Spring is just around the corner. If you've been away for the winter, your plumbing may have suffered some damage along the way. Winter weather can wreak havoc on your plumbing under the best conditions. However, when you add the fact that your plumbing has been sitting dormant throughout the winter, the damage can be even worse. To make sure your plumbing is ready for spring, here are four important steps you should take as soon as you return home.
Clean the Drains
When you return home for the spring, one of the first things you should do is have your drains cleaned. You may think that since you haven't been home that your drains should be cleaned. Unfortunately, that's not necessarily true. In fact, there could be quite a bit of debris that's collected over the winter. There could be tree roots, mud from floods, or even dead animals that found their way into your drains. That debris could lead to foul odors, stubborn clogs, and even drain damage. Having your drains cleaned as soon as you return home will ensure that your plumbing is running smoothly.
Inspect the Pipes for Damage
If your winters are usually filled with freezing temperatures, your pipes could have frozen while you were away. When the pipes freeze, any water in the pipes will freeze too, which means the water will expand. Unfortunately, when that happens, small cracks and splits can develop in the pipes. When you get home for the spring, it's important that you inspect your pipes for signs of damage. If you see any damage, including cracks and leaks, you should take care of repairs as soon as possible.
Service the Water Heater
When it comes to your plumbing, it's important to remember your water heater. During the winter, calcium deposits could have developed in the water, and the tank could have begun rusting. If those things have occurred, you could be facing a tank rupture. If that happens, you'll be looking at a fold of hot water filling your home. Before you use your water heater, be sure to have it inspected for signs of damage. You should also have it flushed out and refilled to remove the sediment and rust.
Check the Toilets for Leaks
Even if your toilets look good, and flush properly, they could still have hidden problems in the form of leaks. One way to check for leaks is to listen. Flush the toilet and then wait for it to stop filling. If you continue to hear water, you've got a leak somewhere. Another way to test your toilets is to add food coloring to the tank. Add enough food coloring to change the color of the water in your tank. Wait about 15 minutes and then check the toilet bowl. If the water has changed colors, you'll need a plumber. Your toilet is leaking and will require plumbing repair.