5 Maintenance Tips To Prepare Your Home For Summer
Water damage is among the leading homeowner’s insurance claims. As summer approaches, it is important to prepare your home’s plumbing for vacations and weekend getaways. Routine and proper maintenance is key to avoiding expensive, catastrophic failures of your plumbing systems.
1) Flush Your Water Heater
Sediments build up inside your water heater, slowing the transfer of heat to the water, reducing energy efficiency, and shortening the life of the unit. Traditional water heaters should be flushed once or twice a year, depending on how much sediment is in your home’s water.
Though your manufacture may provide specific instructions for your system, flushing your water heater is a fairly simple process:
- Shut down electricity to the unit and allow time for it to cool.
- Connect a hose to the facet at the bottom of the unit. Drain several gallons of water into a large bucket.
- Continue flushing until the water turns clear.
- Restore electricity to the unit.
2) Examine Your Systems for Leaking Pipes and Faucets
Leaks may manifest in various areas of your home:
- Check around and under your washing machine, refrigerator, water heater, and other plumbing appliances.
- Check underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Check faucets for dripping. Even a slowly dripping faucet can increase your energy costs by as much as $200 in a year.
- Check around the base of your toilets. (More on toilet maintenance below)
If you find any leaks, it is important to have a professional, licensed plumber address the issues immediately. Besides wasting water and increasing your energy bills, leaks in your plumbing system are indicative of potential future failures.
Water damage can be pervasive and incredibly expensive, especially if a pipe bursts while your family is away on vacation. Furthermore, excess moisture often leads to the development of harmful mold and mildew.
3) Examine Your Toilets
Examine your toilet to make sure it is not running in excess, the bowl is not cracked, and there are no leaks around the base. A running toilet can increase your water bill by as much as $1,000 over the course of a year. Even hiring a licensed plumber to address the issue will save you money in the long run.
When checking your toilets for leaks, put a small amount of blue food coloring in the water. If there is any leakage, the area around the base of your toilet will turn a harmless blue. If your toilet is leaking, or the base is cracked, call a professional plumber as soon as possible.
4) Examine Your Drains
Each drain should have a grate against hair and other debris. You can test the effectiveness of the drains by pouring water over them. If your drains are draining slowly, have them snaked before they clog completely.
5) Examine Your Crawlspace and Foundation
Excess moisture in your crawlspace is often indicative of leaking pipes underneath your home. Even a slow leak can increase your water bills significantly and lead to the development of mold and mildew. Have any leaks under your home repaired immediately.
As spring and summer storms become more frequent, check to make sure water is not draining toward and ponding around your home’s foundation. Ponding water can slowly leak into your crawlspace or basement and create a breeding ground for mold. Contact a professional plumber to correct drainage issues in your yard before hurricane season.