9 tips to prepare your plumbing for the spring

We’re always looking for the summer, and always anticipating the great joy which it brings to us and our families. All is well! – you thought. When it comes to preparing your home for the summer, you conduct the spring clean, clear out and re-clutter the garage, wash the car a few times, take your kids out, take your wife or husband out, and a myriad of other things.

You think you’ve taken care of everything for spring or summer preparations – and, well, you haven’t. If you haven’t gone through your plumbing system as thoroughly as you have prepared everything else, you have failed to prepare for the spring.

After multiple nightmares with your plumbing in the winter – which all, by the way, are avoidable entirely – you don’t want to have to face them all over again in the summer. Whilst your pipes won’t be freezing up, you may experience some even more irritating problems that could have no quick solution.

When preparing for the spring, it’s essential to take everything into consideration. But where do you begin? Well, at the start – I say! Let’s begin to take a look at preparation.

Carry out a thorough examination of all of your taps and below-sink pipes.

When it comes to plumbing, the main purpose of the entire industry is to allow consumers access to water from a faucet,( or tap for our English readers). So, naturally, it makes sense to inspect your faucets first of all.

Run the water, and then turn them off. Do they leak anywhere? What about under the sink? Is the piping there leaking? If so, get on the job quickly. There are thousands of DIY guides available for personal use online, or if you’re not too confident, call a reputable plumber.

If your pipes are wet, but you can’t find a crack or leak, it’s probably down to condensation.

If your pipes appear to have water all over them, it isn’t always as a result of a crack or leak. Sometimes, you may experience what is known as a “sweating pipe” – this is always due to condensation.

In summer, where the atmosphere around the pipes is much hotter than the water inside the pipes, you’ll see condensation forming on the outside of the pipe. This is nothing to worry about, but can cause water waste. To fix it, simply wrap insulation around the pipe, just as you would in winter.

Check your toilet. Yep, we said it.

Check your toilet.

It’s surprisingly common for leaks to form here, as depending on who you live with and what you (or they) eat, a toilet can get much more use than a tap. For this reason, it’s essential you check toilets for any unwanted leaks or wobbles around it.

Why is this significant? Well, let’s just say if it all spills everywhere, not only will you have a biohazard on your hands, but likely significant damage to your property. And nobody wants that.

To check, feel the floor around your toilet. If it’s wet or very moist, get your toilet checked out.

Inspect your dishwasher or washing machine

This step is absolutely essential. We use these devices (hopefully) every single day to wash our clothes and clean our plates after the food we serve.

This will save you from purchasing an entirely new washing machine or dishwasher, but can save you from spending thousands on repairing property and appliances surrounding these devices.

To check, pull them out from their position and feel the water connection ports. Are they wet? Very moist? It could be condensation, but it could also be a leak.

Unscrew them and re-screw them on, and if the leak persists call the retailer or manufacturer, or a reputable plumber.

If you have one, clean your sump pump and its filter

Your sump pump is essential for preventing flooding in your own home. But it won’t treat you / your home well if you don’t treat it well.

That’s why it’s essential to clean it as often as possible, ideally every three to four months, to ensure your plumbing is running as well as it possibly can.

Because every sump pump is almost entirely different, we can only recommend that you consult your instruction manual or owner’s guide, or contact your manufacturer to inform you on how to clean this machine. They can be incredibly expensive, and should not be damaged.

Switch off, then back on, your main water supply valve. It’s important.

In water emergencies, you will have to switch off this valve. If there’s high pressure hot water spilling everywhere and you can’t get to your tank-based or tankless water heater due to the direction in which the hot water is spraying, you’re going to be really very stuck.

For this reason, you need to make sure that it is possible to switch off the main water supply to your home. If it’s been resting in the “OPEN” position for its lifetime, it may be difficult to manoeuvre. Lube it up if so, or replace it. Otherwise, you’re set!

Examine your hoses. Have they expanded or ‘puffed up’ during the winter months?

If your hoses appear a bit ‘puffy’, or are bigger in some places than they used to be, this could be a sign that they’ve expanded as a result of ice freezing in the hose over the winter. This can make the hoses incredibly weak and delicate, and at great risk of simply tearing, falling apart or just cracking and leaking.

If this is the case, make sure you replace the hoses as soon as you possibly can. Every household needs hoses, but if they’ve frozen up over the winter, it’s time to go get them replaced.

Carefully examine the operation of your outdoor taps and faucets

After those troubling, icy and snowy winter months, where your outdoor taps have faced hell, you should always ensure that they are still in operation. Sometimes, ice can permanently damage the workings of a tap, and this is never desirable.

Simply turn on all the outdoor taps at once and pay attention to the water pressure and any differences in how they flow. If there is a problem in one specific tap, either examine it more carefully, or hire the services of a professional in the industry, or simply replace the tap altogether. There’s a chance this may be internal.

Get a free check up from a local plumber

Many, many, many plumbers all over the world offer free, no obligation check ups to see if everything is running fine. Take advantage! Use their offers, and if they seem reliable, use their services if they say you need them.

Plumbers know their craft. But also make sure you are using your common sense, as they may claim something that doesn’t need replacing does, and in that case, you’ve got yourself a tricky situation. Always use your common sense.

Seriously, though. Take advantage of free check ups from local plumbers. You’re supporting local business, as well as getting something that would usually cost a lot for free. Take care with it!

About the author

Steve Bates

Hi, I'm Steve and I currently reside in Chicago, Illinois. Although for most of the last 20 years I was a partner in a HVAC company down in Austin, Texas.

I understand the frustration involved with dealing with water heater repairs and replacing or upgrading to a new, more efficient model.

My aim is offer some basic advice on fixing home hot water systems. And if a repair isn't possible, then to make the process of selecting a new water heater – be it gas or electric - as simple as possible.

So that you can save money and have a safe and reliable hot water system in your home for many years to come.