While frozen pipes may not be much of a concern for Phoenix residents, it’s still wise to have a seasonal plumbing maintenance routine in place as we head into fall. A few easy plumbing maintenance tasks can help prevent unexpected plumbing problems and costly repairs during the winter months.
Why is Seasonal Plumbing Maintenance Essential
If you want your home’s plumbing system to work reliably, it’s important to have a plumbing maintenance routine. You’ll save time, money and headaches if you can solve small issues before they become big, costly ones. A seasonal plumbing maintenance routine can also ensure that water-saving devices are working correctly to save on your water bill, and do your part to protect Phoenix’s water supply in times of water shortage.
10 Tips for Plumbing Maintenance
- Check that outside faucets aren’t dripping or leaking, and disconnect any outside hoses not in use. In the event of uncommon freezing weather, water left in hoses and connecting pipes can freeze and expand, causing tiny cracks in pipes, whether the pipes are made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a small crack can cause serious damage due to flooding. Consider insulating pipes in unheated areas such as garages, and use heat tape around pipes that are exposed and susceptible to freezing.
- Flush out the hot water heater and remove sediment build-up, which can cause corrosion and reduce heating efficiency. Hard water, common in the Phoenix area, can cause calcium and magnesium mineral build-up in your hot water heater, reducing its capacity and causing leaks. You can flush the water heater by draining several gallons using the faucet near the bottom of the tank. Connect a hose to the faucet so you can divert the water to a nearby drain. Check your water heater’s manufacturer’s instructions for specifics on how to flush out your particular water heater
- Check the temperature of your water heater’s thermostat and set it at 120°F for optimal performance and energy savings.
- Test the water heater’s pressure relief valve by lifting the lever up and allowing it to snap back. Use care as the water will be very hot. The valve should allow a small burst of hot water into the drainpipe. If it doesn’t, call a professional to have a new valve installed.
- Check under sinks for evidence of leaks or other signs of moisture, including puddles, water marks, musty odors or mold growth. Check sink faucets for leaks; water should not be coming out of the handles or valves.
- Test sinks, showers and tubs for drainage problems. Drains should have a full swirl as the water goes down. Bubbles could indicate a clog or slow drain.
- Clean the debris from the lint drain of your washing machine.
- Clean the drain lines by completely filling the sinks and tubs, then releasing all of the drains at once. The force of the high volume of water rushing through the pipes can help keep the drain lines clean and clog-free.
- Clear debris from outside gutters and downspouts to ensure good drainage as water freezes and thaws throughout the winter season.
- If traveling for an extended period, shut off the main water valve and drain the system by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Make sure the home’s heater is on and set no lower than 55°F.
It’s important to schedule routine seasonal plumbing maintenance to ensure plumbing systems are well maintained. If your home will be empty for long periods of time, it’s imperative that you consult a plumbing professional for any additional steps that need to be taken to winterize your home plumbing system. To learn more about plumbing maintenance and what’s important for Phoenix residents, contact us.