We are well into spring and many of you would have begun or at least considered starting your annual spring-cleaning project. The weather is much more inviting to spend more time outdoors – including routine maintenance. Hydro X Plumbing & Gas suggests adding plumbing maintenance to your spring-cleaning checklist this year to help to identify expensive problems with your system before they escalate. Our experts have revised a list worth ticking off, keeping your plumbing system functioning properly over the upcoming spring and summer months:
- Inspect your faucets/flexible hoses
- Open relief valves on your water heater
- Test sump pump
- Check for toilet leaks
- Examine water supply valves
- Check for faulty taps
Inspect your faucets/flexible hoses
One of the most common insurance claims is due to a burst flexible hose, or breecher piece split inside the wall. Now is the perfect time to take a quick look at all the flexible hoses and visually inspect for frays/exposed rubber. Most people are surprised when they find out it is recommended for these hoses to be changed every 5 years !
Although breecher pieces can not be seen inside the walls, you can often tell when they have split as water will escape from the tap holes while showering etc, or the plaster on the opposite side of the wall is bubbling. You may notice a lack of pressure from the shower head, or even hear it hissing out. The general life span of the breecher is 25 – 40 years, and it will only leak while the taps are open.
Open relief valves on your water heater
If you own an electric or gas storage unit, there are two relief valves which need to be released every 6 months to prevent seizing of the internal components. These relief valves are the most important safety feature, as cold water expands when heated, and needs to discharge safely to maintain a safe pressure inside the storage tank. To prevent this from happening, we advise that you delicately lift the valves, and remove excess water – roughly 3 litres.
An additional tip that can help you to save money on your utility bills is temporarily resetting your temperature for the warmer months ahead. We recommend 48°C as an ideal temperature for sufficiently hot showers, hand washing, dishwashing and laundry. Storage units must be kept above 60degrees to prevent the growth of legionella, but can be tempered to the fixtures with a mixing valve.
Test sump pump
If your house is lower than the level of the street, it is possible that a sump is installed at the rear of the property, which pumps rain water collected from your roof, to the street.
Cleaning your sump pump is an important part of spring maintenance, which involves disconnecting the power supply and removing and cleaning the sump pump & pump screen/intake. For useful direction, look over the owner’s manual before commencing.
We recommend cleaning your pumps screen/intake every 3-4 months. Once you’ve cleaned it, you can reconnect the device to the power source and run a test to ensure its working by pouring water into it.
Check for toilet leaks
Neglect to do this can cause a surge in your water bill. Our method to effectively check for leaks includes putting several drops of food colouring in the cistern. Once done, do not flush the toilet and inspect the bowl for drips.
If the food colouring appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak from a seating washer or inlet valve. In this case you may only need to replace a broken or worn-out seal – otherwise seek assistance from Hydro X Plumbing & Gas.
Examine water supply valves
Located on your toilets, sinks, and hot water units are water supply valves – controlling the water flow. These are convenient should they require any fixing, as you won’t need to cut off water supply to the entire house, only the toilet or sink.
Water supply valves can become rather stiff and difficult to use. To prevent this, we recommend turning them right (off) multiple times before turning them left (on). Take caution if the valves have not been turned for over a year, the o-rings inside can harden and begin to drip when turned.
Check for faulty taps
If you have any dripping/squealing/hammering from your taps, it is time for them to be serviced or replaced. Check your taps turn on and off smoothly, and keep an eye out on any small leaks from the spindles. Once you need to turn off the taps tight to stop any dripping, they should be serviced as soon as possible to prevent splitting of the breecher seats. If your taps have aerators on the spout, these can be removed and cleaned.
By taking our simple advice we hope we help you to save money on your bills by effectively maintaining your plumbing system during the spring and summer.
Please let us know your experience with your spring plumbing maintenance!