Plumbing Maintenance

For homeowners in Seattle, each season brings its own set of plumbing challenges and maintenance needs. Staying ahead of these with a seasonal maintenance checklist can save time, money, and the inconvenience of unexpected repairs. Whether it’s the rainy spring, the mild summer, the leaf-filled fall, or the chilly winter, this guide will walk you through the essential plumbing maintenance tasks for each season.

Spring

Inspect for Winter Damage: Look for cracks or damage on outdoor faucets and pipes, as these are common after freezing temperatures. Addressing these early can prevent leaks when using outdoor water sources again.

Clear Gutters and Downspouts: Remove leaves and debris to ensure proper drainage, reducing the risk of water seeping into your basement. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and damage your roof or siding.

Check for Leaks: Inspect pipes indoors and outdoors for leaks that may have developed during the winter. Early detection of leaks can save on water bills and prevent potential water damage.

Service the Water Heater: Flushing the tank removes sediment buildup, which can impair efficiency and longevity. Checking the pressure relief valve ensures it’s operating correctly, preventing potential overpressure issues.

Test Sump Pumps: Make sure your sump pump is clean, functioning, and ready for the spring showers to prevent basement flooding. Testing it before the rainy season can prevent water damage during heavy rains.

Summer

Inspect Hoses and Faucets: Regularly check garden hoses and outdoor faucets for leaks to conserve water and prevent damage to your home’s foundation. A small drip can waste a lot of water throughout the summer.

Monitor Water Usage: Increased summer water usage is normal, but a significant increase could indicate a leak. Early leak detection helps conserve water and reduces utility bills.

Prepare for Vacation: Turning off the main water supply can prevent potential disasters caused by undetected leaks while you are away. This is a simple but effective step to avoid coming home to water damage.

Check Sewer Lines: Heavy rain can strain your sewer lines, especially if tree roots are encroaching. Regular inspections can prevent unpleasant backups and costly repairs.

Maintain Your Garbage Disposal: Be cautious about what you put down your disposal to prevent clogs. Avoid disposing of hard or fibrous materials that can damage the blades or cause blockages.

Fall

Prepare for Rainy Season: Cleaning gutters and downspouts is critical to handle the increased rainfall. Ensuring proper water flow away from your home can prevent water intrusion into your basement or crawl space.

Inspect and Drain Outdoor Faucets and Irrigation Systems: This prevents water from freezing inside and causing pipes to burst. It’s essential in safeguarding your outdoor plumbing against winter’s freezing temperatures.

Check Water Heater: As it gets colder, your water heater works harder; ensure it’s up to the task. A well-functioning water heater is crucial for comfort and efficiency during the colder months.

Inspect Indoor Plumbing: Check for leaks and fix any issues before the cold weather exacerbates them. Preventative maintenance can avoid the complications of dealing with leaks during the colder, wetter months.

Insulate Pipes: Protect exposed pipes from the cold to prevent freezing and potential bursts. Pipe insulation is an inexpensive and effective way to reduce the risk of freeze-related damage.

Winter

Prevent Frozen Pipes: Keep your home heated to a consistent temperature to avoid freezing. Opening cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer air can prevent freezing.

Check for Drafts: Seal any drafts near pipes to reduce the risk of freezing. Drafty areas can significantly increase the risk of pipe freezing, especially in unheated areas of the home.

Inspect Water Heater: Ensure it’s in good working order for the increased demand. Regular checks can prevent breakdowns and ensure you have hot water during the coldest days.

Maintain Indoor Air Temperature: A stable temperature helps prevent pipes from freezing. Consistent heating is key to preventing frozen pipes and maintaining comfort during the winter months.

Emergency Preparedness: Know how to shut off your water and have a plan for dealing with emergencies. Preparing for a plumbing emergency can greatly reduce the stress and damage caused by unexpected issues.

General Year-Round Maintenance

Regularly Check for Leaks: Small leaks can lead to big problems. Regularly inspect pipes, faucets, and appliances for any signs of leaks.

Maintain Water Pressure: High water pressure can damage your plumbing system. Ensure it’s within a safe range (40-60 psi).

Service Your Water Heater: Yearly servicing can extend the life of your water heater and ensure it operates efficiently.

Be Mindful of What Goes Down the Drain: Avoid clogs and damage by being cautious about what you dispose of in sinks and toilets.

Educate Your Household: Ensure everyone in your household knows the basics of plumbing maintenance and what to avoid flushing or putting down drains.

Conclusion

Regular plumbing maintenance is key to keeping your Seattle home running smoothly through all seasons. By following this seasonal checklist, you can prevent common issues, extend the life of your plumbing system, and avoid the stress of emergency repairs. Remember, it’s always wise to consult a professional plumber for any tasks beyond your comfort level.