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June 5, 2017
As the weather improves and temperatures rise, many homeowners learn that winter is not always kind to a house’s plumbing. Like other housing issues, plumbing problems are normally cheaper and simpler to fix when spotted early, so here are some tips to help you identify common plumbing problems that often appear in spring:
- Check For Leaking Hose Bibs. The hose bib is the low, outdoor faucet where homeowners attach a garden hose. Winter temperatures may cause cracks or splits in the hose bib pipe, especially where the hose was not detached before the winter freeze. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize the problem until spring weather thaws the pipe, revealing leaks and cracks.
- Clean and Inspect Roof Gutters. Many times, autumn leaves and other detritus builds up in gutters during the winter. Rotting leaves, dirt, and other debris can clog both gutters and downspouts, resulting in puddles and floods as winter snow melts and spring rains begin. Cleaning and inspection of gutters and drains—and making necessary repairs—can often prevent flooding before it occurs.
- Test the Sump Pump.When functioning properly, sump pumps move water out of low lying areas (often, a house’s basement) to a place outside where water can’t harm the home. The pumps don’t normally run in winter, when water is frozen, but spring snow melt can cause big problems if the pump is broken or defective. Test sump pumps, or arrange for professional servicing and maintenance, as soon as possible to prevent spring floods.
- Examine Pipes and Faucets. Cracked pipes are a common winter hazard. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t discover the problem until spring—often, after the pipe has caused a flood. Inspect all accessible pipes and faucets carefully after the weather warms, and pay attention to losses in water pressure, unexplained banging and noises in pipes, and other signs of potential problems. Call a plumber promptly if you notice a leak or signs of possible cracks in pipes beneath the house.
Plumbing repairs can be costly, but the costs increase the longer a plumbing problem goes unsolved. Mold, wood rot, and damage to a home’s foundation all result from plumbing problems left or ignored too long. This spring, inspect your house and plumbing carefully—indoors and out—to ensure the winter hasn’t left any cracks, leaks, or damage to your house’s vital systems.