Whether you own your home or rent a commercial space, learning about and performing proper plumbing maintenance can really save you time and costs in the long run. If you own your home, regular maintenance can extend the life of your plumbing system. If you are renting a space, your lease will dictate how much of the plumbing you, as the tenant, are responsible for. Keeping your plumbing working is also in your best interest, as certain plumbing issues can temporarily close or shut down the productivity of aspects of your business, or cause damage to your personal property.
When the days are still dry, it’s a great time to start winterizing your property.
- Storm Drain Inspection Time! Walk around your yard, driveways, and parking areas. Don’t forget to clean those gutters and downspouts also. Inspect and clear any grates and storm drains of any debris. Check the function of your pump, if you have one, in your stormwater system for potential clogs or debris, and make sure the outlet location for the redirected stormwater is clear and free-flowing. When you hire a plumber who can not only clear any blockages and perform camera inspections of the system but also make any necessary mechanical or structural repairs to the plumbing involved, you are saving yourself both time and money.
- Keep it Clean! Be vigilant with raking fallen leaves, sweeping up pine/fir needles, and pressure washing driveways. Raking leaves and needles into a grate or ditch to be “washed away” is really just an invitation for a clogged storm drain. Mulch or compost your yard debris put it in the green bin, or take it to the yard waste recycling centers. If you use a landscaping service, ensure they are removing the yard waste to an appropriate location. When pressure washing a driveway, the resulting sediments/small gravel often contains oils and other chemical residues from vehicles. This sediment should be bagged and disposed of properly. Remember, stormwater runs right into local creeks, streams, lakes, and the Sound, without any filtration.
- Wrap it up! Insulating exposed pipes can prevent leaks and unexpected pipe bursts resulting from freezing weather. Check your garage, crawl space, and yard hydrants for exposed water lines. Examine them first for signs of leaks and address any leak issues before wrapping. Insulate pipes from freezing by wrapping them in foam pipe insulation or use strips of foil-backed fiberglass insulation. Tape to secure and connect joints. Check periodically to ensure no pests like mice, birds, or raccoons have been making homes out of such fine nesting materials.
- Keep an eye on it! Ok, so it may be more like a remote eye – but it sure comes in handy! If you have a vacation home or have a basement that doesn’t see much use, consider installing a water leak detection system. Ranging from basic audible alarms when a puddle is sensed, to Wi-Fi-enabled systems capable of alerting you to a sudden increase in water use, to an automatic shut-off of the main water supply to your home, water monitor systems can provide you with immediate notice of water leak issues. We recommend using products from companies with a long presence in the plumbing and leak detection industry, which ensures not only quality products with effective warranty, but also ensures their products are compliant with plumbing codes. Some home insurance companies even give you discounts on your insurance for having one!
- Faucet, Bib(b), Sillcock, Spigot, or Hydrant? All exterior-facing water valves, whatever their names are, all need to be prepared for the winter season. Detach and drain all garden hoses. Store the hoses in a dry place, out of direct sunlight. If you have an isolation valve located on the supply line to the individual hose bib or hydrant, close the valve. Open the hose bib or hydrant to drain the remaining water from the supply line between the isolation valve and the fixture. If you aren’t sure if you have a frost-free hose bib, or you don’t want to drain your yard hydrants, make sure the hose bib or hydrant is completely closed, and place a foam faucet cover, or insulated yard hydrant sock securely over the exposed faucet. If you have an irrigation system, an irrigation specialist is the correct professional to help assist with winterizing your systems.
- Flush and Run! No matter what time of year it is, be sure to regularly flush toilets and run faucets to keep seals and gaskets hydrated and ensure drains have proper water levels in them to function. Believe it or not, your traps in your drains can actually dehydrate, which can allow seepage of sewer gas back into a home or business. By flushing your toilets, running your faucets, and tub/shower fixtures, about once a week, you are keeping the seals and gaskets in the fixtures and drains from drying out.
No matter what time of year it is, keeping up on your home maintenance schedule can alert you to longstanding or recently developing issues with your home’s mechanical system. With regular maintenance, you can prevent larger issues, or provide yourself with an extended time to budget for necessary repairs. Stollwerck Plumbing & Sewer is ready to help with your plumbing maintenance needs.