Spring is on its way, and with it, more opportunities for rain. Before you break out the patio furniture and put the pansies in the flower boxes, you’re going to want to inspect your home’s plumbing to make sure it’s ready for April showers and the summer months. 

The good news about our spring plumbing check list is that it’s full of tasks that require very little time, plumbing know how, or cost. With just a few hours spent inspecting your home – from the basement to the roof – you can relax, knowing your home is all set for those beautiful spring days ahead. 

Spring plumbing checklist 

Investigate outdoor spouts for leaks 

During the cold winter months, your outdoor pipes and spouts can freeze, break or crack, especially if they are older. To make sure your pipes and spouts are intact and ready for the warm summer months ahead, check when you first hook up your hose and sprinklers. If you see any leaks in your home or in your home’s foundation, there’s a good chance your pipes cracked during the winter. 

Inspect and drain your hot water heater 

Ideally, your hot water heater should be kept at 120 degrees. If you turned up the temperature during winter, it’s time to take it back down. When you do, take a moment to check for any leaks or puddles around the base of the tank, and for any rust or other kind of corrosion. If you see any of the above, give us a call. You’ll need a professional to properly diagnose and fix the issue. 

Additionally, it’s a good time to drain the sediment from your water heater which can help extend its life for years. If you’ve never performed this task or feel more comfortable leaving it up to a professional, give us a call.   

Clean your gutters 

During the fall and winter months your gutters collect twigs, leaves and debris. In turn, your gutters can clog, which is the last thing you want when those April showers arrive.  This is the perfect time of the year to get your gutters cleaned because debris-blocked gutters can lead to pricey leaks in your home’s foundation.    

Check supply hoses

This is also a great time to inspect all the supply hoses in your house, including the ones that attach to your washing machine and dishwasher. Look for any puddles, rust or other types of corrosion that may indicate a leak that needs repaired, or a hose that needs replaced. 

Make sure the sump pump is working properly 

This is a big one. If your home has a sump pump, you need to check it after winter and before spring gets going. The pump needs to be up to the challenge of keeping the basement free of water during the rainy season. 

Checking the sump pump is a very easy task. Simply pour a few buckets of water down the sump pit. If the sump pump is working properly it will turn on as soon as the water is poured, and the turn off once the water has emptied. Tip: You can eliminate any mold that grew in the sump pump over winter by adding a few teaspoons of vinegar to the bucket of water. 

Install flood alarms 

This is especially important if you live along the Ohio River, the Little Miami or another area prone to flash flooding. Flood alarms are worth the investment and could save you time and money in the long run if your home is damaged by flood waters. 

Not sure you’re up to some of the tasks at hand or notice a leak, crack or puddle? Contact a professional plumber who can help you locate the source of the problem and make the repair quickly.

When it comes to fixing a malfunctioning, broken or leaking toilet, it can be tricky to know whether or not it’s something you can fix yourself. In most cases, it’s best to call a plumber for repairs to your toilet (but not always). The reason? While bathroom plumbing issues like a leaking or running toilet may be common, the cause may be hard for a novice to find quickly and easily. 

Truth is, some things like toilet leaks can be pretty serious and could be wreaking more havoc on your home than they appear to be. That’s because, as water consistently leaks on to the floor, it can eventually cause costly repairs. Plus, water from a leaking toilet can also cause mildew and mold build up which can create health issues for you and your family. 

In the case of a cracked toilet, it can be difficult to determine whether or not it’s appropriate to repair the crack yourself, replace the toilet part that’s broken, or get a new toilet entirely. 

Still not sure when to call a plumber for a toilet issue? Below are some of the top toilet problems and our advice about when to leave your tools in the toolbox and call a professional.   

The porcelain bowl is cracked. Even if you aren’t seeing a leak from the crack, it’s still a good idea to call the plumber. The main problem is the risk of the crack getting larger as people sit on the toilet which will eventually cause the bowl to break. 

Typical wear-and-tear that comes with age is usually the reason a toilet bowl will crack, and while it is often alright to repair a cracked toilet tank on your own, if your bowl cracks, you’ll need a new one or the entire toilet replaced. 

There’s water at the base of the toilet. If water pools at the base of your toilet, you’ve obviously got a leak. Often, this is caused by a faulty or worn wax ring. 

To help pinpoint the cause of the leak, start by placing a towel at the base of the toilet to soak up the water. If the towel is more wet after a few hours, you probably need the wax ring replaced. 

If you return and the towel hasn’t taken on any more water, you may have to replace the supply hose or have a bad flush valve. Regardless of the cause, you’ll want the help of a plumber to pinpoint and fix the problem completely (and correctly) so your home doesn’t withstand additional water damage.

The tank is slow to fill. If your toilet tank takes forever to refill after the toilet is flushed, or if the water runs irregularly, a broken flush valve could be to blame. You can tell this by lifting the lid of the tank and then flushing the toilet. If you hear running water or see that the valve is stuck it needs to be replaced. 

Another cause for a toilet to fill slowly is a leaking flapper. If water leaks through the flapper after you flush the toilet, you’ll need a new seal (and flapper). Regardless, plumbers can find the source of slow filling tanks fast. And broken flush valves, seals and flappers are repairs best left to a professional.  

The toilet runs constantly. Contrary to popular belief, jiggling the handle is not the best way to fix a toilet that is plagued by constantly running water. 

Toilet chains are usually to blame for this problem, and the good news is that you can usually fix this yourself. Check to see if the chain covers the hole at the bottom of the tank, thus sealing it. If it isn’t, it’s probably because the chain isn’t long enough to drop the flapper fully. To fix this, you can lengthen the chain on your own. Simply unlatch it, make it longer, and reattach. 

Another culprit for constantly running toilet water is a broken rubber diaphragm seal, and this is a repair best left to a plumber. 

Leaky gaskets. Your toilet’s gaskets can get brittle with age, crack and cause a leak. Usually when this happens you’ll spot a leak that starts at the tank and trickles down to the floor. Rubber gaskets can be simple to replace and can be found at your neighborhood home improvement store. 

You’ve got a loose feed line. The feed line is the rubber tube that provides fresh water to your tank. If it becomes loose or cracks, it can cause a leak. We recommend reaching out to a plumber for this repair. Leaks, in general, can do damage to your home and get worse the more you use a toilet with a cracked or loose feed line. 

When in doubt, call a plumber to repair your toilet in the event that it leaks, breaks or stops working at its best. And don’t put off repairing a faulty toilet because it can lead to further damage down the road.