoid clogs in the future.

Tip from the Trade:
Put mesh strainers over all of your drains. These inexpensive items really help prevent hair and other debris from going down the drain and causing clogs and slow drains.

Clean the Screens

Shower heads and faucets gather sediment and silt over time. Most of these fixtures have heads that can be unscrewed, with a screen that can be cleaned. Some have a head design that can be soaked to loosen and remove built up. You may not need to replace that slow running faucet – it might just need to be cleaned!

Also give your faucet handles a check, cleaning the insides to prevent corrosion, and tightening them up to prevent leaking or further damage.

Give it a Flush

This is also a perfect time to inspect your toilet’s inner parts. Remove the tank lid and flush the toilet. Watch the full cycle, making sure the flapper is sealing well and the fill valve stops working at the right water level.

If the flapper on your toilet is getting worn out and loose, you can replace this item very inexpensively. Left unattended, it will start leaking which can waste a lot of water.

Tip from the Trade:
NEVER use harsh chemical drain cleaners to unclog your toilet or other drains. These products can cause serious damage to plumbing pipes and fixtures, not to mention they are terrible for your health. If you have a septic system, these chemicals also kill the good bacteria that keeps your septic system working well.

Even Clean the Washer

Check the water supply lines to your washing machine. If you see bulges, tears, or leaks, replace the lines right away. Don’t forget to also clean out your washing machine lint trap if yours has one.

Get Outside

Check your hose spigot for leaks or winter damage and replace it if necessary. If dripping continues after the spout is replaced, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked over the winter and needs repairing. Consider installing frost-proof hose faucet if you don’t make a habit of turning off the water supply to your spigots every fall.

Remember – Warm Waters is here to help you with all your plumbing needs! Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or to schedule a plumbing repair or upgrade.

What to Do if a Pipe Bursts

The colder weather is here and if for some reason a pipe decides to burst or a DIY plumbing project goes bad, you could come home to a pool of water in your home. When an unexpected emergency like this happens, it’s important for you not to panic and have the knowledge of what to do next.

There is a list of things you can do to prevent further water damage to your home:

  • First, you need to know if you are getting your water supply from a well or from a town/city. The easiest way to tell is if you are getting a bill in the mail your are more then likely on town/city water. If you are on a well, there will be a tank in your basement which is where the water supply from the well comes into your home. some well systems very and could be located in other areas of your home, so please do your homework and figure out what kind of system you have.
  • Second, every house will have a main water shut off. If you have town/city water there will be a water meter located in the basement. You will see a valve below and above the meter. Either one is sufficient to shut the entire house off. I recommend shutting both of them off. Now, in a worst case scenario there have been times where water is leaking below the bottom valve and this can only be shut off by a professional. Please do not call a plumber because he will tell you exactly what I’m about to tell you. There is a shut off valve outside beside the road. In this case you will need to call the town/city water district and dial the emergency ext. They will then send a professional out to shut off the water supply. After this you will be ready to call a plumber.

If you have a well there will also be a shut off at the tank (Well-X-trol). You can also turn the power to it off. In your electrical panel there will be a 20 AMP breaker that should be labeled well pump that you can switch to off. If you do this it will take a little longer for the leak to stop because there will still be pressure in the tank.

  • Third, be careful there are no electrical outlets nearby. If there is, I recommend turning off the power in your electrical panel. If you don’t know which one to turn off then you can turn off the main breaker which will shut off your entire house.
  • Fourth, use a bucket or a pan to collect water that is dripping. Try and mop water off floors to help prevent further damage.
  • Fifth, call Warm Waters or your local plumber to repair broken pipe. If its a large flood then you will have to also call your insurance company. Burst pipes are not always a DIY project. Warm Waters is experienced in all your plumbing needs and proudly serves Cumberland, York and Oxford county Maine. Please contact us at 207-939-3133
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